Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Economy • Energy • Environment • Post • Technology

The Democratic Washing Machine

Hang onto your legacy appliances. Call your appliance repairman. Maintain what you’ve got, because you surely will miss it when it’s gone.

What on earth is a Democratic washing machine? Is it a metaphor? Is it to say the Democrats and their social justice cadres are washing away our history and traditions and culture? Is it conjuring the image of Democrat machine politics, selectively laundering corruption into barely legal schemes, backed by avaricious billionaires? Maybe it’s the Democratic media, brainwashing America’s gullible half?

No. Nothing so grand. The Democratic washing machine is just that: a washing machine. The sort of washing machine you will find on the display floors of retailers throughout California, coming soon to the rest of the nation. An over-engineered monstrosity, inflicting inconvenience and expense into something that, for earlier generations, had become easy and cheap.

The Democratic washing machine is so named because it was Democrats who decided to ruin a durable product in a mature industry. In the name of saving electricity and saving water, they couldn’t save just a little electricity and a little water. No, they had to force manufacturers to create a product that used almost no water. And to save electricity, they turned the control panel on the washing machine into something resembling the bridge of a starship, with so many options you have to study a detailed manual even to figure out how to turn on the device. Do you want to delay its start cycle in order to wait for a low-electricity price today? Select Option 7 from Menu 3, unless it’s after 6 p.m., in which case select blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah . . .

Who came up with this crap? A Democratic washing machine in its default setting can take over an hour to do a single wash cycle, assuming you successfully have overridden its programmed default to connect to the internet and check the spot price of electricity before starting.

The Democratic washing machine is front-loading instead of top-loading, because that will save a few gallons of water, but your clothes flop around inside a drum that’s on a horizontal axis. Clothes get damaged and they don’t get very clean, and you have to get onto your knees on the floor to load and unload them, but hey, if you do this, the ice caps won’t melt, right?

Some especially over-engineered Democratic washing machines, presumably taking their inspiration from the military’s V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, are top-loading, and then once the lid is shut the drum rotates 90 degrees to establish that water sipping horizontal axis. Flop, flop, flop. But unlike a V-22 Osprey, the Democratic washing machine—although absurdly expensive—is not engineered to military specifications. Things break regularly. Better buy a warranty.

Did someone say “warranty”? How quaint. We’re not supposed to purchase washing machines anymore. Instead, manufacturers think we should “subscribe” to our washing machines. This way, as the greenie/techie axis comes up with ever more “innovations,” the lucky consumer can install the new module, or receive an entirely new unit. Sometimes upgrades can be remotely downloaded onto the platform (oops, “washing machine”) because we all know that washing machines need to be filled with chipsets and firmware and connected to the internet!

What is this madness? Since when was it in the interest of consumers to use washing machines that are confusing to operate, difficult to load and unload, do a poor job washing clothes, damage fabrics, break down every few months, can’t really be repaired at home by “owners,” and inflict lifetime costs many times what legacy machines cost?

Blame the Democrats.

Yes, there is a Republican washing machine. Do you remember those television commercials with the Maytag repairman, sitting at an empty workbench in his shop, surrounded by shelves filled with unneeded spare parts, bored out of his wits? That was a rare example of honesty in advertising. Because in response to foreign competition, but before the Democrat coalition of greenies and techies got out of control, washing machines were built to last. Not for three years, or even 10 years, but for 30 years or more.

The Republican washing machine takes 20 minutes to do a wash cycle instead of 60 minutes, it starts when you push the “start” button, and it doesn’t take several seconds to “boot” its software systems because it doesn’t have any software systems. Its lid is on the top so you don’t have to be a contortionist to load and unload it, it does a good job washing clothes, it doesn’t cost much, and it lasts pretty much forever.

Why? Because Republicans don’t try to micromanage our lives for the most part. Because Republicans don’t have the audacity to hide behind trial lawyers working for big environmentalist nonprofits and grasping high-tech “entrepreneurs” who want to force people to buy their components so they can get even richer.

The Democratic washing machine may or may not be a metaphor for liberal attempts to erase and rewrite our history, or for crooked machine politicians, or for the brainwashing media, but it is nonetheless a metaphor. It represents every overwrought, “wired,” overcomplicated product that’s being crammed down our throats. Ostensibly the point is to save the planet, but really it’s just to pad corporate profits with the support of Democratic politicians.

It has its counterparts everywhere.

Faucets that you have to wave your hands in front of to turn them on, which (maybe) will issue eight thin, 1-millimeter-diameter jets of water that can’t possibly rinse away soap, and will stop after a few seconds before you have to start waving your hands in front of them again.

Light switches that look like a cell phone menu instead of a simple mechanical on/off switch, that once you’ve figured out how to turn them on, they turn off automatically after a few minutes unless you find the right option to disable that feature. Yes. These types of light switches are now required by law in new construction in counties throughout California.

