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Is Nationalization An Answer to Climate Change?

Kate Aronoff

Kate Aronoff writes for the Intercept on "Is Nationalization An Answer to Climate Change?" In this article, Aronoff cites research by the Next System Project: 

[...] Others have proposed steps still more dramatic than those laid out by Labour. Researchers with the Next System Project, for instance, have outlined what it would look like for the U.S. government to nationalize major U.S.-based fossil fuel producers through a process known as quantitative easing, wherein the government spends money into existence by changing the makeup of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, as it did when it purchased toxic mortgage assets from major banks in 2008. In a paper released this week, Carla Santos Skandier argues that staying within the world’s “carbon budget” — the limited amount of emissions that can be put into the atmosphere before we risk catastrophic warming — will require the state (and central banks, in particular) to play a more active role in economic planning. “The most effective, and timely, way to untangle the paralyzing relationship between government and industry is through a federal buyout of the fossil fuel companies that control these noxious assets,” she writes. “And how would that work? In brief, the federal government would acquire 51 percent or more of the shares of such major US-based, publicly-traded fossil fuel companies as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips.” Such a move, Skandier adds, would also kneecap the industry’s political considerable influence over climate and energy policy. [...]