Sunday, March 03, 2019

Even the Washington Post rips green new deal: ‘we can’t afford bad ideas’

The Washington Post editorial board came out against the Green New Deal resolution championed by Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies.

“Good intentions aren’t enough. We can’t afford bad ideas,” the editorial board wrote in its Green New Deal takedown posted Sunday.

While the editorial board agreed with the broad energy goals of the Green New Deal, the Post leveled criticism against the resolution’s 10-year timeline and inclusion of totally unrelated welfare demands.

“They should not muddle this aspiration with other social policy, such as creating a federal jobs guarantee, no matter how desirable that policy might be,” the editorial board wrote. (RELATED: Is Ocasio-Cortez Serious? Asks If We Can Still Have Children Because Of Climate Change)

The Post also called the Green New Deal’s goal of reaching “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years “impossible” and criticized the resolution’s “promise to invest in known fiascos such as high-speed rail.”

Ocasio-Cortez joined with Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey to introduce Green New Deal resolutions in early February, which not only included aggressive energy goals, but also a slew of welfare and “social justice” goals.

“These expensive aspirations, no matter how laudable, would do nothing to arrest greenhouse-gas emissions,” the editorial board wrote. “As ostensible parts of a Green New Deal, they divert money and attention from the primary mission: rapidly eliminating emissions between now and midcentury.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looks on during a march organised by the Women's March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) looks on during a march organised by the Women’s March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs.

Republicans oppose the Green New Deal, which is to be expected, but Democrats are divided on the bill as well.

A video posted online by pro-Green New Deal environmentalists showed Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein criticizing Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution as unrealistic and unable to pass the Senate.

The Post put forward its own Green New Deal proposal — the paper called for putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions and using government to “fill in the gaps” with additional climate policies.

“Pricing greenhouse-gas emissions with a carbon tax or cap-and-trade program, the economy-wide option, is bigger than the more spectacular-sounding but piecemeal subsidy and mandate programs some environmentalists prefer,” the editorial board wrote.

“But even carbon pricing would not be quite enough,” the Post’s editorial board added. “There are places where the price signal would not come through or be effective. In those circumstances, the government would have to do more.”

The Post also called for the U.S. to remain in the Paris climate accord, which President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from, and ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which would regulate hydrofluorocarbons.

Of course, the Post’s version of the Green New Deal has about as much of a chance of being enacted as Ocasio-Cortez’s bill — almost none.


Western Caucus Addresses Green New Deal

Today, members of the Western Caucus and subject matter experts released statements attacking the Green New Deal after the Western Caucus' forum and press conference on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's legislation:

Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): "The Green New Deal would drive energy production and jobs to countries like China and India that have much worse environmental standards. Global greenhouse gas emissions will increase as a result, in direct contradiction to the main talking point for the Green New Deal. The socialist Green New Deal attempts to provide education, health care and housing to all. The Mercatus Center estimates that the costs of the single-payer health care provision alone would cost $32 trillion in the first 10 years. The Green New Deal is an alarmist pipe dream that seeks to fundamentally “transform America” without a blueprint. This socialist manifesto changes by the day and important details on how a transition of the Green New Deal’s magnitude will occur are missing, including how we will pay for this pie in the sky aspiration."

Vice-Chairman for Indian Affairs and Oceans Don Young (AK-At Large): "The Green New Deal is a PR stunt that will never become law. I’ve fought to secure the rights of Alaskans to develop energy on their lands, and this proposal would turn the clock back on the progress we’ve made. The Green New Deal is a bad deal for Alaska, and I’ll keep fighting this massive government overreach."

Chief Rules Officer Dan Newhouse (WA-04): "The Democrats’ Green New Deal is a bad deal for the American People and ignores sound science. It calls for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero in just ten years—which could cost Americans $93 trillion. The drafters of this plan set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in ten years because they ‘aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.’ Government intervention and control of Americans’ lives at this enormous scale is no laughing matter. It dictates that in ten years every existing building in this country must be upgraded and retrofitted for ‘comfort.’ The drafters also want to subsidize those who are ‘unwilling to work.’ It defies sound science by ignoring clean sources of energy like those that power my home state of Washington. Washington relies on clean, renewable, and affordable hydroelectric dams for 70 percent of our power, but the Green New Deal ignores hydropower completely. It would even phase out the clean and reliable baseload energy provided by nuclear power. This Green New Deal would be catastrophic for the American economy and way of life. We must respect our environment, ensure clean air and water for our citizens, and encourage innovative way to produce energy through a variety of reliable, renewable, traditional, and alternative sources."