And of course never forget that the Democratic washing machine is not only “washing” your clothes, it’s watching you. Collecting data designed to “help” you live a more productive and earth-friendly life. Expect a smart and observant Democratic toilet in the near future.

Never mind that all indoor water used is by definition impossible to waste, since it flows to a treatment plant where it is either discharged right back to a river ecosystem or aquifer, or it is further treated and pumped right back uphill. What an inconvenient truth!

The sad fact is we could build appliances today that use the latest innovations to cut back on water and energy consumption without having to go to extremes, that are easy to use, that last even longer than the legacy products, and cost less. But we choose not to.

Blame the Democrats.

It’s time to push back, hard, against products that put consumers through these absurdities. Meanwhile, hang onto your legacy appliances. Call your appliance repairman. Maintain what you’ve got, because you surely will miss it when it’s gone.

America • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Energy • Environment • Post

Street Smarts in the White House

President Trump went to an Ivy League school, but he came out still talking like a New Yorker, with his street smarts intact. What does it mean to have street smarts? It’s knowledge of how to spot trouble coming, how to cope with mean bastards, and thrive. It is knowledge gained from gritty life, which gives you “a bank of courage to depend on when you are tested.” Your knowledge is based in your life experience, not conventional wisdom or academic notions, so it is actually real.

Street smarts combines common sense, self-preservation, and assertiveness. Think President Trump.

The person with street smarts has a great bullshit detector. You know how to deal with bullies and cheats, whether they be elite media or political opponents. As Willie Dixon put it, “You can’t mess with the messer, the messer’s gonna mess with you.”

Trump’s success dominating his dirty-dealing opponents has amazed and dumbfounded Democrats and the old GOP alike. They don’t understand his strengths. Like a martial arts master, Trump doesn’t absorb his enemies’ attacks. He transforms their assaults into his own energy to win.

President Trump’s street smarts go way beyond dealing with enemies. It is the key to how he carved his own successful path in life, and in the White House. The key to street smarts is noticing life as it is and dealing with it. In high falutin’ psychology terms, it is reality testing, the highest order of brain functioning.

Reality testing is essential to good judgment and effectiveness in life. It means dealing with the world as it is, not as you want it to be, nor as you fear it to be. No socialism, no global warming, no free lunch.

Good judgment requires facing things as they are. Democrats lack it almost entirely. President Trump has it in excess. Reality testing is a rare gift. It is called common sense, but it is not common.

This is why President Trump has managed to accomplish so much that was deemed impossible in the two difficult areas of the economy and foreign affairs. He pays no attention to the received truths of other people. He looks simply and without equivocation at what’s in front of him. Like any builder, President Trump has his two feet solidly on the ground at all times.

It has been a delight to conservatives to discover that President Trump is against suffocating government not because of ideology, but as a practical man. A bloated government sucking up the wealth of the country and churning out stultifying regulations is not a force for good. It is not good for the economy or opportunity or fairness or freedom. So, he’s done more to deregulate than any president before him.

Common sense without courage gets you nowhere. President Trump also has uncommon courage. He loves to be loved, but if you are in the opponents’ camp, he doesn’t give a damn about what you think of him. His big ego, for which he gets so much flak, enables him to focus on his goal, laughing at the screaming and hysteria around him. They just make it more fun and satisfying to win.

Consider: what did it take for President Trump to turn America into an energy superpower in two short years? The simplicity of accepting reality: we need energy, we have energy, energy development is good. Demonizing fossil fuels is nonsense. So, President Trump had the smarts and the guts to set a reality-based goal of a booming energy sector.

This one policy is crucial to America’s self-interest, to our economy, and to our national security. It took courage to ignore decades of stupid energy policies enacted by play-it-safe, conformist Republicans and Democrats corrupted by green energy boondoggles.

Courage, common sense, love of country.

Kim Jong Un is nearing nuclear weapons and threatening Japan and our West Coast? North Korea is a real threat, which means it has to be dealt with, not just going through conventional and useless diplomatic motions. Trump understands punk psychology. Give Kim Jong Un the respect and security he craves, while punishing his bad behavior until it is untenable. The handshake across the DMZ was brilliant diplomatic theater, but very real progress.

President Trump’s successes in stabilizing the Middle East show the same character traits of common sense, courage, and coping with bullies. Funding terrorism had to stop. Allowing ISIS to grow had to stop. Encouraging Iran to develop nuclear weapons had to stop. It’s basic reality testing, backed by the guts to follow-up with the necessary actions.

Trump’s iconoclasm went far beyond reversing Obama, although that was the first gutsy step. It was a no-brainer to reverse Obama’s phony war against ISIS, in which the rules of engagement rendered our forces vulnerable and impotent. It was a Trump no-brainer to reverse Obama’s anti-American, pro-Iran policies.

Trump broke with decades of bipartisan consensus. He stopped kowtowing to the oil sheikhs and their toadies in the European Union. Previous presidents, Democrat and Republican, turned a blind eye to the Saudi financing of terrorism. They humiliated America by pandering to Arab anti-Semitism and anti-Israel aggression. That was their idea of an energy policy.

