Weekly Columns

The Green New Deal didn’t quite receive the celebration its supporters were expecting when it was unveiled. Its release was greeted with a combination of bewilderment, amusement and confusion, which gave way to anger and disbelief the more that Americans learned about it.

The reason for this negative reaction is quite simple. Most Americans don’t like it when you suggest the government should have control over nearly every aspect of their lives. Yet that is exactly what the Green New Deal seeks to do under the pretense of ending climate change.

The authors of the Green New Deal and its accompanying memo suggest their plan is the cure for all of society’s ills. They cast themselves as saviors who will end global warming, income inequality and oppression in one fell swoop. 

What supporters can’t say is how they will implement this plan, what impact it will have on the average American and where they intend to find the trillions of dollars it will cost. 

These details are important when you are asking for support of a plan that is estimated to cost up to $93 trillion dollars and dramatically expand the federal government’s reach into the daily lives of every American.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that senators will have an opportunity to let Americans know where they stand on this poorly designed plan when he brings the Green New Deal up for a vote in the near future. It should easily be voted down. 

We have an obligation to cut emissions and move our energy consumption toward renewable sources. These are worthy goals that we must continue to work toward achieving. 

However, only a fraction of this unworkable plan deals with climate change and there is no conceivable way its energy mandates can be implemented. The Green New Deal dictates that the nation will rely 100 percent on renewable power within a decade. Experts say that is impossible to accomplish by 2050, much less within a constricted 10-year timeline.

The uncomfortable truth for Green New Deal proponents is that the U.S. is already leading the charge on carbon emissions reduction. We can continue to build on that progress, and encourage change within the international community, without mandating a government takeover of nearly every sector of our economy.

The way forward to solve our environmental challenges should be driven by positive incentives, research and development—not heavy-handed regulation.

As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have long advocated an all-of-the-above approach to energy security. This strategy includes wind, renewable biomass, hydroelectric and solar power. And it absolutely needs to include the expansion of nuclear power, which the Green New Deal mysteriously leaves out.

Policies that incentivize production and usage of renewable forms of energy are the way forward to responsibly balance our energy needs with our concerns for the environment. The Green New Deal—which makes undeliverable promises, proposes to dramatically drive up costs for every American and will lead to a staggering loss of jobs—is not. 

Single moms, seniors and people living on fixed incomes—the very people that supporters of the plan purport to help—will be the most negatively impacted by the Green New Deal. We can find ways –– including those outlined by myself and my colleagues that encourage innovative, private sector-driven solutions –to address climate change without a massive government takeover of our nation’s economy and culture.