Michael Zehr, Consumer Energy Alliance: "American consumers need practical energy solutions that come from our nation’s existing mix of affordable energy resources. As it stands, the Green New Deal does not offer cost-efficient or sustainable solutions for hardworking families and businesses across our country." Mr. Zehr also testified that the Green New Deal is estimated to cost hard-working Americans $155.5 billion to replace furnaces, $50 billion to replace water heaters, $11.9 billion to replace gas dryers and $26 billion to replace stoves. "

Myron Ebell, Competitive Enterprise Institute: "The Green New Deal is neither green, nor particularly new, and is about as bad a deal as can be imagined. Its name hearkens back to the romantic memories many Americans have of the New Deal. The New Deal of the 1930s was a series of relatively modest ad hoc programs intended to put people back to work and lift the economy out of the Depression. But the Green New Deal is much more ambitious than the New Deal."

Katie Tubb, The Heritage Foundation: "The ‘Green New Deal’ resolution is filled with lessons. It is exactly how not to successfully enact desperately needed infrastructure investment. It is exactly how not to enact a progressive agenda to address our nation’s dangerous income inequality. And it is exactly how not to win support for critical measures to curb climate change… According to the resolution, a ‘Green New Deal’ would require every car to be electric-powered and ban all fossil fuels, among other proposals. It is difficult to take this unrealistic manifesto seriously, but the economic and social devastation it would cause if it moves forward is serious and real."

Rick Manning, Americans For Limited Government: “Socialism is always a failure. It deprives people of freedom, choice, property and opportunity. The Green New Deal is nothing more or less than a new rationale for a failed government system that has always resulted in enslavement and deprivation of the people — and it must be rejected.”

Marc Morano, Director of Communication, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow: "The environmental Left has been using green scares to push for the same solutions we see today — wealth redistribution, central planning, sovereignty limiting treaties — since the overpopulation scars of the 1960s and 1970s."


Earth is greener today than it was 20 years ago thanks to 'human activity,' NASA study shows

Rising CO2 helps with that

New findings from NASA revealed that the planet has seen an overall increase in greening over the last 20 years.

A new findings from NASA revealed that the planet has seen an overall increase in greening over the last 20 years, due mainly in part to “ambitious tree planting programs.”

The research published on Feb. 11 found that the greening of earth over the course of the last two decades has shown an overall increase by 5 percent, equal to more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year compared to the early 2000s.

The data, which compared satellite images from the mid-1990s taken by Boston University and those collected from two NASA satellites orbiting the earth for 20 years, showed that both China and India are leading the way in the greening of the globe.

Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, lead author of the study, said that the two countries “account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9 percent of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation.”

Initially, researchers attributed the change to warmer weather, wetter climate and the fertilization from added carbon dioxide, but Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, said that the new data showed that “humans are also contributing.”

Nemani pointed to China’s programs to conserve and expand forests and India’s cultivation of food crops.

“Now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models,” she continued. “This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.”


Climate alarmists should cool off about Britain's warm weather spell

There’s a difference between weather and climate, as they never tire of telling us.

It goes without saying that the normal reaction to unseasonably warm weather is to leg it to the nearest beer garden and have a pint. But while us reasonable folk in Britain have been busy enjoying the warm spell, the climate alarmists have all gone into meltdown.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has already used the weather as an excuse to wheel out the old clichés about global warming being the greatest threat to our species. ‘We shouldn’t be enjoying a heatwave in February’, reads the breathless headline on her article for the Independent. ‘This is what climate breakdown feels like’, she says. In the Guardian, journalist Jonn Elledge asks: ‘Am I the only one who’s terrified about the warm weather?’

It is true that it was a first when temperatures topped 20 degrees centigrade this week. We’ve now had the warmest February day on record. But that is only alarming until you consider that the previous hottest February day came in 1998 – over 21 years ago.

The inconvenient truth for the green lobby is that the current unseasonal spell of warm weather is just that: weather. The Met Office has already said the cause of the current hot spell is a high-pressure front dragging warm air over from Africa, not global warming. And yet the same alarmists who claim that unseasonal cold spells can’t be taken as proof that global warming isn’t real are now asserting that the current warm spell proves beyond all doubt that we’re heading for the end of the world.

The Earth’s temperature does seem to be increasing, and there’s no use denying that. However, the current rise is likely to just be part of the uncontrollable natural cycle of heating and cooling which the planet has always endured. It is also true that a small amount of this temperature increase is likely to be caused by human activities, although the extent to which global warming is man-made remains disputed.

