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.”
What We’re Working On
Budget & Tax
Ohio’s Misguided Vaping Taxes Would Do More Harm Than Good
In this Research & Commentary, State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud examines language in Ohio’s 2020-21 operating budget that would apply a 17 percent wholesale tax on e-cigarettes and vaping devices. “Rather than imposing draconian taxes on products that are significantly less harmful than combustible cigarettes, lawmakers should encourage their use. As a tobacco harm reduction tool, e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices and should not be subjected to sin taxes,” wrote Stroud.
Study Finds Wisconsin Private Schools are Much More Cost-Effective than Traditional Public Schools
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson writes about a new study from the Reason Foundation showing Wisconsin private schools are much more cost-effective than the state’s traditional public schools (TPS). Using information gleaned from the state’s Accountability Report Cards, the report finds Wisconsin private schools receive 27 percent less funding than TPS, yet they produce 2.27 more points on these report cards for every $1,000 invested, making them 36 percent more cost-effective than TPS. Private schools in Milwaukee and Racine, are found to be 50 and 75 percent more cost-effective, respectively.
Energy & Environment
Separating Truth and Misinformation in Climate Science (Guest: Bob Tisdale)
In this edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Heartland Senior Fellow Anthony Watts is joined by Bob Tisdale, author of Extremes and Averages in Contiguous U.S. Climate: Graphs of 100 Years of NOAA Contiguous U.S. Climate Data to discuss how the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a political body, not a scientific one. Tisdale talks about the politicization of the IPCC and why the IPCC’s reports are rife with misinformation. They also discuss how the media frequently reports about extreme, dire climate predictions, while the real-world data shows nothing of the sort.
Certificate of Need Laws Restrict Competition and Benefit Existing Health Care Providers
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines a new effort in Delaware to reform or repeal the state’s certificate of need (CON) laws for health care providers. “The United States leads the world in health care quality and innovation. However, states such as Delaware unnecessarily limit the expansion of health care providers and services because of outdated and unnecessary CON laws, which lack transparency and political accountability. Delaware policymakers should repeal these monopolistic, misguided laws,” wrote Glans.
From Our Free Market Friends
The Levelized Cost of Electricity from Existing Generation Resources
In this report from the Institute for Energy Research the authors analyze publicly available data to estimate the average levelized cost of electricity from existing generation resources, as compared to the levelized cost of electricity from new generation resources that might replace them. They find continuing to operate existing natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric resources is far less costly than building and operating new plants to replace them.
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