Green New Deal proponents, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have long claimed that the GND, an expansive, costly, and dramatic change in the American economy (and in American infrastructure), would be worth it if it such extreme measures would in the long run lessen our impact on climate.
Now, though, a new study from the American Enterprise Institute questions whether the Green New Deal would have any real impact on climate change at all — leaving it little more than an effort to dismantle industry.
The AEI report breaks down the GND into bite-sized policy proposals, assessing not simply the cost, but the proposed effectiveness of each legislative item to address the core goal of the GND: reducing American carbon emissions to a "net zero" by 2050.
The researchers' ultimate conclusion? "It is not to be taken seriously."
The "net zero" emissions proposal is particularly nonsensical, AEI warns, given that such an effort would require an estimated $490 billion per year investment in "green energy" and a sharp decrease in land available for agriculture. It also fails to address a very specific problem when it comes to U.S.-specific plans for climate change abatement: it fails to consider that the U.S. is only one of several heavy carbon-emitting nations, and that the vast majority of industrial pollution comes from the developing world and from countries like China and India.
In total, completely enacted, funded, and efficiently meeting goals — things AEI does not anticipate the GND would ever do — the full plan would cut the global increase in temperature by a whopping "0.083 to 0.173 degrees," a number, the report says, is "barely distinguishable from zero."
And that's assuming that the United States could ever fully enact the Green New Deal. As The Washington Free Beacon points out, the undertaking would be akin to declaring total war on the environment and shifting the focus of every industry directly to the abatement of climate change. Every home would be outfitted to rely on alternative energy, the GND proposes, but, AEI points, out, its authors fail to account for any transition from traditional energy sources to "alternative ones," making the U.S. a land of temporary brownouts and energy restriction.
"[E]ven with an entire state's worth of solar panels," the WFB reports, "the country would still need to rely on conventional energy generation to fill in "brown out" periods, when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. Zycher estimates that this back up would require 1.4 million gigawatt-hours of energy per year, resulting in about 35% of 2017 emissions—hardly zero."
Instead, AEI found, the GND is a government control-grab, thinly disguised as an environmental bill.
"The GND at its core is the substitution of central planning in place of market forces for resource allocation in the U.S. energy and transportation sectors narrowly and in the broad industrial, commercial, and residential sectors writ large. Given the tragic and predictable record of central planning outcomes worldwide over the past century, the GND should be rejected," the report concludes.