What’s missing in our discussion of climate change and environmental issues is an acknowledgement of the trade-off between human progress and environmental damage. Millions of people in the global South have been lifted out of poverty in the past few decades largely because of cheap and readily available fossil fuels – the same fossil fuels the green lobby would gladly see banned. With 10 per cent of human beings still living in extreme poverty, more fossil fuels will need to burn before everyone can enjoy the living standards and modern comforts we in the West have grown so accustomed to.

So when eco-warriors talk about clamping down on cheap fossil fuels, or reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, they know this will also mean clamping down on development. It is clear that to many of the staunchest environmentalists, economic growth is not something to be celebrated, but something to be managed, and where possible restricted, because of the environmental repercussions it can have. This is why environmentalism is so trendy among the anti-capitalist movement that is currently flourishing on Twitter and within the Labour Party. Never mind that many of the solutions to today’s environmental problems are likely to be technological anyway – meaning that more economic growth, not less, is our best bet for a cleaner and greener future.

Either way, this week’s lovely weather is not worth worrying about. The bottom line is that one February hot spell does not mean the world is dying, and climate alarmists would be better off if they dropped the doom-mongering and just enjoyed the sun like the rest of us. This is Britain, after all, and the rain is guaranteed to be back in no time.


Beware green technocrats

The UK Committee on Climate Change has nothing but contempt for the public.

Ask people what the UK’s biggest housing problems are, and most will tell you, rightly, that there aren’t enough homes, and that prices and rents are far too high. But UK policymakers are preoccupied by something else and have been for a long time: that our homes contribute to, and are at risk from, global warming.

So it was that a non-departmental public body, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), announced last week that ‘UK homes are not fit for the future’, and that tough new building standards and enforcement will be necessary. Most shocking of all, the CCC said ‘no new homes should be connected to the gas grid’, and that gas central heating and plumbing should therefore be phased out.

Saving the planet, and homes, from the ravages of climate change is a good idea. But the CCC’s claims are questionable. As I reported here during last Summer’s heatwave, the CCC, like many climate alarmists, has a tendency to exaggerate risk and lose historical perspective. In truth, homes are actually better protected from the slightly warmer, slightly wetter and slightly windier weather that scientists predict might be our future than they were even a generation ago.

The CCC argues that UK emissions-reduction targets cannot be met ‘without near complete decarbonisation of the housing stock’. Gas boilers should therefore be banned in new (and then older) homes, because ‘energy use in homes accounts for about 14 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions’. In their place will be more energy-efficient systems, such as ground- and air-source heat pumps, and greater levels of insulation.

The problem with this is that if economic alternatives to gas-fired central heating and hot water existed, there would be no need for standards and their enforcement. But they don’t exist. Zero-carbon homes are the stuff of Grand Designs – a nice idea, but more a fashion accessory for the wealthy than a design principle that will improve lives. Lower-cost experiments with low-carbon construction have resulted in complaints of homes becoming too hot in the summer; having poor ventilation and, therefore, damp and mould; and of requiring their inhabitants to sacrifice comfort. Most notably, and most tragically, the incautious application of energy-efficiency standards as dictated by remote technocrats – rather than consumers, according to their own needs – contributed to the Grenfell disaster.

All of which should provoke debate about the UK’s climate-change policy. UK political parties all make the same bland promises to ‘tackle climate change’, but the devil is in the platitudes. That is to say, they rarely explain costs or consequences. It seems clear that climate-change and energy policies have not been constructed in the voter’s interest, and certainly without his or her consent. And the climate establishment’s contempt runs deep. Ten years ago, I interviewed CCC member Julia King (aka Baroness Brown of Cambridge), after a public talk on UK climate policy. She told me that the problem for politicians is that the population is ‘extremely selfish’, and the main objective of the CCC was ‘behaviour change’. There has been no public debate about the principles underpinning the shift to a lower carbon economy – including banning gas boilers – because members of the climate-change establishment do not believe they are answerable to the public.

The CCC was established by the Climate Change Act (2008) to give ‘independent advice’ to parliament on what its climate targets should be and how they can be achieved. But this act was passed at one of the lowest points in UK democracy, in which a cross-party consensus on climate change, and the endless spawning of quangos, epitomised the lack of political diversity and accountability in Westminster. Accordingly, far from being ‘independent’, the CCC was populated by crony capitalists and green zealots. The result has been a single-minded body that has ignored criticism and dodged debate because, like all unaccountable, undemocratic technocracies, it can.

For people with the means to afford ever-increasing energy bills and higher-cost transport, the CCC’s latest wheeze may seem trivial. But a proposed ban on gas boilers is merely one part of a broader technocratic project that further disempowers the public. So, regardless of whether you think climate change is the huge problem the CCC claims it is, the solution to it cannot be technocracy.



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