Budget Digest: Solutions For Addressing Climate Change

The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing this week on the economic and budgetary effects of climate change, where Members will examine specific policy proposals, including the Green New Deal (GND) – a leading proposal among House Democrats that would impact every sector of the American economy.

­Environmental Policies In The GND. The GND would completely upend how Americans heat and cool their homes, commute to work, and travel across the country or abroad by fully transitioning away from fossil fuels and nuclear power, which today account for more than 80 percent of our nation’s power supply. Specifically, the proposal would establish complete renewable electricity generation and mandate zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2030. It would also make air travel “unnecessary” by building a cross-country high-speed rail. And it would require rebuilding or retrofitting all residential, commercial, and government buildings to be more energy efficient. These policy changes would increase electricity costs for families, “cause immediate harm to millions of [workers] and their families,”[1] add more than $12 trillion to the nation’s debt,[2] and “do nothing to arrest greenhouse-gas emissions.”[3]

Social & Economic Policies In The GND. Billed as a proposal to address climate change, in actuality, the GND focuses primarily on unrelated and prohibitively expensive government-run programs. The GND creates a program that promises “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work,” guaranteeing union jobs with high wages, family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all Americans.[4] The GND would also impose a single-payer, one-size-fits-all health care system, outlawing Americans’ existing coverage, eliminating choices, and diminishing access to quality care. Taken together, these two policies make up approximately 85 percent of the GND and would cost taxpayers more than $80 trillion.[5]

Free-Market Solutions To Protect The Environment, The Economy, & Affordable Energy. Supporters promote the GND as “a massive transformation of our society”; it is clearly not the way to address climate change.[6] Instead, Congress should be focused on innovative, market-based solutions that make clean energy more affordable, accessible, and reliable, create jobs, and grow the economy without adding trillions of dollars to our nation’s debt. That’s why Republicans continue to promote policies that will have a meaningful effect on reducing emissions, such as investing in carbon capture, renewable hydropower, safe nuclear power, and energy storage, in addition to policies that encourage research and investment in these renewable sources. In doing so, America will continue to lead other countries in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and investing in emerging clean energy markets without disrupting the lives of workers and families across the country.[7]

[1] https://www.eenews.net/assets/2019/03/12/document_gw_05.pdf

[2] https://www.americanactionforum.org/daily-dish/an-initial-analysis-of-the-green-new-deal/

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/want-a-green-new-deal-heres-a-better-one/2019/02/24/2d7e491c-36d2-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.66e9f6c4b077

[4] https://www.heartland.org/_template-assets/documents/Green-New-Deal-FAQ-Fact-Sheet-Feb-7-2019.pdf

[5] https://www.americanactionforum.org/daily-dish/an-initial-analysis-of-the-green-new-deal/

[6] https://www.heartland.org/_template-assets/documents/Green-New-Deal-FAQ-Fact-Sheet-Feb-7-2019.pdf

[7] https://www.eesi.org/articles/view/u.s.-leads-in-greenhouse-gas-reductions-but-some-states-are-falling-behind

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