Since his initial statements, Joe Biden’s climate policies have shifted much closer to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Where nuclear made up a crucial part of his initial proposal, it is absent from the Unity Agenda. The policy recommendations and executive actions in the Unity Agenda are also full of critical socia- justice language, a government takeover of industry, and regulating some industries out of existence.
The new plan also relies heavily on government investment, yet doesn’t adequately explain where the money will come from. This fact is not surprising since Ocasio-Cortez and most of the Democratic Socialists embrace Modern Monetary Theory. This economic theory says governments are not constrained by spending. They can just print more money.
Biden has also fully embraced the climate alarmism that is peddled by Ocasio-Cortez and the radical left. However, climate activist and author Michael Shellenberger rejects this kind of alarmism. His new book, Apocalypse Never, outlines what an effective climate policy package would entail. Shellenberger also takes apart some of the more outrageous claims from the movement.
Named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time in 2008, Shellenberger uses data and science to point out that climate change is not even the most pressing environmental problem. He also explains how the Green New Deal approach is counterproductive to the environment and the economy.
With excerpts from Shellenberger’s full-length interview with Reason, Nick Gillespie put together a video that perfectly outlines the problems with the social-justice climate approach. Gillespie also explains how the plan is meant to appeal to old special interests that Democrats have been losing, like organized labor at the rank-and-file level.
Joe Biden says that when he thinks about climate change, he thinks about good-paying union jobs. I imagine this will result in the same number of high-wage jobs as Barack Obama provided with his “shovel-ready” program to sell the stimulus. Almost none. In fact, the Obama administration used the measure of “jobs created or saved” in their jobs reports. The simple fact is that stimulus helped stop the hemorrhaging of existing jobs to a far greater extent than it created jobs.
The Trump administration has used no such cushion to explain the growth in jobs that America saw before the pandemic. The job growth since 2017 also benefitted working-class employees far more than any program under Barack Obama. Unemployment was so low it spurned wage growth across the economy. The formula was simple. Control immigration to decrease competition, remove regulations, and cut taxes.
Gillespie also points out that because of government spending during the pandemic, the national debt will exceed GDP by the end of 2020. Biden intends to spend $2 trillion on his climate program in addition to $6 trillion in other spending. In the current environment, these are outrageous sums of money that will hit the pockets of every American.
Shellenberger advocates for nuclear energy and fracking in his writing. He correctly points out that renewables, like solar and wind, are low-density energy sources not suitable for industrial societies and incapable of supporting cities. It’s simple physics, according to Shellenberger.
Two facts take down the climate alarmists. According to Shellenberg, deaths from natural disasters have decreased by 90% since the beginning of the 20th century. This trend is consistent around the globe, even in developing nations.
Additionally, carbon emissions have peaked in developed nations. They will continue to drop through increasingly efficient technologies. Developing countries will peak in the next 20 years. To focus climate policies solely on oil and gas, as Ocasio-Cortez does, has more to do with ideology than climate.
The author clearly explains the objection environmentalists have to nuclear energy by describing how it jeopardizes their goals:
The problem that nuclear poses to the Malthusians who want to control society and restrict growth and do all the things that we know the people that call themselves environmentalists want to do; it’s threatened by nuclear energy. Because then you have infinite energy, infinite fresh water, infinite fertilizer. That means you have infinite food. So nuclear eliminates resource scarcity.
It is tough to control people in an environment without resource scarcity. In examining the policies of the left, they depend on scarcity. Their entire pitch is to take from those who have more to give to those that have less. Now Biden’s climate policy will throw billions of dollars to maintain unnecessary resource scarcity.
Without it, his party has no pitch to make. Right now, they are asking Americans to exchange liberty to address resource security. The climate platform is really just a power grab disguised as environmentalism. And every single American will pay for it in higher energy costs, higher food costs, and less convenience.