Much buzz has been made in recent months surrounding Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal
, a resolution that lays out a shocking plan for decarbonizing the U.S. economy.
The plan was drafted in response to a UN report describing the severity of climate change and suggesting necessary steps that countries should take to combat potential environmental disaster.
As the 2020 election cycle approaches, many Democratic candidates have already thrown their support behind the ludicrous plan. Republicans should be prepared to not only dismantle the proposal, but respond with our own, better solutions.
The central conclusion of the UN committee report on climate change is that the planet is on track to raise 2℃ in temperature over the next several years. The report claims that staying at or below 1.5℃ will require cutting greenhouse emissions by 45% below 2010 levels by 2030, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
This would require reducing current coal consumption by one third.
The UN stresses that the situation is pressing — to hit the 1.5℃ target, the world has only 0.5℃ of headroom over the next 80 years. Though the report makes this temperature rise sound intimidating, the committee exaggerates many of its apocalyptic predictions.
Rises in sea level, for example, could very gradually put certain small islands at risk, but this process would take decades. In the past, UN estimates of doom and gloom have turned out to be spurious. Contrary research suggests that there is not as sizeable a consensus in the scientific community about the harms of global warming as Socialist Democrats would have people believe.
The Green New Deal is less of a solution to this ominousness and more of a dubious attempt to push the U.S. toward a command-and-control economy. Every area of life can be said to have some impact on the environment. The Green New Deal outlines thousands of these areas — from commerce to transportation to agriculture — that would become heavily regulated by the state. Some, like the use of fossil fuels as an energy source, would be abolished altogether.
Proponents argue that it is too late to incrementally move away from fossil fuels, and that the country needs to completely stop burning them as much as possible. This would mean eliminating the oil business, natural gas business, coal business, and traditional auto industry — a move that would impact the livelihood of nearly every American. 80% of the world’s energy needs are met by carbon-emission producing industries, and it is unclear how needs on this scale would be met if these industries were completely eliminated all at once. Even today’s all-electric vehicles require electricity that is produced by the burning of coal.
The Green New Deal is far too extreme, and its proponents know it. The plan would bankrupt the U.S economy and send us spiraling into a severe economic depression. It could cost upwards of $5.7 trillion for American taxpayers. Even though Democrats claim that the bill would be footed by rich corporations, a price tag that large would affect every single American. Democrats are trying to pull the wool over the voters’ eyes and cover up a blatant attempt to recreate the economic conditions of the 1930s so that they can implement their own socialist policies and receive the same glory bestowed upon FDR. It’s right there in the title of their proposal.
One consequence of the Green New Deal is that it has motivated politicians and the public to take climate change seriously. Although there are still those conservatives who refute the simple existence of climate change, it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue with science.
While the severity of the crisis may be disputed, most scientist agree that climate change is occurring and should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Now that the push for the Green New Deal has created a popular demand for climate change policy, Republicans should respond with a viable environmental policy of our own — one that strengthens the American economy by using free market enterprise to solve environmental issues.
GOP leaders who have attempted to provide a conservative approach to climate change promote cutting carbon through innovation, not regulation.
Republicans in Congress have advanced bills that would fund carbon-capture research, a process that would eliminate carbon emissions from industries like coal while still allowing those industries to operate. Proposals like the New Manhattan Project and the Best Energy Storage Technology Act, espoused by Republican lawmakers, lay out promising plans to put the U.S. on track toward cleaner energy.
A main emphasis is on developing technology that other countries can use as well.
China and India accounted for nearly half of the increase in emissions in 2017, so it is essential that other countries be able to utilize technology to address climate change, and this technology may be able to be developed in the United States.
The GOP also champions renewable hydropower and safe nuclear power as methods to combat global warming, as well managing forest fires — the California wildfires in 2018 dumped 68 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere. The U.S. leads the world in reducing greenhouse emissions, and Republicans believe that this trend can continue if industries make an effort to reform behavior. Legislation like this, with a focus on fostering solutions through free-market incentives, is the answer to successfully combatting climate change — not the disastrous regulations that the Democrats propose.
Republicans will likely face criticism that these smart solutions will not go far enough fast enough. Practical solutions are never as glamorous as radical ones and will require much more work to appeal to an impatient electorate. However, a charismatic conservative leader may have the potential to sell the public on such practical solutions.
If President Trump is willing to stray from his lukewarm sentiments on global warming and lead the Republican charge against the Green New Deal, he may be able to brand conservative solutions with enough charisma to put the socialist policies of the Green New Deal in their place. With detailed, well-thought out policy, the Republicans can win the climate change debate in 2020 and instill confidence in the American public that global warming will not threaten their lives nor the lives of their children.
Christopher Reid is an attorney out of Birmingham who owns his own general practice law firm, which handles Business, Family, and Probate Law and high-end litigation throughout the state of Alabama. Reid has held various policy positions, including working for the Alabama Policy Institute and the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C., where he also worked for House Republican Whip Roy Blunt. In law school, he clerked for the Alabama Attorney General Office, and, after graduation, he became Health and Judiciary Policy Analyst for Alabama’s governor. His charitable work includes serving on the board of Sav-A-Life. Chris is a frequent co-host on The Scott Beason Show in Birmingham, writes political and legal commentary for publications including The Hill, The Washington Examiner, and has been quoted in The New Yorker. He regularly provides on-air expertise and political commentary for TV news shows on Fox, NBC, and Newsmax with JD Hayworth. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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