House Democrats’ Climate Bill a Trojan Horse for Green New Deal

The so-called “Green New Deal” resolution failed to get any real traction on Capitol Hill, and it’s easy to see why. The original supporting document for the “Green New Deal,” which floated the idea of banning air travel and flatulent cows, was widely mocked. The policy ideas in the resolution itself would mean a massive centralization of government and takeover of resources that would make even the most ravenous Leninist blush.  

The so-called “Green New Deal” resolution may not be taken seriously on Capitol Hill or anywhere else in America, but House Democrats are still trying to push climate alarmism. In late March, a day after the Senate rejected the Green New Deal resolution, House Democrats unveiled the Climate Action Now Act, H.R. 9, which would prevent the United States from leaving the Paris Agreement.

In December 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached a nonbinding agreement in Paris to reduce carbon emissions. Each country set a target reduction of carbon emissions below its 2005 level to keep the global temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius. The Obama administration sought to reduce the United States’ carbon emissions by between 26 percent and 28 percent below its 2005 level by 2025. President Barack Obama also committed $3 billion for the Green Climate Fund, which was established with the Paris Agreement. Only $1 billion has been paid out.

In June 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Despite some in the White House urging him to keep the United States in the agreement, President Trump delivered on an important campaign promise.

“The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers...and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production,” President Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. “Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

The economic burdens of the Paris Agreement would have been substantial. According to a study by NERA Economic Consulting, the Paris Agreement could have reduced gross domestic product (GDP) by $250 billion in 2025 and nearly $3 trillion in 2040. The number of jobs could decline by 2.7 million in 2025 and by 31.6 million in 2040.

Separately, the Heritage Foundation estimated that household incomes will decline by more than $20,000 by 2035 and that household expenditures on electricity will rise between 13 percent and 20 percent. The impact on the climate, the Heritage Foundation’s analysis determined, would have been marginal.

The Climate Action Now Act may not be as blunt as the “Green New Deal,” but it’s still a radical notion because of the lost productivity and fewer jobs that would come as a result of meeting such an extreme reduction in carbon emissions for little to no real environmental benefit. The bill would require President Trump and his administration to develop a plan to meet the target reductions in carbon emissions and prohibit the use of funds from being used by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

With many countries that signed onto the Paris Agreement failing to meet their target reductions in carbon emissions, what House Democrats are trying to accomplish with the Climate Action Now Act is clear. It is a way for them to claim they’re doing something about climate change while avoiding the accountability that comes with cooking up the crazy schemes necessary to meet unrealistic targets, such as those outlined in the Green New Deal.

Jason Pye is the vice president of legislative affairs for FreedomWorks.

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