Heartland Brief Exposes Green New Deal’s Environmental Extremism and Authoritarian Socialism

Published June 21, 2019

A new Policy Brief from The Heartland Institute argues that the “Green New Deal” (GND) resolution promoted by leading Democrats is a “dangerous combination of environmental extremism and socialism,” that would destroy the U.S. economy, have little to no effect on global temperatures, and actually be environmentally harmful.

In “The Green New Deal: A Grave Threat to the American Economy, Environment, and Freedom,” James Taylor, senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, contends the GND would actually be an “environmental catastrophe.” By requiring Americans receive all of their electricity through wind and solar sources, the GND would “be an unprecedented assault on land conservation and the world’s greatest threat to biodiversity.”

“Building the wind turbines and solar facilities needed to power the United States under the provisions of the Green New Deal would result in the destruction of tens of millions of acres of habitat for countless species across the country, including some endangered species,” Taylor writes. To replace one conventional natural gas or coal plant with a wind farm capable of generating similar capacity requires approximately 300 square miles of land. Taylor notes replacing every conventional power plant in the United States with wind and solar facilities would require an amount of land about the size of California.

The component materials needed to produce a windmill or a solar panel are rare earth minerals such as neodymium, terbium, indium, dysprosium, and praseodymium, and the mining for these materials, Taylor notes, “is one of the most toxic, disruptive, and environmentally destructive activities on the planet.”

Taylor mentions that the American Action Forum estimates the cost of going to 100 percent zero-carbon “renewable” electricity sources would be at least $5.4 trillion, or roughly $42,000 per household. However, these are not the only costs associated with the GND. Taylor estimates the total cost of building new transmission lines for all this new wind and solar generation, of replacing nuclear power with wind and solar, of building the high-speed rail lines the GND proposes, of replacing all gasoline-powered vehicles with zero emission vehicles (ZEV), of creating the infrastructure to run these ZEVs, and of “the Green New Deal’s provisions for guaranteed government jobs, single-payer health care, guaranteed “green” housing, free college tuition, and various other programs,” would be somewhere near $99 trillion dollars, or approximately $838,000 per U.S. household.

“Calculating the costs over a decade, the Green New Deal would require at least $10 trillion in new spending per year,” Taylor writes. “By comparison, the cost of the fiscal year 2018 federal budget was $4.1 trillion. The Green New Deal would therefore require at least a doubling, and likely a tripling, of current levels of government spending and taxation.”

Going to this level of spending and taxation would “dismantle what’s left of the American free-market economy and hinder individual liberty.”

“The GND would require massive and unprecedented increases in government spending, taxation, and power,” Taylor concludes, “bankrupting the United States and putting the national government in charge of much of the economy. The Green New Deal’s mandates to force all Americans to rely on wind turbines and solar facilities would greatly harm the environment while providing absolutely no possibility of significantly limiting climate change.”

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