First, in moving somewhat away from the longstanding centrist emphasis on pricing carbon — via carbon taxes or a cap-and-trade system — toward a focus on direct spending, the left might be moving away from theoretical efficiency toward political feasibility.

The experience of the developed world is that carbon pricing schemes look really good in theory, but tend to either get compromised toward inefficiency in practice or else inspire populist uprisings like the gilets jaunes in France. And buried inside the sweeping command-and-control vision of the Green New Deal is the material for a more modest alternative: basically, an emphasis on research and resilience, which would spend more money on basic science, alternative-energy adaptations and mitigation in the communities most likely to be affected by storms and tides and heat.

This would point to a different zone of compromise than the one often debated up till now.