The Little Problem of Logistics

I suppose by now almost everyone has heard or, or read about, the “Green New Deal” first proposed by Rep. Occasio-Cortez and endorsed by other up-and-coming (or hopeful) members of the Democrat Party in the US. The basic idea is that within ten years, or perhaps twenty but ten is preferable, the US will have completely retooled its economy to use nothing but renewable “green” energy, all buildings will be energy-efficient, and no carbon will be produced. All internal combustion vehicles will be replaced by green, zero-emission ones. And even if people do not care to participate in the labor required, they will still be paid.

That summary alone is enough to make a sci-fi writer weep in her ginger beer. Orson Scott Card proposed that each story is permitted one large piece of handwavium (or balognium as he put it), and then the rest of the technology or magic has to make sense. There’s far too much handwavium in the Green New Deal for my comfort.

The one gap that leaped out at me was in the realm of logistics. Even those who favor the plan admit that specifics are vague, although they maintain that the lack of details is a good thing. However, what Slate calls “the elephant in the room,” transportation and land use, is not what I see as the biggest problem. How much power will it take to run an electric combine, hmm? Especially since the Green New Deal as currently discussed eliminates nuclear.

There are tens of thousands of tractors used in agriculture in the US. And thousands of combines (the big harvesters) as well. Plus cotton picking machines, and other specialized pieces of equipment. All of these will have to be electric, natural gas, or carbon neutral, per the Green New Deal. In ten years. That is a lot of power. These are slow, high load machines. They are specialized. They have lots and lots of parts, and do a number of things based on equipment attachments and power-take-off units (PTOs) that drive smaller machines. It is an enormous leap from a hybrid or electric passenger car to a big wheat-harvesting machine.

And then there is fertilizer. There’s not enough manure in the American West to fertilize all the farms in the country. We have to use manufactured chemicals, in addition to fallow of different kinds, and manure.

Some will probably suggest “humanure,” aka processed sewage or night soil. Right. Public health concerns get in the way of that. Where do these people think the E. coli in their produce comes from? It is not just something in the soil, if you will pardon the pun.

Then any food that is grown away from the cities must be transported to those cities. You see the problems already. And produce takes energy to process, and so on…

The Green New Deal is not a cure for what ails the US. It would be an excuse to turn the US into a statist paradise in the name of saving the world. Which would make it close to hell on Earth, as it is currently described.

22 thoughts on “The Little Problem of Logistics

  1. The basic idea is “oppress the Helots”.
    Everything beyond that is flimsy rationalization. At best.
    Do they expect us not to notice that the entire crop of Democratic Presidential contenders agree “in spirit” with putting tens of millions of citizens in concentration camps?

  2. “There are tens of thousands of tractors used in agriculture in the US.”

    In the olden days, it was possible to use mules and other draft animals for plowing, etc. But not in the ‘progressive’ paradise, they will be banned because methane.

    Also, no steam-powered threshing machines.

    Overall, a level of technology below that of 1850.

    • “Overall, a level of technology below that of 1850.”

      I think that date needs a “BC” after it. Just for clarity, y’ken. No petrol-based fuels and no draft animals puts us pretty much back in the Stone Age, everyday-technology-wise.

      Oh, and no high-capacity farming means we could support maybe 5% of the population we have now. How do you support a high-tech civilization, with computers and intarwebz and factories and banks and all, when most of your citizens have to spend most of their time finding/raising food?

      If this program, or even any significant fraction of it, ever becomes a reality, then the biggest joke of all is going to be on these leftist idiots when they look around in thirty years and find there aren’t enough people to keep their ideal green society going. We’re already facing the prospect of a population crash after 2050, and that’s only going to get worse as the current population ages and fertility rates fall even further.

  3. Back in the eighties I lived in Lancaster, PA and drove through Amish country every day. The Amish used horses to propel farm machinery straight out of the nineteenth century. One interesting piece of equipment was a horse drawn harvester with a small gasoline engine driving the mechanism, the horses just providing motive power. One irony was that my place of work was a Nuclear Power Plant smack in the middle of Amish country.

  4. There was a reason why those farmers at the end of the Nineteenth Century switched so quickly from animal powered to machine powered equipment. Its called a ten times or more increase in productivity ( my grandparents dry farmed in Eastern Colorado before the great depression, so I grew up on stories of the farmer-rancher conflict, ect.).
    Of course, if we switched back to muscle powered farming, there would be something for all the inner city ghetto dwellers to do

  5. You forgot to mention that part of the “deal” is getting rid of most cars too – which begs the question of how people not near rail lines will travel. I suspect those people are being ignored to simplify and try to make plausible the plan, just like, as you point out, that tractors and other farm machinery are ignored as well.
    How about if we make the liberal cities that like this follow it, and the sane among us who don’t live in cities can point, laugh, and get on with our lives.

    • I need to chew on this a bit more, but it seems to make sense of the “WHY?!?!?!” of China. They build bleepin’ empty sky-scrapers, but folks are working with water buffalo or level for farming, and thus feeding the whole lot….

