Last updated on: 9/24/2020 | Author: ProCon.org

Should the US Implement a Green New Deal?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Emily Holden, environment reporter for Guardian US, in a Feb. 11, 2019 article, “What Is the Green New Deal and How Would It Benefit Society?,” available at theguardian.com, stated

“So what is the Green New Deal?

The proposal outlines the broad principles of a plan simultaneously to fight inequity and tackle climate change. It does not contain policy details or advocate for specific ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But with a broad brush it aims to begin to make the US carbon-neutral – net zero carbon emissions – in 10 years.

The Green New Deal recognizes that transition would require massive change. It endorses ways of ensuring that vulnerable populations – including the poor, people of color, indigenous populations and communities already facing environmental degradation – take part in the planning process and benefit from the green economy.”

Feb. 11, 2019

Deborah Dsouza, news editor at Investopedia in an Oct. 28, 2019 article, “The Green New Deal Explained,” available at investopedia.com, stated:

“The term ‘Green New Deal’ was first used by Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman in January 2007. America had just experienced its hottest year on record (there have been five hotter since), and Friedman recognized that there wasn’t going to be a palatable, easy solution to climate change as politicians hoped. It was going to take money, effort, and upsetting an industry that has always been very generous with campaign contributions.

Transitioning away from fossil fuels, he argued in a New York Times column, would require the government to raise prices on them, introduce higher energy standards, and undertake a massive industrial project to scale up green technology…

Since then, ‘Green New Deal’ has been used to describe various sets of policies that aim to make systemic change. The United Nations announced a Global Green New Deal in 2008. Former President Barack Obama added one to his platform when he ran for election in 2008, and Green party candidates, such as Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins, did the same.”

Oct. 28, 2019

Andrew Chatzky, economics writer and editor at the Council for Foreign Relations, in a Jan. 16, 2020 article, “Envisioning a Green New Deal: A Global Comparison,” available at cfr.org, stated:

“The goals of the Green New Deal involve:

  • Emissions: cutting net greenhouse gas emissions to zero over ten years. Manufacturing: spurring “massive growth in clean manufacturing.
  • Power use: meeting all U.S. power demand “through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.
  • Agriculture: sharply reducing emissions and other pollution from agriculture.
  • Infrastructure: upgrading infrastructure, including transportation and housing, and ensuring all infrastructure bills considered by Congress address climate change.
  • Jobs: guaranteeing a job with a “family-sustaining wage” for everyone.
  • Welfare and social justice: providing everyone in the United States with high-quality health care, affordable housing, economic security, clean water, clean air, and healthy food, while addressing systemic social exclusion and injustice.

The specific means to carry all this out are left open, but the resolution stresses that it should be a duty of the federal government and should include public financing, technical expertise, public investment in research and development, stronger enforcement of trade rules relating to the environment, antitrust enforcement, and the expansion of workers’ rights.”

Jan. 16, 2020

PRO (yes)

Pro

Joe Biden, JD, 47th US Vice President, in a campaign page, “Climate: Joe’s Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice,” accessed on Aug. 29, 2019 and available at joebiden.com, stated:

“[T]here is no greater challenge facing our country and our world. Today, he is outlining a bold plan – a Clean Energy Revolution – to address this grave threat and lead the world in addressing the climate emergency.

If we can harness all of our energy and talents, and unmatchable American innovation, we can turn this threat into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy sector and boost growth economy-wide. We can create new industries that reinvigorate our manufacturing and create high-quality, middle-class jobs in cities and towns across the United States. We can lead America to become the world’s clean energy superpower. We can export our clean-energy technology across the globe and create high-quality, middle-class jobs here at home. Getting to a 100% clean energy economy is not only an obligation, it’s an opportunity. We should fully adopt a clean energy future, not just for all of us today, but for our children and grandchildren, so their tomorrow is healthier, safer, and more just.”

Aug. 29, 2019

Pro

Ed Markey, US Senator (D-MA), in a Feb. 7, 2019 press release, “Senator Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Introduce Green New Deal Resolution,” available on markey.senate.gov, stated:

“The sun is setting on the dirty energy of the past. Today marks the dawn of a new era of climate action. A Green New Deal is about jobs, and it is about justice. It would be the greatest blue-collar jobs program in a generation and repair the historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities that have born the worst burdens of our fossil fuel economy, all while saving the planet. Our Green New Deal resolution outlines an historic ten-year mobilization that will mitigate climate emissions and build climate resiliency. We can create high-quality jobs and enforce labor standards, guarantee rights to retirement security and health care, and conduct inclusive decision making in this Green New Deal.”

