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Socialist Green New Deal Threatens Freedom, Prosperity, and the Environment

June 21, 2019

Climate Change Weekly #327

Unless your idea of good government and an ideal society is totalitarianism, the Green New Deal (GND) has nothing to recommend it.

As I argued in CCW 313, it would be physically impossible to reach the goals set in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) socialist GND—a plan to do nothing less than remake the entire economy, sans fossil fuels, while promising full employment, living wages, free health care, and cheap energy from the Heavens for everyone in just over 10 years—and heck, why not throw in the promise of a chicken in every pot (except for vegetarians and vegans, of course), as well?

Even if the GND’s goals weren’t impossible to obtain within the time allotted, every credible economic analysis I’ve seen shows its costs would be so high that imposing it would be extremely undesirable. Early estimates indicate the GND would cost nearly $50 trillion in its first 10 years.

Settling aside the cost of transforming the transportation system and refurbishing the entire stock of housing and commercial structures in the United States, the American Enterprise Institute’s Ben Zycher has calculated the cost of decarbonizing the electric power system and meeting GND’s social welfare provisions, such as universal health care and free college tuition for everyone, will cost nearly $9 trillion dollars per year, when the political negotiations are all over.

The American Action Forum calculated GND could cost as much as $93 trillion dollars, or approximately $671,010 per household of four, through 2029.

The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of GND makes it look positively cheap by comparison. Heritage calculated only the costs of the energy portion of GND, estimating the taxes and regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions would result in “a peak employment shortfall of over 1.4 million jobs; a total income loss of more than $40,000 for a family of four; [and] an aggregate gross domestic product loss of over $3.9 trillion, by 2024.”

Perhaps recognizing the foolishness of actually attempting to foist this steaming pile of “legislation” on voters, when Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brought GND up for a vote in the Senate on March 26, not a single senator voted in favor of the bill. Even its authors and cosponsors voted “present” instead of yes.

This ignominious defeat, however, has not stopped more than 100 Democrat or Independent members of the U.S. House and Senate from cosponsoring or publicly endorsing GND, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kristen Gillibrand (R-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)—almost every senator currently vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Because, for reasons inexplicable to me, GND remains a talking point on the campaign trail and in Congress, my colleague and friend James Taylor, director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute, has written a detailed takedown of the proposal. Although Taylor provides an excellent discussion of GND’s economic costs, the portion of his paper I would like to focus on is the terrible environmental toll GND would impose on wildlife and wildlands in the United States and around the world without increasing governments’ abilities to control the climate.

Taylor writes, “Even if one accepts the dubious and alarming U.N. estimates regarding the temperature impact of CO2 emissions … if America were to immediately and completely eliminate all of its CO2 emissions, it would only mitigate less than two-tenths of a degree C[elsius] of global temperature increase by the end of the century, an amount that’s too small to be measured accurately.”

On the environmental front, Taylor calculates “replacing all existing conventional power plants with wind and solar power would require consuming an amount of land larger than the size of California, … an unprecedented assault on land conservation and the world’s greatest threat to biodiversity.”

A 2013 Wildlife Society Bulletin documented that although wind turbines produce just 1 percent of U.S. electricity, they already kill at least 1.4 million birds and bats each year, including many endangered and protected species. Taylor writes, “subsequent analyses found the death toll [of the Green New Deal] is likely 10–20 times greater than the 1.4 million estimate. If accurate, those estimates indicate dramatically increasing wind power could result in the slaughter of more than 100 million birds and bats each year.”

And that’s just the birds and bats. Because habitat loss is the biggest cause of species’ decline, placing industrial wind and solar facilities across the nation would result in the displacement and deaths of millions of animals of other species.

In addition, both wind and solar power require substantial amounts of rare earth elements, the mining and refining of which produces millions of tons of toxic waste each year. Taylor writes, “An organization called Environmental Progress found solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy produced than nuclear power plants.”

Do you care about the environment? How about the health of the U.S. economy and your own bank account? If so, you should work with The Heartland Institute to bury the Green New Deal, and put politicians who support it into forced retirement.

  • H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: The Heartland Institute; American Action Forum; American Enterprise Institute; Heritage Foundation; Climate Change Weekly; Environment & Climate News


IN THIS ISSUE …

Park service backtracks on climate claimSunrise Movement suppresses climate coverageContra climate models, Antarctica’s coast not warming


PARK SERVICE BACKTRACKS ON CLIMATE CLAIM

The National Park Service has removed signs it had posted during the Obama administration at Glacier National Park’s St. Mary Visitor Center warning the park’s iconic glaciers would disappear by 2020 due to climate change. With no fanfare, park employees removed the signs in response to the fact that higher-than-average snowfall in recent years upended computer model projections from the early 2000s suggesting the park’s last glaciers would melt by 2020.

