This week the Competitive Enterprise Institute released a new study by CEI President Kent Lassman and Power the Future Executive Director Daniel Turner on the costs of the Green New Deal (GND), a congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). The co-authors find that implementing the GND provisions, including a rapid de-carbonization of the U.S. economy, would prove dizzingly expensive:
At a minimum, the GND would impose large and recurring costs on American households. We conclude that in four of the five states analyzed—Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania—the GND would cost a typical household more than $70,000 in the first year of implementation, approximately $45,000 for each of the next four years, and more than $37,000 each year thereafter. In Alaska, estimated costs are much higher: more than $100,000 in year one, $73,000 in the subsequent four years, and more than $67,000 each year thereafter.
While that should be more than enough to give members of Congress pause when considering its provisions, there are also substantial reasons to be skeptical of the feasability of the GND’s renewable energy goals at any cost. Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Mark Mills wrote a study of his own earlier this year examining the structural and physical (not just political and economic) barriers to transitioning to an ecnomy with no fossil fuels or nuclear power, as the Green New Deal requires. His verdict, in The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking, is not optimistic. In addition to the paper, Mills is also featured in the Manhattan Institute video below, hosted by veretan news broadcaster John Stossel, on “The Green New Deal’s Bad Science.”
The interview subjects in the video emphasize that while solar and wind face significant limitations, nuclear power stands ready to provide reliable, affordable, and scalable energy. More importantly for fans of the Green New Deal, nuclear also produces those advantages while not emitting greenhouse gases. Many prominent environmentalists in recent years have pointed to nuclear as the best way out of a carbon-intensive energy sector, including the president of the organization Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenberger. In the video below, filmed at TEDx Berlin in 2017, Shellenberger makes the case for why nuclear—not wind, solar, geothermal, or any other renewable option—is the only realistic solution for people worried about rising carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.
If that isn’t enough to make you set the Green New Deal aside, it turns out that even existing environmental regulation could stand in the way of its goals. CEI Research Associate Samuel Rutzick points out that required enviornmental impact assessements on new infrastructure projects could keep the green energy infrastructure envisioned by sponsors mired in government red tape for years.