Feb. 7, 2019

Pro

Al Gore, 45th US Vice President, in a Feb. 7, 2019 press release, “Statement by Former Vice President and Climate Reality Project Chairman Al Gore on today’s Green New Deal Resolution,” available at algore.com, stated:

“The Green New Deal resolution marks the beginning of a crucial dialogue on climate legislation in the U.S. Mother Nature has awakened so many Americans to the urgent threat of the climate crisis, and this proposal responds to the growing concern and demand for action. The goals are ambitious and comprehensive – now the work begins to decide the best ways to achieve them, with specific policy solutions tied to timelines. It is critical that this process unfolds in close dialogue with the frontline communities that bear the disproportionate impacts today, as this resolution acknowledges. Policymakers and Presidential candidates would be wise to embrace a Green New Deal and commit to the hard work of seeing it through.”

Feb. 7, 2019

Pro

Guido Girgenti, organizer and writer, and Aru Shiney-Ajay, trainings director for the Sunrise Movement, in an Apr. 23, 2019 article, “The Green New Deal Isn’t a Wish List—It’s Good Strategy,” available at thenation.com, stated:

“The Green New Deal… is a long-awaited victory for the US climate movement. Finally, there’s a plan to transform the US economy at the speed and scale needed to avoid disastrous warming, while securing prosperity and justice for millions of Americans—especially those most vulnerable to climate change and most impacted by centuries of historic harm and marginalization…

[I]ncluding a job guarantee and Medicare for All in the Green New Deal resolution is both good ethics and effective policy design…

By tying climate policy to economic prosperity and racial justice, the Green New Deal could underpin a vast coalition that has a chance of overcoming these challenges. This is especially true if it sustains the broad support it initially received: 81 percent of Americans–including 64 percent of Republicans–backed the Green New Deal in 2018, and its policies garner support even among moderates and Obama-Trump voters. This momentum has led some Republican senators to acknowledge that climate change is real and propose their own ideas for clean-energy development.”

Apr. 23, 2019

Pro

Tim Donaghy, PhD, Senior Research Specialist with Greenpeace USA, in an Oct. 10, 2019 article, “The Green New Deal Is a Bargain, It’s the Climate Emergency That’s Expensive,” available at greenpeace.org, stated:

“[A] Green New Deal would be a very good investment if we design it right. The alternative — an unchecked climate crisis — would be the real economy and jobs killer…

But understanding the economics of climate change makes it clear that it would be a very, very good idea to make a down payment now to make the switch to 100% clean energy and avoid the costly — and dangerous — consequences of climate disaster down the road. A big investment in renewable energy and a just transition — like that envisioned by the Green New Deal — helps protect the only planet we have, and ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the bounty of a healthy environment.”

Oct. 10, 2019

Pro

Sierra Club, in an article, “What Is a Green New Deal?,” accessed on Sep. 24, 2020 and available at sierraclub.org, stated:

“A Green New Deal is a big, bold transformation of the economy to tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change. It would mobilize vast public resources to help us transition from an economy built on exploitation and fossil fuels to one driven by dignified work and clean energy.

The status quo economy leaves millions behind. While padding the pockets of corporate polluters and billionaires, it exposes working class families, communities of color, and others to stagnant wages, toxic pollution, and dead-end jobs. The climate crisis only magnifies these systemic injustices, as hard-hit communities are hit even harder by storms, droughts, and flooding. Entrenched inequality, meanwhile, exacerbates the climate crisis by depriving frontline communities of the resources needed to adapt and cope.

Climate change and inequality are inextricably linked. We cannot tackle one without addressing the other. A Green New Deal would take on both.”

Sep. 24, 2020

Pro

Ray Galvin, PhD, affiliated researcher at the RWTH Aachen University and Noel Healy, PhD, Associate Professor in the Geography and Sustainability Department at Salem State University, in an Apr. 22, 2020 article, “The Green New Deal Is More Relevant Than Ever,” available at blogs.scientificamerican.com, stated:

“Increasing marginal tax rates on the highest incomes will have a further pragmatic effect. High incomes are associated with enormously high carbon footprints, and recent research shows that carbon emissions drop as inequality reduces. The superwealthy often use their excess wealth to obstruct legislative and regulatory restrictions on emissions standards and climate policy. Weakening this stranglehold is a smart way to keep a clean energy future alive.

