We’re all for moving away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable “green” energy, but the Green New Deal, as proposed by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey is too much, too soon.
A resolution introduced by those lawmakers in their respective houses would not have any immediate effect. It is a non-binding resolution that would signal intent to take actions over the next 10 years.
Reaction was immediate: The left thinks it’s a panacea while the right would have us believe it’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s neither. It’s a collection of good ideas that can’t be done as quickly as some would like.
Unfortunately, it has already become a litmus test for the purity of Democratic candidates. If they don’t embrace it with both arms, they are labeled as out of touch with the base of the party.
Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Machiavellian leader of the Senate’s Republican majority, is counting on that.
Knowing full well that his caucus will not allow it to pass, McConnell said Tuesday he will force a vote on the resolution. It’s a fairly shrewd maneuver. Democratic Senators will be placed in the position of either supporting a pie-in-the-sky plan or risking the ire of the vocal left by voting “no.”
Ocasio-Cortez welcomed McConnell’s announcement, saying that he and his party are “terrified of this winning vision of a just and prosperous future.”
She’s only partly right. They certainly do not want a “just and prosperous future,” but they’re not scared of it as long as they hold the power to stop it.
The resolution rightly lists the growing effects of global climate change, which is real despite what Donald Trump sees and says on television. The long-term cost of doing nothing will dwarf the cost of what the Green New Deal tries to accomplish.
Still, the plan has too many unrealistic pieces for us, and most Americans, to take it seriously.
The thing that jumps immediately off the page is “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”
Green New Dealers would have us believe that, within a decade, we can drive our cars, heat our homes and power our industry with nothing but solar, wind and tidal energy sources. We can’t.
Many among us drive cars older than 10 years. Most of us have heating systems much older than that. We don’t maintain those things because we don’t like new stuff. We do it because we can’t afford new stuff. That’s not going to suddenly change because of a non-binding (or binding, for that matter) resolution of the U.S. Congress.
Similarly, the resolution calls for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency.”
Upgrading all existing buildings? Really? Every home? Every small business? In 10 years?
Things like that make even those of us who understand climate change shake our heads.
We wonder how the Green New Dealers would go about “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.”
Electric jetliners, perhaps? With great big charging stations at the airports?
To be clear, the future belongs to sustainable energy. Supporters have done a lousy job of explaining that, allowing detractors to frame the debate so that coal miners fear losing their jobs more than they anticipate new jobs building the new energy technology, and allowing extraction industry interests to convince us all that we’re losing something if we don’t continue to fund their massive profits.
We fear the Green New Deal, in its current form, makes that problem worse instead of better.