America Has No Appetite for Radical 'Green Energy' Policies
Our nation has no appetite for radical green policies.
When the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brought the environmental policy resolution the “Green New Deal” authored by Senator Markey (D-MA) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to a vote, every Democrat voted “present” including the author. Going into the congressional record supporting green socialism is a lot harder than going on a talk show.
Since then, the Democrats have been fairly unwilling to author or introduce substantial green legislation despite the repeated cries of “existential threat” of climate change and humanity’s apocalyptic timeclock of “12 years to live.”
Then came COVID-19. And as Rahm Emanuel instructed: never let a crisis go to waste.
Many on the left are approaching the pandemic as an opportunity to advance their radical agendas. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) explicitly said that phase three coronavirus relief package was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Not surprisingly, much of that vision is green.
Curious that the Democrats wouldn’t just share this “vision” through the legislative process. Even more curious, or you could call is nefarious, is to sneak that vision into coronavirus relief bills.
Some of the non-coronavirus-related demands that Democrats made in the relief packages include increased fuel emission standards for airlines and the expansion of wind and solar tax credits. These last-minute demands ultimately delayed the phase-three relief package as Americans struggled in the immediate wake of Covid-19.
In response to the Democrats’ most recent $3 trillion relief bill, which already includes over $3 billion in environmental provisions, the eco-left group 350 Action released a list of policies that it would like to see in the stimulus legislation. This wish list includes investing in renewable energy, preventing the construction of fossil fuel products, and blocking fossil fuel companies from receiving stimulus funding altogether.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his agreement with this type of agenda in a New York Times editorial. He argued that the fights against Covid-19 and climate change should be combined into one “climate positive” plan. As a part of this plan, Guterres explains that “Fossil fuel subsidies must end and polluters must pay for their pollution.” Essentially, he believes that natural gas and oil companies should pay for all perceived costs allegedly caused by carbon emissions – effectively bankrupting these enterprises and then subsidizing those deemed as being better for the climate.
Earlier this month, I outlined an optimistic view of America’s future: the embrace of the energy industry fueling our response to a global pandemic. In our all-consuming effort to fight the spread of Covid-19, it seemed that much of America had put their manufactured crises aside. The usual calls for renewable energy had largely fallen silent, there were less unproven claims against the energy industry, and society seemed to have accepted the indisputable truth: we need fossil fuels.
That’s one take-away. Progressives have another.
Fossil fuels are essential to America’s economic and health recovery from Covid-19. To enact a plan like the Green New Deal, the eco-left’s champion policy to ban fossil fuels and immediately transition to renewable energy, entire industries would have to be destroyed. Specifically, more than 27 sectors of the economy would have to be replaced entirely or remade under this radical proposal. Americans and the U.S. economy need stability as we recover from Covid-19, not more uncertainty and lower-paying jobs.
The Democrats have tremendous opportunity to propose their green agenda. The Speaker of the House is the most powerful person in Congress. Surely Nancy Pelosi can use her platform and position to champion green legislation. There’s still a Presidential campaign underway. Surely Joe Biden can use his rallies and speeches to itemize all his green wish list. Yet they do what the U.S. Senate did on the “Green New Deal” vote: punt.
America has no appetite for an eco-left agenda. We need cheap energy and an industry that can kickstart the economy – something natural gas and oil proved to be capable of in 2009. Lawmakers need to look at solutions through a nonpartisan, practical lens with a finite and narrow determination. Protect workers. Help businesses. Keep the economy afloat. Using this pandemic to advance an agenda no one wants while doing nothing to help the economy is a twofer any politician should be ashamed to endorse.
Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @DanielTurnerPTF