      A simple, “they don’t fit the plan” makes sense, although it’s stupid.

  6. Batteries. Enormous batteries.

    Rechargeable, deep cycle, commercial scale battery buildings or skyscrapers, so “clean electricity” can be evened out. The Greenies will have to mine every last bit of lithium, nickel, and lead, with lots of sulfur. Their religion calls for gang-rape of the environment on a scale that dwarfs what started their movement. Soviet-style Eastern Europe and Mordor, built on a strip-mined Shire. Over *their* dead bodies.

    NRW, recall the Amish are a lot more clever than them English get it. Animal for motive power, but gas or diesel powered machinery. Electric, phone, and computer in the workshop, but lanterns and candles in the house. Farms and acreage purchased with cash. “Chust a bunch of dumb Dootchmen, now, ya jiggy” – dumb like foxes.

  7. The more I think about the Green New Deal, the more I think the Gangnam Style part of my parody, reposted below, sounds reasonable in comparison.

    Alt-Right Federal-Aid Highway Act

    (My apologies to the Alt-Right, I had to take great liberties impugning your sanity and the soundness of alt-right and conservative policies in order to capture parallels with the Green New Deal.)

    Send flamethrower teams to deal with illegals at the border in order to develop new missile defense technologies.

    Cutting off all noses to spite faces, and own the libs.

    Zero taxes, to buy off the establishment RINOs, and obtain their full, complete, and enthusiastic support.

    Complete extermination of non-Jews in Middle East North Africa, because the Israelis are too pussy to do what they ought.

    Henceforth, only land currently (2/10/19) planted with winter wheat will be cultivated. All other farms to be burned, complete with farmers. We will only grow winter wheat. This is the best most efficient way to solve world hunger.

    Eliminating all entitlement spending to cure cancer.

    Mass murder of all homeless, criminals and immigrants to be rolled out with Blokhin Style ‘Gangnam Style’ parody music video.

    Original Nancy Drew to be replaced by horrific bowdlerized version, to stop the madness of third wave intersectional feminism.

    Elimination of public schooling and organized mass schooling, in order to wipe out child molestation during our lifetimes.

    You didn’t see anything stupid here. You are stupid. If you can prove it is stupid, it wasn’t written here, you forger. Liar, liar, pants on fire. I’m rubber, you’re glue, anything you say bounces off me and sticks to you. Poopy head.

  8. I don’t see what all the jokes about “trains to Hawaii” are about. Doesn’t anybody remember clipper ships ?
    Of course. trucks (that deliver food and other non-essentials to stores and markets) will have to go.
    All those interstate highways (since there won;t be any vehicles) can be used to put solar panels on. That right there will solve the electricity problem.
    Bringing back horses for transportation will make cities like N.Y. and L.A. things of bucolic beauty.

    • I thought it possible that you might actually be serious until I reread carefully to see food described as non-essential.

    • Someone during the energy crisis in the 1970ies pointed out, rather acidly, that converting a city like San Jose, CA entirely to horsepower, would raise the entire city by about a foot a year … in horse manure. May have been a bit of hyperbole, and I am recollecting this some 45 years later – but still! Going back to using draft animals, especially in cities … yeah, scenes of bucolic beauty ferrr surre!

      • On the other hand, due to excessive pumping some parts of California’s Central Valley have sunk by several feet. Maybe a few decades of horse-powered farming could counter that?

        Meanwhile, we can require all Dem voters to grow their own produce in window boxes, fertilized by humanure and watered only by captured runoff from their own roof. And to eat only what they grow using these methods.

    • And the manure from those horses and oxen has to be disposed of, either by dumping it into the rivers and streams, or sending it to be composted and used to grow mushrooms (what NYC did in the late 1800s. But there was still plenty left over to get into the water system.)

      But to cut down on the methane and other gasses, oxen, horses, goats, and sheep will have to be removed from the equation.

      The suburbs and exurbs are supposed to be evacuated and everyone moved into high-density housing so transportation won’t be needed. And we are supposed to be locovores and eat only what is grown with a 200 mile radius.

  9. The only problem the New Green Deal solves is the same problem lefties always have — not enough power in the government’s (their) hands. Global warmening, global coldening, logistics, trains, cow farts, are all details and window dressing that don’t really matter and can be changed as necessary. The will to power is what matters.

  10. There are tens of thousands of tractors used in agriculture in the US.

    For an idea of how this works, my family has been on “small” cattle farms my whole life– from a few hundred to a few thousand calves a year.

    Mom has driven a tractor younger than herself exactly once in the course of her job. She’s a Boomer. She ended up inheriting, and then selling to a museum, her dad’s tractor– which is the one I learned to drive on, and that was used to feed those cows the year before.


    This is all non-Kosher to the Nude Green Eel, so eh. COW FARTS!

  11. Oh, forgot to mention!

    I’ve been in places that offer the cleaned remains of the septic system, safely processed.

    They grow tomatoes.

    FERAL tomatoes.

    Like, incessantly.

    Turns out they don’t compost very well….

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