By Carol Rushton
In the past month, the Democrats have started competing against one another to see who can be the most radical, leftist in the Democrat Party. When one Democrat comes up with a proposal that leaves you scratching your head and thinking, “Surely it can’t become any kookier than this,” lo and behold, another Democrat pops up with an idea that is more bizarre than the last Democrat.
I know what you are thinking. “It can’t get any worse.” Let me lay your fears to rest. Yes, it can.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez along with her sidekick Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, well-known for his pushing the Climate Change agenda for years, made their announcement, proud that at least 60 Democrats had already signed on to their proposal. Right now all their proposals are just that: proposals wrapped up in a resolution. But Markey and Ocasio-Cortez endgame is that the resolution will eventually become individual laws that will completely restructure the United States of America as we know it.
Quartz.com gives a breakdown of just some of what these two Climate Change warriors want to accomplish in the United States during the next 10 years (you can read the entire 14-page proposal at https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=5729033-Green-New-Deal-FINAL). Below are just a few of the things that kooky Ocasio-Cortez and the Democrats want to do:
Use only wind and solar power for the entire energy of the United States, which would mean eliminating petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear power sources
Upgrade all buildings in the U.S. to match energy efficiency standards – Yes, even yours
Have Americans travel by bus or high-speed rail – which would mean taking cars away from almost all Americans
Included in the proposal is a guarantee of jobs, a living wage for all Americans, as well as healthcare, “affordable housing,” and food (https://qz.com/1545082/read-in-full-alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-green-new-deal-is-here/, accessed February 11, 2019).
If this last part sounds familiar, it should – it was part of the constitution of the USSR in 1936. That worked out well, didn’t it?
AOC (Ocasio-Cortez’s new acronym) and her Green Deal supporters claim this will create new jobs and revolutionize our country for the better. Most Americans don’t realize that one country has already tried the Green New Deal and it had disastrous results.
Spain embarked on an ambitious green energy program in 2007. Spain was going to show Europe and the world how to become a prosperous country by replacing petroleum and coal energy sources with “renewables.” Spain was so energetic and so committed to their new green energy program President Barack Obama cited them in 2009 as being a “worldwide leader” in alternative energy programs (American Enterprise Institute, February 15, 2011, Kenneth Green, “The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: the European Experience, http://www.aei.org/publication/the-myth-of-green-energy-jobs-the-european-experience/, accessed February 18, 2019).
Blueandgreentomorrow.com in “Has Spain Learned Its Renewable Energy Lesson?” published on February 3, 2017 gives some interesting details about what happened in Spain after their commitment to radically change their country the same way AOC and the Democrats want to radically change ours.
According to the article, Spain “had just opened [the] world’s first commercial solar thermal polar plant opened close to Saville. And on top of that, the government was offering generous subsidies, promising above market rates for green energy producers to help ensure that more people would invest in renewables. And invest they did – there was a huge development of both wind and solar farms.”
Sounds great! So how did this work out?
The problem was that this subsidy scheme was appallingly badly structured and Spain began to have an insurmountable deficit between the amount utilities companies were paying to green energy providers, and the amount those companies were getting from their customers.
Much of this was due to the fact that the costs were not passed on to customers, so as the cost of supply went up, the prices for the energy remained very low. At its peak in 2012, Spain lost 7.3 billion euros and has reached debts of 26 billion euros . . . 2.2 jobs were lost for every job that the green energy industry created. And each green job that was created is estimated to have cost Spanish taxpayers an eye-watering $770,000 (and only one in ten of those jobs were permanent).
(https://blueandgreentomorrow.com/features/spain-learned-renewable-energy-lesson/, accessed February 18, 2019).
The American Enterprise Institute not only confirms what happened in Spain but gives even more details about the country’s green deal disaster in Kenneth Green’s, “The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience” cited earlier in this article.
Since 2000, Spain spent 571,138 euros on each green job, including subsidies of more than 1 million euros per job in the wind industry.
The programs creating those jobs destroyed nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy.
The high cost of electricity mainly affects production costs and levels of employment in metallurgy, nonmetallic mining and food processing, and beverage and tobacco industries.
Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs elsewhere in the economy on average.
