The Green New Deal Dress Rehearsal

Commentary, Climate, Paul Driessen

More than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 and 106,000 deaths in the United States alone have accompanied stay-home lockdowns, businesses bankruptcies, over 40 million unemployed workers, plummeting tax revenues and unprecedented debt. Ongoing rioting, vandalism, arson and looting are compounding problems for many cities and minority communities. 

But where many see disaster, others see opportunity. Some want to use the crises to enact laws and welfare programs they could never get otherwise. More ambitious activists see the lockdown as a blueprint or dress rehearsal for a total energy, economic, and lifestyle transformation to “save the planet.” If three months of COVID lockdowns can reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, they argue, permanent fossil fuel bans are possible, essential, and should be undertaken immediately.  

Five years ago, former UN official Christiana Figueres said the real goal of climate actions was to “intentionally transform the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years” – and replace it with socialist-environmentalist global governance. More recently, she said post-COVID economic stimulus packages should be used to “kick-start” investments “in low-carbon infrastructure projects that will create jobs and put the world on a safer, fairer, more resilient path.” Others want to use climate change as a pretext for dictating how global wealth and resources will be redistributed

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff is on the same page. The Green New Deal (GND) “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” he said in May 2019. It was “a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” Presidential candidate Joe Biden and other leading Democrats have endorsed the GND. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres believes “the pandemic could create an opportunity to rebuild the global economy along more sustainable lines.” His environment chief thinks Covid-19 presents “a chance to do capitalism differently.” The UN Green Climate Fund says it “offers an opportunity to direct finances towards bolstering climate action” and “re-launch[ing] economies on low-emission, climate-resilient trajectories,” to control climate, weather, and prevent massive extinctions. 

In short, echoing former Obama science advisor John Holdren, they want the United States and other modern societies to de-develop and de-industrialize, establish low-consumption lifestyles that ensure “more equitable distribution of wealth,” and tell poor countries how much “ecologically feasible” development they will be permitted to pursue. 

Perhaps most important, these “visionary” ruling elites will be in charge. They will define what is clean, green, renewable, sustainable, ecologically feasible, safer, fairer, and more resilient. They will demand less travel, trade and commerce – for the masses. They will live quite well while telling today’s oilfield and factory workers their industries must disappear and they must be content with minimum-wage jobs installing, maintaining, and dismantling wind turbines and solar panels made overseas. 

Fans and implementers of COVID-19 lockdowns have been oblivious to the economic, societal, and human devastation caused by the lockdowns: not just economic losses, depleted savings and ruined dreams, but millions of cases of depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence, obesity, stroke, heart attack, thousands of deaths from these causes, and suicide and murder attributable to the lockdowns. 

Add to that millions of future or still uncounted deaths and disabilities from missed biopsies, skipped cancer screenings, and chemotherapy, missed early treatments for stroke and heart-attack patients, and organ transplants simply not performed – because “non-essential” medicine was closed down, people lost their health insurance, or patients were afraid to go to clinics and emergency rooms. 

Many hospitals, clinics, and practices lost so much money that they may have to close their doors. The cumulative long-term impact from that on healthcare, life spans, and death tolls among obese, diabetic, elderly, and severely ill patients could be enormous. These human costs will take years to manifest themselves and be calculated. Indeed, the ultimate cost of the lockdown could be worse than the virus. 

We still do not have reliable data on COVID-19 infections, cases, and deaths – and don’t know whether deaths were due to the Coronavirus, or merely associated with the virus and primarily due to age or serious underlying health problems. We don’t even know how many vulnerable elderly people died from COVID-19 complications inflicted on them by decisions by New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other officials to force nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients and keep COVID-infected staff working in those facilities. 

All this is from lockdowns lasting several months. Suggestions that we “transform” our economy with expensive, unreliable, weather-dependent energy – and endure energy, employment, healthcare, and other deprivations in perpetuity – border on homicidal insanity. They would postpone or eliminate any economic recovery, result in unimaginable misery and death in now-developed countries – and condemn tens of millions of people in still impoverished nations to horrible suffering, disease, starvation, and death. 

As to saving the planet and ensuring “ecologically feasible” development, GND energy systems would be vastly more devastating to scenic areas, habitats, and wildlife – and to human health and welfare – than any likely effects from manmade portions of future climate changes or weather events. 

As Michael Moore’s new film, “Planet of the Humans,” dramatically demonstrates, wind, solar, battery, and biofuel technologies are the antithesis of clean, green, renewable, and sustainable. Even worse, the ecological devastation it documents is happening in a world that is still 81% dependent on oil, natural gas, and coal, 4% on nuclear and 7% on hydroelectric. The impacts and species losses would be orders of magnitude greater if we were 100% dependent on pseudo-renewable energy sources. 

Adopting UN-AOC energy prescriptions would require literally millions of 800-foot-tall wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of half-ton batteries, thousands of biofuel plantations and clear-cut forests, billions of battery-powered vehicles, and thousands of new and expanded mines to provide tens of billions of tons more metals and minerals. The ecological impacts would reach every corner of every continent. Hundreds of bird, bat, reptile, and mammalian species would disappear. Household, hospital, school, business, and factory electricity costs would skyrocket. Jobs and industries would vanish. 

Those prescriptions would also make the United States enormously dependent on China, not just for medical devices and pharmaceutical components – but for metals, raw materials, and component parts needed in wind turbines, solar panels, backup power batteries, and defence, aerospace, and high-technology applications. And all that mining and manufacturing, in Asia and other distant lands, would require fossil fuels, at levels far beyond anything seen in history, under minimal to nonexistent pollution, workplace safety and human rights laws, accompanied by prodigious emissions of carbon dioxide. 

Fans and implementers of GND transformations are willfully oblivious of these realities. They refuse to discuss them or allow others to discuss them – because to do so would destroy their phoney “saving the planet” narrative and quest for total control over our lives, livelihoods, living standards, and liberties. 

No wonder the UN-AOC-environmentalist crowd went ballistic over Moore’s film. YouTube yanked the movie from its viewing platform, and “mainstream” media, social media, search engines and information sites are now engaging in blatant censorship on climate, energy, and environmental issues. 

An increasingly activist, liberal media complex also wants to dictate and control what people see, hear, say, and think on race relations, medicine, and virtually every other political topic. From the NY Times and Washington Post, to Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia, platforms that should be forums for robust debate instead are used to dictate what is true or false, permissible, or banned. 

US, EU, and UN green new deals are just one component of the battle for our future. Coronavirus lockdowns should serve as a bitter taste of what could come – not as a dress rehearsal or blueprint for it.  

 

Paul Driessen is a senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues.