De facto Democratic policy setter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sponsors an absurd piece of legislation, one that would put the entire economy under direct government control, and one that’s detached from any sort of economic, technological, fiscal, or scientific reality. She slaps the label “Green New Deal” on it in a clever bit of trading on the hagiographic memory of a liberal icon, and prompts most of the Democratic Presidential candidacy field to voice support. The legislation gets excoriated, mocked, and ridiculed by the opposition. The Senate Majority Leader, a Republican, says “OK, Dems, we’ll vote on your bill.” Dems get angry, most vote “present” rather than voting for a bill that I’d expect to be a big part of their upcoming Presidential platform. AOC is not amused, rants, raves, and throws shade.

On the Internet, the (well-deserved) mockery of the bill is rebutted by high-minded, more-woke-than-thou, earnest world-savers who claim it’s just a framework and a departure point for debate. They then demand “what would YOU have us do?”

This is me taking them at their word. This is me offering up my version of the Green New Deal.

I preface this by noting that, despite endless hyperventilation, the science of global warming is not settled, and significant questions remain open as to anthropogenic fraction, magnitude, impact, and fidelity of future projections. But, lets say we want to hedge our bets, and do something.

Rationality tells that “something” should make sense. Yes, most “something” that people or the government do in such instances is showboating intended to garner votes, but I won’t go that route. If it’s necessary that we do something, here are the things that would work towards reducing carbon emissions, and not just in America.

1 – Clean up the regulatory process for new nuclear power plants, enabling modern, fail-safe designs (or, even better, a single, cookie-cutter design) to be built quickly and without the massive government-imposed costs that currently drive its price up. Then get out of the way and let the private sector build nuke plants. This would not only reduce domestic carbon emissions domestically, it would allow us to export our natural gas and our clean tech to the rest of the world. See #2.

2 – Drill and frack, and sell our natural gas all over the world, especially to places that would burn coal. NG emits 1/4 the carbon of coal per unit energy. Also, sell high efficiency gas turbine (and clean-coal) technology all over the world. The world needs energy, and it wants the cheapest energy it can get. Developing nations burn dirtier than we do, producing not only a lot more CO2 per unit energy, but emitting particulates that are a FAR more proximate health risk than global warming. America’s emissions have been decreasing, thanks to a transition from coal to gas. It’s time we export that success. If we displace even some of the inefficient/dirty power generation going on elsewhere, we’ve done the world a service.

3 – Spend money (especially the money the government now spends on renewables) on geoengineering research. It is beyond doubt that the BRICS nations will not wholly decarbonize. They aren’t as suicidal, economically, as our Left is, and are quietly hoping we try to implement AOC’s Green New Deal, because our national self-destruction would give them huge competitive advantages on the world stage. Even if we totally decarbonize America, it won’t make a hill of beans difference globally, because developing nations aren’t going to follow suit. Geoengineering, including things that change solar flux/heating, sequester atmospheric carbon, change radiative cooling, etc, would not need global compliance to implement, and if AGW does turn out to be a big problem, we can be better prepared to deal with it.

4 – Get the nuclear waste repository Yucca Mountain up and running, to manage the existing nuclear waste. Meanwhile, remove regulatory barriers to spent fuel reprocessing, and let entrepreneurial investment do what it does. It is beyond irresponsible that the Yucca Mountain development was halted (by Nevada Senator Harry Reid, in a pure NIMBY bit of pique), leaving spent nuclear fuel scattered all over the country.

That’s enough. Do these four things, and we’ve done a LOT to mitigate against potential global warming problems. And, we’ve done a LOT without destroying wealth or inflicting hardship on today’s citizens. In fact, doing these things will actually be good for the current economy, and be beneficial to the people of today, worldwide.

Notice what’s not in this Better Green New Deal? Anything about social justice, or poverty programs, or universal health care, or guaranteed income, or guaranteed housing. If global warming is such a dire threat, why complicate or dilute our response with all that other stuff (for the answer, see below)? This business of bundling everything possible into a single giant bill, even when it conflicts with or distracts from the legislation’s primary intent, is wrongheaded, deceitful, and contrary to efficiency and effectiveness. If AGW is that big a deal, any politician whose vote has to be bought deserves the modern equivalent of the pillory. Don’t tell us people are dying, in order to get public support for the bill, then fold in all sorts of other stuff.

Notice what else is not in this Better Green New Deal? The destruction of existing wealth (including cars, homes, and infrastructure). The AOC Green New Deal is a giant broken-windows fallacy, that ignores the massive cost of destroying existing assets and wealth, out of a delusion that junking what we have makes jobs and is good for the economy. If it were that simple to create jobs, we could have the unemployed simply fill in roadside ditches, then dig them out again. With spoons, just to get more bodies working.

The Green New Deal is not, no matter what AOC and her acolytes tell you, about saving the planet from human carbon emissions. It’s a socialist/fascist take-over of the economy, written as a combination of unscientific hysterics and vote-buying giveaways, that puts leftist politicians in total control of every aspect of your life. THAT is why it’s packed with social justice language and directives.

Want social justice? Propose legislation and ideas that are about social justice, and have a debate that’s about social justice.

Want to do something about global warming? The plan I’ve outlined here will do FAR more than the Green New Deal. It will reduce carbon emissions domestically, it will reduce carbon emissions in other countries, and it will do so without wreaking economic havoc and impoverishing the nation. And, you don’t need to be all-in on the catastrophic predictions re global warming to support it. It makes sense all on its own.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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