Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., addresses the Road to the Green New Deal Tour final event at Howard University in Washington, Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Despite a barrage of talking points from talking heads that the Green New Deal (GND) is the silver bullet to prevent environmental degradation, it turns out the exact opposite is true.
According to a new Heartland Institute Policy Brief, “Protecting the Environment from the Green New Deal,” by Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, “too little attention has been paid to the fact GND policies would seriously harm the environment—including lands, wildlife habitats, and threatened and endangered species—and thus would undermine the very values environmentalists have espoused for decades.”
While politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) promote the GND as the solution to their apocalyptic environmental predictions, the evidence actually demonstrates that the GND itself would cause widespread environmental damage.
For instance, “Manufacturing solar panels requires many materials that are highly toxic. Furthermore, the steel, concrete, rare earth minerals, and other materials necessary to build enough wind turbines to power the nation would require mining and production on a scale most environmentalists strongly oppose.”
Needless to say, the GND would require the production of untold numbers of wind turbines and solar panels. To date, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders, along with all other GND advocates, have been silent on the disastrous environmental effects that the mammoth production of these wind turbines and solar panels would create.
As if that is not reason enough to question the veracity of the GND, consider the following, also from Driessen: “Environmental groups have long been concerned with onshore wind turbines killing bats and birds, including many protected and endangered species. These animals fly into wind farms’ giant blades, which can rotate at more than 200 miles per hour, with estimates of deaths ranging in the millions. They also note these birds and bats eat insects that would otherwise ravage crops and harm humans. The sheer number of turbines required by the GND would kill millions more birds and bats, putting its advocates in direct conflict with other environmentalists.”
In other words, the astonishing number of wind turbines necessitated by the GND would kill birds and bats at a rate that is absolutely mind-boggling. The consequences that this would wreak upon the animal kingdom and its toll on crops that we depend on for food and other essential undertakings would be catastrophic.
Even worse, to meet the incredible demand for wind turbines under the GND, we would likely need to build thousands of offshore wind turbines. As Driessen notes, “Such turbines not only negatively impact birds and bats, they also harm sea life. To provide enough power for the country, GND advocates would have to build tens of thousands of these turbines, which are routinely opposed by environmentalists and create significant impacts on shipping and radar.”
I thought environmentalists were super concerned about maintaining pristine waterways? Apparently not.
Aside from inefficient wind turbines, the GND would additionally necessitate a monumental expansion of solar panels to meet America’s massive energy demands. Unfortunately, present technology (or the lack thereof) makes this completely impractical.
According to Driessen, “Solar panel farms generate only 1.5 percent of the nation’s electricity and would be an inefficient way to generate the more than eight billion Megawatt hours (MWhrs) of power currently provided by fossil fuels and nuclear for industrial, commercial, and residential uses, as well as automotive transportation.”
Put another way, it is a total farce when GND zealots claim solar (and wind) power can meet the giant energy demands needed to keep the American economy running effectively.
As Driessen points out throughout his study (in exquisite detail), the Green New Deal is an unrealistic dream concocted by out-of-touch environmental zealots—and worst of all, it wouldn’t even help the planet.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is an editor and research fellow at The Heartland Institute.