Michael Shellenberger on Bernie Sanders’ $16 trillion Green New Deal: "Rather than being progressive, in the sense of redistributing wealth, or labor-saving, and growth-encouraging, the proposal is regressive. It would disproportionately hurt the poor by making them pay more for basic goods like food and energy. And it would slow economic growth by reducing labor-productivity.
Sanders may deny that his Green New Deal would increase energy prices, but in boasting that it will create 20 million more jobs, he is pointing to the reason why energy prices would rise. Making anything more labor-intensive makes it more expensive.
And making energy, the master resource of the economy, more expensive, Sanders’ plan would slow growth, which would in turn reduce wage growth, and reduce the societal wealth needed for Sanders’ social programs, home-building, and more liberal social attitudes toward minorities, women, and children."
Environmentalists were “self-righteous, elitist, neo-Malthusians who call for slow growth or no growth,” complained civil rights legend, Bayard Rustin, to Time Magazine in 1979. The Malthusians, he said, “would condemn the black underclass, the slum proletariat, and rural blacks, to permanent poverty.” The Malthusians knew they needed a way to rationalize their agenda as moral. They did so by adopting the progressive language of wealth redistribution. The unholy alliance between Marxists and Malthusians was partly inspired by an argument between Ehrlich and the ostensibly socialist New Yorker writer, Barry Commoner, over the issue of population control and poverty. Commoner blamed poverty for food crises, where Ehrlich blamed overpopulation.
In the early 2000s, my colleagues and I dusted off the Green New Deal created by Commoner and called it a “New Apollo Project.” All of the basic elements were the same: massive taxpayer investments in renewables, organics, efficiency, mass transit, and much else in the progressive agenda that can be justified as somehow reducing emissions. Twenty-five billion was wasted on biofuels. Tens of billions more were wasted on energy efficiency programs that cost more than they were worth. Well-connected venture capitalists got rich. Wealth was distributed upwards. And the renewables it subsidized contributed to rising electricity costs.
Sanders claimed to be able to raise "$3.085 trillion by making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies." He has repeatedly suggested on the campaign trail that he would direct the Justice Department to pursue the fossil fuel industry, although it was unclear how successful that legal strategy would be.
"If we do not act, the U.S. will lose $34.5 trillion by the end of the century in economic productivity," Sanders alleged -- putting the consequences of climate change in stark economic terms.
WaPo: "The fantasy extremism of Sen. Bernie Sanders. He would prosecute oil executives 'for the destruction they have knowingly caused' (he 'welcomes their hatred') and phase out carbon-neutral nuclear power. The Vermont independent would ban the fracking of natural gas, which is — if you control the methane emissions — a useful transitional fuel from dirty coal to clean wind and solar."
“Sen. Sanders calls us criminal and Vice President Biden says he would put us in jail, but it would be criminal not to produce the life-sustaining energy that enables a healthy, safe and modern lifestyle,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance. “Without oil and natural gas, people can’t get to school and work, the lights go dark, smartphones cease to exist, medicine cabinets and grocery store shelves go bare."
"In effect, the shale gas boom is acting like a tax cut, putting more money back in families’ wallets. The Council of Economic Advisers recently found that the shale boom saves U.S. consumers nearly $203 billion annually—about $2,500 for a family of four."
"A fracking ban would also have adverse effects on the environment. Policies that needlessly restrict energy supplies in the U.S. won’t stop consumers from using oil or natural gas, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere. Instead, production will merely shift to places where the environmental standards aren’t as rigorous. Any decision to significantly curtail America’s energy output will be a gift to Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of OPEC."
Shellenberger: "Nuclear energy and natural gas have reduced carbon emissions far more than solar and wind. Why, then, are the people so apocalyptic about climate change so opposed to them?...Before progressives were apocalyptic about climate change they were apocalyptic about nuclear energy. Then, after the Cold War ended, and the threat of nuclear war declined radically, they found a new vehicle for their secular apocalypse in the form of climate change...
Apocalyptic environmentalists like Sanders, Thunberg, and Extinction Rebellion insist that if we don’t enact their agenda, industrial civilization will come to an end. But if they are so concerned with protecting industrial civilization, why do they advocate solutions that would end it? ...
After all, if nations were to simply use natural gas to transition to nuclear, there would be little need to stop traffic in London, moralize about the virtues of foregoing meat, flying, and driving, or deploy renewables."