Following the recent talk regarding the Green New Deal at the University of Massachusetts Boston, I have been thinking about the long-term ramifications of this piece of legislation. While I do believe in climate change and its impending ramifications, I also believe that the climate does not require direct government intervention. There are several issues I have with the Green New Deal. I will begin by addressing specific ramifications of the legislation and then address overall downfalls of the proposed bill.
Firstly, the unreasonableness of the bill begins in the ramifications seen by similar laws that push green technology. For example, in 2020, California will put in place a mandate that all new homes built must be fitted with solar panels. CNBC reports, “Recently, California became the first state in the nation to make solar mandatory for new houses. Beginning in 2020, newly constructed homes must have solar panels, which could be costly for homeowners: According to California’s Energy Commission (CEC), that mandate will add between $8,000 and $10,000 to the cost of a new home" (1).
This law, which may seem to lower the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, is pricing low-income families out of the housing market. For any low-income or middle-class family, owning a house can be a major asset that is useful and will always increase in value. By pricing low-income individuals out of the housing market, this law actually will do more to keep poor people poor, than improve the environment.
The second important thing to understand when addressing climate change is the necessity of a global coalition. The Environmental Protection Agency releases rates of CO2 emissions, by nation. As of 2014, the leading CO2-emitting nation was China with 30 percent, in second place was the United States with 15 percent, the European Union was third with 9 percent, and finally India was fourth with 7 percent. The remaining nations took up 39 percent (2). In order to combat climate change at any level, there must be global cooperation.
As liberals continue to push for absurd, over-ambitious, ultra-governmental, interventionist policy, I trust the American people to do what we must to combat climate change. While as Americans, we must continue to combat our changing environment, it is clear that Democrats always seem to find themselves on the wrong side of history. From slavery, Jim Crow and FDR’s New Deal, which are all moral failures in their own rights, Democrats’ policies never age well (that’s not to say that Republicans have always pushed moral and right policies). And it is not far-fetched to presume that this may be another power grab and attempt to seize control of the population.
While I am not questioning the validity of climate change and the role that humans played in influencing it, I am questioning the intentions of liberals who think that only government intervention can revert the process. I strongly believe that rather than instituting laws that force people to use energy-efficient and green products, the government should focus on creating a culture where we value such things and are not forced to do so. “Liberals” consider themselves pro-choice in matters of abortion and LGBTQ+ issues, so why can’t the same apply to consumption of energy?
I will make myself crystal clear: I do not doubt scientific research that proves that humans contributed to climate change, and that we must use renewable resources to revert the process. However, in cases involving economic policy, I am strongly in favor of limited government intervention. Not only is the Green New Deal full of socialist rhetoric (for example, guaranteed federal jobs, akin to Nazi policies. The BBC reports, “Hitler aimed for full employment and self-sufficiency for German people through a variety of methods.”), but these policies that completely go beyond government overreach in the government sector can be described in one word: fascist.