“Those signs were based on the observation prior to 2010 that glaciers were shrinking more quickly than a computer model predicted they would,” a spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey, which tracks the park’s glaciers, told the Daily Caller. “Subsequently, larger than average snowfall over several winters slowed down that retreat rate and the 2020 date used in the NPS display does not apply anymore.”

As Tony Heller points out in a video on Real Climate Science, the USGS reports the alpine glaciers in Glacier National Park are not holdovers from the last ice age.  They formed during an extended cold period about 7,000 years ago and grew substantially between approximately 1300 and 1870, during the Little Ice Age. They began to decline as the recent ice age waned, around 1850, meaning they began their steep decline nearly a century before humans began adding significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to USGS, some glaciers retreated nearly 100 meters per year between 1917 and 1941 because of shifts in the Pacific decadal oscillation of ocean currents.

Heller notes this is not the first time so-called experts, seers, and prognosticators have predicted Glacier National Park’s glaciers’ disappearance. Newspapers from 1923 reported scientists at the time predicted the glaciers would disappear by 1948. In 1952, with the glaciers still hanging in there, the experts then predicted the glaciers would be gone within 50 years, by 2002. In 2009, basing estimates on computer model projections, headlines proclaimed the glaciers would be gone by 2020.

Looking at the history of repeatedly wrong predictions of Glacier National Park’s glacial demise reminds me of the predictions various death cults have made that the end of the world was near and would occur on some particular date. The date comes, the apocalypse fails to occur, and the cult leaders say “We got the math wrong (or misunderstood the prophecy), and now the new end date is [fill in the blank]. Trust us; this time we’re sure.”

SOURCES: Daily Caller; Real Climate Science; Hannity.com


SUNRISE MOVEMENT SUPPRESSES CLIMATE COVERAGE

Reporters from across the country have objected to the treatment of Josh Siegel, an energy and environment reporter for the Washington Examiner, who was barred from attending a climate event organized by the Sunrise Movement at which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT ) spoke.

Climate activists formed the Sunrise Movement in 2017 ahead of the midterm elections to organize college students and activists and encourage them to base their votes on candidates’ positions on climate change.

“I am not comfortable drawing attention to myself, and away from my work, but as @sunrisemvmt begins their D.C. rally with @AOC and @SenSanders, I thought it was important to say that Sunrise would not grant me a credential to attend the event because I work for the @dcexaminer. … At a time when climate advocates are trying to unite the country, picking and choosing coverage seems wrong, especially when I am known for my fair, non-ideological reporting,” Siegel tweeted.

Many journalists joined Siegel in criticizing the Sunrise Movement’s refusal to allow him to cover its climate rally. Zack Colman, who covered the event for Politico tweeted, “This is a bad look, @sunrisemvmt. @SiegelScribe is a stand-up reporter who covers climate and energy fairly and responsibly.”

Ben Storrow of E&E News tweeted, “Add me to the chorus of climate and energy reporters who think this is ridiculous. @SiegelScribe is a tremendous reporter. Not only does restricting press access along perceived partisan lines dilute the climate debate, it harms our democracy. A bad look for @sunrisemvmt.” Lisa Friedman, a reporter on the New York Times climate beat, tweeted, “Very disappointing to hear @sunrisemvmt would engage in this sort of behavior.”

Evidently, the Sunrise Movement believes fair and truthful reporting endangers their panic-mongering about climate crisis.

SOURCE: Western Wire


CONTRA CLIMATE MODELS, ANTARCTICA’S COAST NOT WARMING

The No Tricks Zone recently covered research showing, once again, Antarctica is not melting as climate models have predicted.

Data from 11 out of 11 Antarctic coastal stations not affected by volcanic activity, established and operated by a variety of countries, shows no warming, and some have even measured a modest cooling trend over the past few decades. The oldest station temperature measurements are from France’s D’Urville station and Australia’s Mawson Antarctic station (1950) and Britain’s Halley station (1956), and the newest measurements come from the Zhongshan Station, which China opened in 1989. Temperature measurements from the Butler Island, Casey, Davis, D’Urville, Halley, Mawson, Mirnyi, Neumayer, Novolazarevsk, Syowa, and Zhongshan stations all show either cooling trends since they were established, or no trend at all, with most tending toward cooling.

Temperature measurements from five stations on various South Shetland Islands in the Southern or Antarctic Ocean also show no warming or even a slight cooling since 1993—and in one older station’s case, since 1977.

And it’s not just temperature measurements at stations dotting Antarctica’s coast measuring a cooling trend in recent decades. A new paper in the journal Remote Sensing confirms earlier data showing Antarctic sea ice grew in extent and thickened substantially since at least 1978. In addition, summer temperatures across the entire Antarctic Sea Ice Region, which includes the Bellingshausen-Amundsen Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Ross Sea, the southern Pacific Ocean, and the Weddell Sea cooled on average −2.44 degrees Celsius between 1982 and 2015.

SOURCES: No Tricks Zone; No Tricks Zone; Remote Sensing (behind paywall)
Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org