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The great hypocrisy of the Green New Deal
Not ready for prime time. That was the consensus reaction to the Green New Deal, released last month by freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
The Economist called the proposal “deeply unserious.” A Washington Post editorial labeled it as “fantasy.” New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote that it would result in “the greatest centralization of power in the hands of the Washington elite in our history.”
But the Green New Deal isn’t just lousy policy. It’s incredibly hypocritical.
In boosting the plan, for instance, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that “the world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” It was a hyperbolic summary of an alarmist and scientifically unsound United Nations report on greenhouse gas emissions.
Enter, the hypocrisy.
If a climate change-induced existential crisis were, indeed, just around the corner, the most rationale response would be to gin up all the nuclear power the world can get. After all, in 2017 nuclear provided more than half (56 percent) of the country’s emissions-free electricity — more than triple the amount we get from wind and 18 times more than solar generates generation.
But, according to the now-deleted FAQ sheet from Ocasio-Cortez’s office, “The Green New Deal makes new fossil fuel infrastructure or nuclear plants unnecessary.” Launching “a massive mobilization of all our resources into renewable energies,” while eliminating emissions-free nuclear power is the most inefficient and expensive approach to carbon reduction possible.
The hypocrisy doesn’t end there.
Green New Dealers are trying to sell their policies in the name of economic security and justice. However, policies that take away affordable, reliable power from American families are highly regressive. Higher energy costs hit low-income households hardest, because they spend a higher percentage of their budget on energy. The higher these costs climb, the more they are forced to make difficult choices between keeping the heat on or providing food for their family or perhaps going to the doctor.
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