Sanders has just unveiled his ambitious version of the “Green New Deal” on climate change. The NYT describes it as “the most expensive proposal from the field of Democratic presidential candidates.” How expensive? It comes in at a staggering 16 trillion dollars, calling for the elimination of fossil fuel use in the U.S. by 2050.
Look, I believe in climate change, in global warming. I am not anti-science and I respect the consensus of scientists who agree global warming is a threat to the entire planet. I am not sure about the cause of global warming, which most scientists believe is due to human activity, but I don’t deny it is happening.
The culprits according to this narrative? Deforestation, and “the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas,” all of which create a Green House effect that traps heat in the atmosphere that warms the oceans, changes weather patterns, and causes seal level rise. Living in South Florida most of my life has made me a believer in the effects and reality of global warming.
The problem I have with Sanders’ proposal (and all the other Democratic proposals) is not that I don’t believe we must do something, or that we humans contribute to in global warming. My problem is that Sanders and company want the United States—responsible for 14% of CO2 emissions—to do all of it by itself, regardless of whether other nations like China (27%) and India (7%) do anything at all. With the pen these nations commit to global accords, but in practice they do not abide by any of the agreements they sign.
I mean, 2050 is just around the corner, and proposals like Sanders’ do not consider the consequences about such ambitious projects will have on our economy and our nation’s security. The Chinese and the Indians surely have, and that is why they continue to burn fossil fuels to drive their industrial growth.
I am tired of the left berating America, holding us to a much higher standard, while giving these other nations a pass. We must not go at it along to satisfy some idealistic death-wish that would spell the end of the U.S. as we know it. I say, until we see a levelled playing field, and these other countries doing their part, the U.S. should not commit to any Quixotic plan like Sanders’.
Let’s do what we can incrementally, and we have! CO2 emissions have been actually reduced in the U.S. in the last few years, although reports say they are on the rise again. Let’s continue to buy electric cars and invest in energy-efficient public transportation, which will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Let’s plead with Brazil to put out the raging fires destroying the Amazon rain forests, and protect it from further deforestation. Let’s work bilaterally on verifiable concrete steps to reduce CO2 emissions with China and India.
To go at it alone all at once, like Sanders and the left wants us to do, is to play into our enemies’ hands and weaken us in ways that would put us at a distinct disadvantage on the global stage.