A more economically equal society would therefore give both practical and political support to the year-by-year implementation of a Green New Deal, and recent polls show significant support for a wealth tax and progressive tax regime, across party lines.

A Green New Deal offers a timely framework for future fiscal stimulus. Our research suggests there is fiscal space. What’s needed now is the political will.”

Apr. 22, 2020

Pro

Quentin Karpilow, JD, senior research assistant at The Brookings Institute, and Zachary Liscow, PhD, JD, Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School, in a Feb. 12, 2019 article, “Green New Deal Is Good Economics,” available at thehill.com, stated:

“A Green New Deal is not just good politics. It is good economics. Society can combat climate change by using existing clean technologies to cut emissions today or by innovating new clean technologies to cut emissions in the future. We need both strategies to address global warming. Every second that we delay in reducing our carbon footprint imposes costs on ourselves and on countless future generations. If we want to avoid climate catastrophe, we need to make deep cuts in emissions soon. On the other hand, the challenges and costs of relying solely on current technologies to address climate change are prohibitively high. We need investments in clean innovation to make it cheaper to reduce emissions in the future…

The ideal economic climate policy does include carbon pricing. But we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Even if the government cannot enact the best policy for cutting emissions today, it can still use the best policy for advancing clean innovation tomorrow. The Green New Deal pushes climate policy into uncharted political waters, but it does so based on sound economic theories. If we want to save the planet for the least amount of money, we need the Green New Deal, and we need it now.”

Feb. 12, 2019

CON (no)

Con

Donald Trump, 45th US President, in a July 8, 2019 statement, “Remarks by President Trump on America’s Environmental Leadership,” available at whitehouse.gov, stated:

“While we’re focused on practical solutions, more than 100 Democrats in Congress now support the so-called Green New Deal. Their plan is estimated to cost our economy nearly $100 trillion — a number unthinkable; a number not affordable even in the best of times. If you go 150 years from now and we’ve had great success, that’s not a number that’s even thought to be affordable. It’ll kill millions of jobs, it’ll crush the dreams of the poorest Americans, and disproportionately harm minority communities.

I will not stand for it. We will defend the environment, but we will also defend American sovereignty, American prosperity, and we will defend American jobs.”

July 8, 2019

Con

Nicholas Loris, Deputy Director, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, in a Nov. 15, 2019 article, “It’s Not Just About Cost. The Green New Deal Is Bad Environmental Policy, Too,” available at heritage.org, stated:

“The Green New Deal would massively expand the size and scope of the federal government’s control over activities best left to the private sector. It would empower the feds to change and control how people produce and consume energy, harvest crops, raise livestock, build homes, drive cars and manufacture goods.

Secondly, the Green New Deal would result in a number of unintended consequences. For instance, policies that limit coal, oil and natural gas production in the United States will not stop the global consumption of these natural resources. Production will merely shift to places where the environmental standards are not as rigorous, making the planet worse off…

By shrinking our economy by potentially tens of trillions of dollars, the Green New Deal will cause lower levels of prosperity and fewer resources to deal with whatever environmental challenges come our way. That’s a bad deal for our economy and our environment.”

Nov. 15, 2019

Con

Justin Haskins, Executive Editor and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute in a Feb. 7, 2019 article, “Democrats’ ‘Green New Deal’ Is a Crazy New Deal That Would Be a Disaster for Us All,” available at foxnews.com, stated:

“The Green New Deal… unveiled by Democratic lawmakers Thursday calls for economically destructive and environmentally toxic extremist policies that would be an utter disaster for our country and the American people.

The radical and impractical plan could suck trillions of dollars out of our economy, raise costs of much of what we buy, wipe out millions of jobs and plunge our country into a recession or perhaps even a depression. It would be a self-inflicted wound causing enormous harm to us all…

Not only would these policies kill jobs, hurt families and insert the government in everyone’s home and business – they would provide few, if any, environmental benefits and would do nothing to avert climate change…

The bottom line is that the Green New Deal would transform gigantic sectors of the U.S. economy – energy, health care, college education, and potentially more – into huge socialist, government-run or managed programs that would be controlled by an army of bureaucrats in Washington.”

