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Got a Green New Deal revolution? ‘We’d all love to see the plan’

March 4, 2019

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is a genuine marvel. Everything the New York Democrat does becomes headline news, but nothing quite compares to her utopian Green New Deal, which has been endorsed by most of the Connecticut delegation of Democrats in Congress.

The GND aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2029 (we just snap our fingers, right?) while simultaneously creating economic nirvana where each and every American wants for nothing.

Overhanging the frenzy is the notion that she should be forgiven for her wild pronouncements — does she make any other kind? — because she is young, inexperienced, and passionate. Crimes of passion are to be forgiven, right?

But what’s the excuse for the old men – and women − who’ve signed onto her adventures, or misadventures, such as hounding Amazon out of New York City?

Veteran Senator Edward Markey, 72, of Massachusetts introduced the Senate version of AOC’s GND resolution. What’s his excuse?

And what’s the excuse of Connecticut’s congressional delegation? Apart from freshwoman Rep. Johanna Hayes (D-5th District), they are all multi-term veterans. Only Representative Jim Himes (D-4th District) has hung back from formal endorsement of the GND.

What’s wrong with the GND? It is unserious. It is utopian, vague, misleading, devoid of facts, impractical, blind to reality, etc., etc. etc.

Ask yourself, did you vote for your congressman and senators to go to Washington to waste time on a patently unserious proclamation? Or did you expect them to deal with the nation’s real problems with specific solutions and to devise real ways to seize opportunities?

How unserious is the GND? Let’s count some ways.

It is unserious to ignore the biggest part of the climate change problem: China is responsible for 30 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, twice the level of U.S. emissions. China’s emissions are rising; U.S. emissions have been falling for a decade. China is continuing to build noxious coal-fired power plants, both domestically and overseas as part of its controversial Belt and Road initiative.

Connecticut’s Senator Chris Murphy sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If you voted for him, you might ask him what we should do about the world’s biggest polluter. Or you could ask his fellow Democrat, another GND co-sponsor, Senator Richard Blumenthal, what he thinks we should do.

It is unserious to ignore what’s been driving the reduction in U.S. emissions: the fracking method of oil and gas extraction. Fracking has generated an enormous surge in natural gas production, which has led to an almost one-for-one replacement of coal-fired power plants with clean natural gas-fired plants. Burning natural gas produces half the greenhouse emissions as coal, without emission of mercury and sulfur, which are so injurious to human health.

Ignoring – or worse, banning – fracking is like outlawing hybrid cars, because they are half-guilty of burning fossil fuel. Hybrids reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about half relative to an equivalent 100 percent gasoline-fueled car. Until electric cars are widely available at affordable prices, shouldn’t sensible climate policy retain hybrids as part of the mix?

If you voted for U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-2nd District) or John Larson (D-1st District), ask them about fracking, natural gas and hybrids.

What is especially unserious about AOC’s GND resolution is that it doesn’t even mention natural gas or any actual power source, but repeatedly advocates “renewables.” Well, most “renewables” are “unreliables.” The wind doesn’t blow all the time, and the sun doesn’t shine at night, so solar and wind power must be supplemented with power sources that produce when they don’t.

If you voted for U.S. Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-3rd District) or Johanna Hayes, you might contact them and inquire about the power sources that they favor to produce power in the still of the night. The only reliable significant energy source that doesn’t emit any GHGs is nuclear power. Do they support nuclear power?

It is unserious to propose something as outlandishly utopian as the GND, which aims to upend the U.S. economy in order to achieve zero emissions while mandating that the proposed economic revolution simultaneously deliver to each and every American: a guaranteed job with a family-sustaining high wage; high-quality health care; adequate family and medical leave; paid vacations; affordable, safe and adequate housing; affordable healthy food; economic security; retirement security; clean, affordable and accessible public transit; high-speed rail; and access to nature.

GND is supposed to close the racial wealth divide; eliminate the gender pay gap; and stop current, prevent future, and repair historic oppression of every group of Americans with a grievance against an unnamed oppressor.

The Beatles wrote a song about all of this, “Revolution.”

You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world.

You say you got a real solution

Well, you know

We’d all love to see the plan.

Red Jahncke (Twitter: @RedJahncke) is president of The Townsend Group Intl, LLC, a Connecticut business consulting firm.