These costs do not reflect Spain’s particular approach but rather the nature of schemes to promote renewable energy sources.
Spain is not the only country to have their “green dream” go bust. Germany has also had a less than positive experience with their drive to go green. Howard Green’s, “Germany’s Green Energy Disaster: A Cautionary Tale For World Leaders” published by Forbes on March 14, 2013 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/03/14/germanys-green-energy-disaster-a-cautionary-tale-for-world-leaders/#982eff754e96, accessed February 18, 2019) gives another glimpse of what is in store for the United States if the Democrats have their way.
What makes this even worse is that Germany decided to shut down all their nuclear power plants after the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, expecting their green energy sector to make up the difference.
In 2000 Germany passed a major green initiative which forced providers to purchase renewable energy at exorbitant fixed prices and feed that power through their grids for a period of twenty years . . . Merkel has doubled down on Germany’s renewable energy push in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan – ramping up government’s plan to phase in renewables while taking the country’s nuclear power industry offline . . . The problem? Despite heavy government subsidization, renewable energies simply aren’t filling the void . . .
Merkel’s energy plan called for the addition of 25,000 megawatts of sea-based wind turbine power by 2030. However, through the first six months of 2012 only 45 megawatts had been added to Germany’s existing 200-megawatt supply . . . despite massive subsidies funded by a household energy surcharge (which currently comprises 14 percent of German power bills), major wind projects in the North Sea are being delayed or canceled due to skittish investors.
The basic problem? Wind farms are notoriously unreliable as a power source. Not only that, they take up vast amounts of space and kill tens of thousands of birds annually . . .
A typical 20-turbine wind farm occupies an area of 250 acres. So in order for Merkel to achieve her objective, she would have to cover an area six times the size of New York City with turbines.
The cost alone, not even considering the space it would take to build all these wind farms, in the words of the article, will be “astronomical.” In 2013, at the time this article was written, Germany’s environmental minister was quoted as saying, “The costs of our energy reform and restructuring of energy provision could amount to around one trillion euros by then end of the 2030s.”
Because Merkel is shutting down all their nuclear power plants and their green energy sources are not filling the void, Germany started to build coal plants to meet the country’s energy needs.”
Most of these facilities will burn lignite, too, which is strip-mined and emits nearly 30 percent more carbon dioxide than hard coal. In other words Germany is dirtying the planet in the name of clean energy – and sticking its citizens with an ever-escalating tab so it can subsidize an energy source which will never generate sufficient power. This is the cautionary tale of command energy economics – one other nations would be wise to heed.
The U.S. government also has flirted with the green revolution. During President Barack Obama’s tenure, our government poured millions of taxpayer dollars into “green” companies that failed. Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, SunPower, First Solar, Fisker Automotive, and SpectraWatt are just a few on the list of 34 companies that were supposed to create great new jobs for Americans but that bit the dust, leaving American taxpayers to repay the debt owed by these companies and our fiscally-irresponsible government.
Are we completely insane? Are we going to go down the same failed road as Spain and Germany, a road that has already failed in our country once, albeit on a limited scale? It is certainly telling that AOC and her colleagues have never mentioned the results that Spain, Germany, or any other country had from trying to “green” their economy.
What government created the car? The airplane? The telephone? Electricity? Microwave ovens? Dishwashers? Computers? Did the Soviet Union create all these wonders? How about Sweden? Venezuela? Libya? Iran? North Korea?
Today, we cannot imagine a world without cellphones or computers, washers and dryers, vacuum cleaners, and airplanes. All these modern innovations and more were created by individuals in a country that allowed them the freedom to pursue their own interests and take risks which in turn benefited others, not only in their own country, but the world.
Governments cannot create jobs. A government doesn’t produce goods or services; it is an ever-growing leviathan that consumes more and more of the citizens’ incomes. The larger it becomes, the more inefficient and burdensome it becomes until liberty is gone and the people are completely enslaved.
The Austrian economist Frederick von Hayek wrote in his great book, The Road to Serfdom, “The more the state ‘plans’ the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.” The Green New Deal has been proven to be a boondoggle and a disaster in Europe. It will be a disaster in the U.S. as well if AOC and the Democrats have their way.