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Mark Jacobson Green New Deal report
Credit: Mark Jacobson Solutions Project

Climate Change

Lies Republicans Tell Themselves — And You — About The Green New Deal

Republicans are preaching that addressing climate change will bankrupt America. They are lying.

The Republican party has allowed itself to be captured lock, stock, and barrel by the fossil fuel industry. While ordinary people struggle to pay their bills after being laid off because of the coronavirus, Republicans are putting together a $750 billion lifeline for oil and gas companies. There’s no money for day care, school lunches, or health insurance, but there is always money for Big Oil.

It used to be that corruption in government was a bad thing. President Eisenhower had to fire Sherman Adams, his chief of staff, after he accepted expensive gifts — a vicuña coat and an oriental rug — from Bernard Goldfine, a Boston textile manufacturer who was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Today, the corruption is right out in the open and the perpetrators dare anyone to say anything about it. Their contempt for the rule of law is on full public display and they are proud of it.

One of the things Republicans are best at is concocting a good cover story. In politics, it is called “talking points,” but in reality it is simply telling the same lie over and over and over again until it becomes perceived as the truth. After all, if every Republican member of the House and Senate is parroting it and if the talking heads at Faux News are bleating about it nonstop, it has to be true, right?

Democrats Hate Jobs

The coronavirus pandemic has knocked the stuffing out of the global economy. Businesses large and small are failing. Workers with no income are facing evictions. State and local governments that depend on sales tax revenue are in danger of going bankrupt. And it you think this is bad, the Republican spinmeisters say, just wait till you see the damage the Green New Deal will do! That was pretty much the headline for a recent article in the Washington Examiner, an extreme right wing publication.

According to the New York Times, Elizabeth Harrington, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill that Democrats “think a pandemic is the perfect opportunity to kill millions more jobs” with carbon-cutting plans. Yup, you got that right, Liz. Democrats are all about slashing employment so people won’t have to take time off from work to vote.

Recently, Mercedes Schlapp, a senior Tramp campaign adviser, told Fox Business that Joe Biden supports “rainbow and unicorn deals like the Green New Deal” that would raise energy prices and harm an already-ailing economy. These Republican nut jobs never explain why the nation’s largest utility companies are racing to build solar power plants and wind farms if their cost of producing electricity is so much higher. In what alternate universe do these people live? Do they ever spend two seconds asking themselves if the venomous words dripping from their lips are true?

Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies

All around the world, people are noticing the skies are clearer than they were before as a result of lower carbon emissions during the coronavirus shutdowns and they like what they see. The Republicans claim the only way to keep the skies clear is to destroy the economy. Horse puckey! Any number of climate advocates say the Green New Deal, the transition to renewable energy, and the EV revolution will create millions of well-paying employment opportunities in the US and around the world.

So what are Republicans scared of? Among other things, they worry their primary source of campaign contributions will dry up as the fossil fuel industry declines. They are more concerned with self preservation than doing their job, which is representing the best interest of the people they work for. Many years ago, Jack Kennedy wrote a book called Profiles In Courage, in which he lauded political leaders who made hard choices that benefited the country even when doing so went against their own self interest.

What we have today is a bunch of entitled whiners who think staying in power is more important than anything else, especially governing. If they wrote a book, it would be called Perspectives In Cowardice. The conundrum is that Republicans have taught themselves to loathe government. That compels them to become part of it so they can blow it up from inside, something the Cowardly Liar of Pennsylvania Avenue has done at every opportunity. Rather than lead, he lashes out at every target he can think of — China, WHO, Europe, NATO, Iran, and Nancy Pelosi being only the top items on a very long list. Sociopaths are never wrong and never feel the slightest concern for the suffering of others.

“The Republicans’ line of attack is going to be that the Democrats are trying to create a massive Green New Deal that’s going to create a lot of spending at a time when we just can’t afford that,” Ron Bonjean, a veteran Republican operative, tells the New York Times. He’s right in one sense. After the Republicans are done ladling out money to help their friends — like the $55 million that went to prop up two private aircraft companies, whose owners are big contributors to Republicans, and $1.5 trillion tax cuts for the the wealthy — there won’t be much money left over for other things like providing access to healthcare for all Americans, even those who can’t trace their roots back to northern Europe.

Mark Jacobson Has A Plan

Mark Jacobson of Stanford has published several treatises about how renewable energy can lower global carbon emissions and create millions of jobs. Here’s a synopsis of his findings:

Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the greatest problems facing humanity. To address these problems, we develop Green New Deal energy roadmaps for 143 countries. The roadmaps call for a 100% transition of all-purpose business-as-usual (BAU) energy to wind-water-solar (WWS) energy, efficiency, and storage by 2050 with at least 80% by 2030. Our studies on grid stability find that the countries, grouped into 24 regions, can match demand exactly from 2050 to 2052 with 100% WWS supply and storage. We also derive new cost metrics. Worldwide, WWS energy reduces end-use energy by 57.1%, aggregate private energy costs from $17.7 to $6.8 trillion/year (61%), and aggregate social (private plus health plus climate) costs from $76.1 to $6.8 trillion/year (91%) at a present value capital cost of ∼$73 trillion. WWS energy creates 28.6 million more long-term, full-time jobs than BAU energy and needs only ∼0.17% and ∼0.48% of land for new footprint and spacing, respectively. Thus, WWS requires less energy, costs less, and creates more jobs than does BAU.

Here are few things to note. One, he and his colleagues say the transition to zero carbon energy will be expensive, about $73 trillion. Wow! That’s a lot of money! Shouldn’t we run and tell the king? That’s what Republicans would do. But if you look at his plan as an investment, it more than pays for itself. Jacobson says fuel cost will decrease by about $10 trillion a year. Right there, his plan pays for itself in just a decade. But wait. There’s more. The indirect social costs from lower sea levels, less drought, better health outcomes for people, and the like will drop by nearly $70 trillion a year.

Hello? Is anyone listening? Doing nothing will cost many times more than doing something. And, Jacobson says, a clean energy revolution will add almost 30 million more jobs worldwide than continuing on with the business as usual model we have now. This is a no-brainer, people. If someone told you a $100,000 investment in your property would save you $10,000 a year forever, you would take that deal in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you?. So why aren’t people lining up to support Jacobson’s plan?

Because some very wealthy people and powerful corporations don’t like what it will do their bottom line. For this the world should suffer? And yet for reasons that are inexplicable, ordinary people with functioning brains insist on voting for people who wouldn’t pour water on them if they were on fire. Why is that?

The Business Of Telling Lies

It’s because Republicans, with an assist from Faux News, are very, very good at telling lies over and over again. They insist that any government policies that makes life better for ordinary people are socialism and socialism is what led Castro, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Josef Stalin, and other monsters to exterminate millions of their own citizens. I had a workman in my home recently who had fled Cuba in the 60s, and he told me explicitly that the Green New Deal would lead to the assassination of many Americans because that’s what happened in Cuba when Castro came to power.

Come on, America. You know better than to swallow this codswallop. If COVID-19 has taken a sledgehammer to the economy, climate change will take a wrecking ball to it. We could learn much from rereading The Three Little Pigs. We have built an economy of straw and it is going to get clobbered by climate change in the not too distant future.

We need to take intelligent steps to build a stronger, more resilient economy starting today. Let’s stop believing the nattering nabobs of negativism. America has always been strongest when it looks forward, not backward. Let’s stop looking in the mirror and plan for a stable, sustainable future instead.

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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