Feb. 7, 2019

Con

Mike Pesca, Slate contributor, in a Feb. 8, 2019 article, “The Green New Deal Will Never Work,” available at slate.com, stated:

“I tend to judge ideas by considering the opinions of experts who know more than I do. And when it comes to the Green New Deal, almost none of these people think that the United States can achieve its goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

And if you polled the leading experts or polled even the leading edge of renewable energy optimistic experts, they would admit that it is not possible to get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. The Union of Concerned Scientists hope we can get to 80 percent by 2050. Stanford professor Mark Z. Jacobson, co-founder of the Solutions Project and 100.org—the 100 percent clean, renewable energy movement—has estimated that his goal cannot be achieved by 2030 but holds out hope for 2050. By comparison, renewable energy accounts for only 18 percent of total U.S. power generation.

I worry that having impossible goals might dissuade the public and discredit those proposing them.”

Feb. 8, 2019

Con

Richard A. Epstein, LLB, Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, in a Feb. 19, 2019 article, “The Farcical ‘Green New Deal,'” available at hoover.org, stated:

“The dominant source of energy for the foreseeable future for both the United States and the world will be fossil fuels, chiefly in the form of oil, natural gas, and coal. Throughout the world, many groups will push hard for massive subsidies to wind and solar energy. Yet, that attempt, no matter how bold, will fail to shift the overall balance of energy production toward green sources. The fatal drawback of wind and solar is their lack of storability. Solar works when the sun shines. Wind works when breezes blow. Both often provide energy when it is not needed and fail to provide it when required. Any legal diktat that puts these renewable sources first will only produce a prolonged economic dislocation. Pie-in-the-sky proposals like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which stipulates 100 percent of energy needs be supplied by “clean, renewable, and zero emissions” sources, should be dead on arrival.

The major challenge of sound energy policy today is to find ways to make the production of fossil fuels both cheaper and safer. Fortunately, private-sector innovation has paid off handsomely such that the total social cost of fossil fuels has trended sharply downward and shows every indication of continuing to do so.”

Feb. 19, 2019

Con

Washington Examiner, in a May 14, 2019 article, “The Green New Deal Is about Power, Not the Planet,” available at washingtonexaminer.com, stated:

“In these moments, and more broadly in the rollout of the Green New Deal, it is laid bare what critics of left-wing environmentalism have always said: The green movement is less about improving the environment and more about increasingly concentrating power in the central government…

The Green New Deal rallies have all featured a video [Naomi] Klein co-produced, narrated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that tries to bundle their proposed windmill subsidies with ‘Medicare for all,’ a ‘jobs guarantee’ including a ‘public option,’ universal child care, and ‘publicly funded election campaigns.’

In other words, signing up for the Green New Deal means signing up for a massive government takeover of the economy.”

May 14, 2019

Con

Alex Brill, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, in a Jan. 21, 2019 article, “Costs of the Green New Deal,” available at thehill.com, stated:

“Consider three significant consequences of this policy plan. First, the Green New Deal could unintentionally inhibit clean technology and energy efficiency innovation because the federal grants will inevitably be earmarked for investments that can be defined using only tools and technologies already at hand…

Second, an increase in federal spending on green infrastructure projects such as wind farms or solar fields could significantly suppress private sector spending in this key energy category…

Third, the Green New Deal will influence lawmakers on decision making because funding allocations will undoubtedly be determined by political forces rather than market forces. Some lawmakers will insist on a certain level of investment in solar projects, while others will demand more money for wind turbines or geothermal power.”

Jan. 21, 2019

Con

Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies at Cato Institute, in a Feb. 8, 2019 article, “Green New Deal Would Crush Liberal Values,” available at cato.org, stated:

“The proposed scope of new federal authority under the GND is remarkable…

The plan would push the nation to reach zero greenhouse gases, upgrade all buildings, generate all power with zero emissions, overhaul transportation, and generate “massive growth” in clean manufacturing. It would supposedly provide all people education, training, a good job, high‐​quality health care, affordable and safe housing, economic security, clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature…

[L]ong experience shows that when the federal government subsidizes and regulates local activities, decisionmaking moves from local elected officials to unknown and inaccessible federal bureaucrats. The GND would replace local and voluntary interactions with top‐​down coercion.

The exercise of vast federal power under the GND would steamroll collaboration, partnership, diversity, localism, and participatory processes.”

Feb. 8, 2019