SAMMARCO: The GND is Neither Green, New, nor Much of a Deal


Monday, May 13, 2019

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) unveiled her radical environmental and economic policy proposal, the “Green New Deal” earlier this year to rave reviews from the left. Almost every candidate running for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination has supported the deal, yet the Democrat-led House of Representatives refused to pass the Green New Deal (GND) resolution; probably because the GND is long on talking points but comes up short in fulfilling its promises.        


It’s not Green

Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and supporters of the GND claim that the underlying purpose of the plan is to prevent the negative effects caused by carbon-emission-induced climate change. Take it right from the mouth of AOC herself: “We’re, like, the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” To stop our imminent demise, the deal suggests, among other goals, retrofitting every building in the United States, banning airplanes, and “fully [getting]  rid of farting cows.” If these steps are taken, the argument runs, carbon emissions will fall.

Nevermind the infeasibility of its application, the idea that the GND does anything to combat future carbon emissions and prevent the rise of global temperatures is absurd. If the United States were to stop all emissions of fossil fuels tomorrow, the amount of CO2 emissions worldwide would drop by a mere 15%. If any country is to blame for rising global temperature, it’s China, which accounts for 28% of global emissions.  

Perhaps more importantly, no matter any steps that the U.S. might take, global fossil fuel consumption is set to massively increase, not decrease, in the coming decades. As The Economist reported in February, oil giants around the world are preparing to drill and ship more oil and natural gas in the coming years, even as renewable energy becomes cheaper and more accessible.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), estimates North American oil demand falling precipitously from now to 2040, but that fall in oil demand will be made up by increased demand from the rest of the world.  OPEC estimates that worldwide demand for crude oil is set to increase by 15.8 million barrels a day (mb/d) by 2040. China and India lead the pack in projected additional consumption (6.0 mb/d and 5.9 mb/d respectively). The developing nations of the world, mainly located in Africa and Asia, will account for an astounding 23.8 mb/d increase in oil production (more than total current North American oil demand levels).

The Earth is going to continue to warm because fossil fuel consumption is going to increase, not decrease in the future. There is nothing “green” about the Green New Deal, as its stated goal of stopping the effects of climate change via curbing fossil fuel consumption is unattainable.    

It’s not New

It would be hard for AOC and others to persuade a farmer in Lesotho, which is experiencing a massive food shortage, to stop running his new tractor to save a billionaire’s beach home on Cape Cod. It is equally unlikely that AOC could convince hurricane victims in Puerto Rico to give up their life-saving, gas-powered generators because we need to save the polar bears.

So, how does AOC plan to get those that depend on fossil fuels for their survival to support outlawing them? That answer is certainly nothing new. The Green New Deal is the completion of the left’s fundamental transformation of America.  The GND is designed to replace capitalism; it is socialism in the guise of environmental policy. Next to its environmental proposals, the GND includes a federal jobs guarantee, “rights” to high-quality healthcare, education and housing, a repairing of historic oppression, a national mobilization of our economy, and economic security for those “unwilling to work”.

If that sounds like a plan straight out of Das Kapital or the Communist Manifesto, it’s because it is. Marx and Engels explicitly called for the expansion of government-owned and run industry, as does AOC. Marx and Engels believed that all have an “equal obligation to work”, the GND creates a federal jobs program.

Republicans are not practicing “McCarthyism” when they declaim the GND as socialist. AOC is an avowed “Democratic Socialist,” who has said that American capitalism is immoral for its creation of billionaires. Representative Cortez summed up her views when she stated, “To me, capitalism is irredeemable.” The GND is her plan to undo the free-market.

It’s not a Deal

Along with being antithetical to American values and useless in combating climate change, the Green New Deal is certainly not a deal for the American taxpayer. The most conservative estimate of the total cost of the GND is $40T. That is more than double the GDP of the United States and approximately $9T more than the GDP of the United States and China combined. AOC claims that the GND will be paid for by increased taxes on the wealthy, but these proposed tax increases will only create an additional $2T in revenue.

A common response to the question of cost is that the cost of climate change’s effects will far outweigh the cost of policy designed to combat climate change, therefore anything goes. This is untrue. According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, if climate change continues at its current pace, the US could have at worst ten percent of its economy affected or destroyed. That $1.9T loss in production pales in comparison to the $40T cost of the GND.   


The Green New deal is not green, its socialist policies are nothing new, and its absurd cost is not a deal for the US. Instead of pursuing myopic and childish ideas to combat climate change, the US should take a measured and market-driven approach to solve the issue. As renewable energy technology becomes better and better, the market incentive to create electric cars, solar-powered generators, and wind-powered factories increases. If Democrats and AOC are serious about cutting emissions, deregulation is the way to do it as it will allow companies like Exxon-Mobil to take their profits from oil and gas and invest them into renewables, which the companies are already doing.

There will undoubtedly be effects from rising global temperatures and the US should prepare for the inevitable. As a temporary solution, allow for the creation of new nuclear power plants, the only source of clean energy available today that will not dramatically increase the cost of electricity. Fund new hydroelectric dams, new seawalls, and new canals to deal with rising sea levels. Do not fund the terrible idea that is the Green New Deal.

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Nick Sammarco studies economics and Spanish at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Nick Sammarco

Suffolk University

Nick Sammarco studies economics and Spanish at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.

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