President Trump knows you can’t survive on the streets and be intimidated by bullies. And he’s too proud of America to cringe before threats. He has the reality testing to realize that cringing brings attacks, not safety. He stands his ground.

He easily faced down the alarmist warnings the Middle East would explode like a powder keg if he kept his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, where it clearly belongs. The embassy moved, world leaders fell in line, powder keg fizzled, and the Palestinians were forced to live in the real world. Another notch on President Trump’s belt. And the world is safer for it.

President Obama, the unhappy Marxist prep school kid, stayed in his comfort zone of preachy rhetoric, not reality. Obama spoke about national unity, while pushing identity politics, the war on cops, racial animosity, demographics is destiny, and all his underhanded ways of dividing the country. For eight years, Obama did nothing on the economy, ISIS, China, Korea and Russian expansionism. He didn’t do a thing for the black community except sabotage their police protection and incite racial division.

Trump is the polar opposite of Obama. Trump the builder is all about getting things done. He has delivered the best job numbers in history for the very minorities Democrats claim to champion.

Trump has the confidence, energy, and aggression to take on every challenge and move toward victory. Democrats don’t even believe in victory.

President Trump earns his bragging rights. If he then enjoys bragging with gusto, so what? His supporters share his happiness in all he has accomplished for them as individuals, and for the country. They are richer, freer, and more secure because of his capable leadership, and they are grateful, even giddy.

Democrats think they can smear, bribe, bully and cheat their way to the White House. Their voters like the hate, the bull, and the promises of free stuff, and they did very well with those weapons in the midterms. But nothing the Democrats warn about or promise is real. In 2020, they will be coming up directly against President Trump, a master of reality. Reality is a stronger hand.

Photo Credit: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

Climate Crusaders Poised to Claim Oregon

The best that may be said of the drama playing out in Oregon this week is that it exemplifies the vast and growing distance between Left and Right in America today.

To see it in its worst (and, perhaps, clearest) light, however, it exemplifies the relentless onslaught of corporate leftist tyranny, in all things, and everywhere at once. It also illustrates the rising fury of an abused population slowly awakening. In Oregon’s case, a handful of Republican state senators are fighting an uphill battle to protect the people they represent from yet another attack by the climate crusaders.

Although the Left Coast of America may be deep blue, the disenfranchised interior parts of those states are an equally deep red.  Almost invariably, to drive east from Seattle, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles, is to drive into a GOP-controlled hinterland. A political map depicting Oregon’s 2018 gubernatorial election makes this plain—the entire eastern two-thirds of the state is Republican, along with the entire south coast and rural stretches of the north coast. The Democratic political machines in Portland, Salem, and a handful of college towns deliver enough votes to control the state, effectively denying a voice to everyone else.

Democrats in Oregon hold what Ballotpedia and others refer to in state politics as a “trifecta”: control of the lower house, the upper house, and the governor’s mansion. But in the Oregon State Senate, the Democrats are still one seat short of being able to form a quorum to pass legislation without Republican participation, and last week the Republicans rebelled.

At issue is House Bill 2020, which would establish a “Climate Policy Office” to bring cap and trade to Oregon. The measure had cleared the House and after a floor debate, was poised to pass in the Senate, after which Oregon’s Democratic governor would have signed it into law. But the Republicans had one option left, and they used it. All 11 Republicans are at an “undisclosed location.” Some reports say they’ve gone to Idaho.

In response, Governor Kate Brown threatened to send state police to round up the absent legislators. Reacting to the governor’s threat, State Senator Brian Boquist, a former special forces lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, stated in a local television interview that “the governor better send Oregon state troopers who are ‘bachelors’ and ‘heavily armed.’” Boquist later said he would “refuse at all costs to be arrested as a political prisoner in Oregon, period.”

It’s important to recognize that these confrontations could easily move beyond rhetoric. Kate Brown is a dangerous puppet. Shown on the CNN website flanked (of course) by children wearing t-shirts that say, “I will be 25 when my climate fate is sealed,” Brown probably has no idea that she is a tool of the most anti-American, fascist gang of profiteers and power-mongers in modern American history.

The New Road to Serfdom
The climate propagandists have succeeded in brainwashing a generation of K-12 children, who now parrot apocalyptic sound bites with the same fervor that motivated China’s Red Guards back in the 1960s. Instead of Mao Tse-tung, we’ve got Al Gore, and instead of the transparent oppression of Orwell’s 1984, we have the softer fascism, the Soma-induced stupor of Huxley’s Brave New World. That makes sense. Because the entire “climate” movement is being marketed expertly by multinational corporations that stand to profit handsomely from green hysteria. Behind the sincere fanatics and befuddled children, serious, powerful people are setting themselves up to make trillions in profits, obliterate all competition, turn nations into fiefdoms, and rule the world.

When you examine the “solutions” demanded by the climate change crowd, there isn’t another logical explanation. It is impossible to replace fossil fuels with renewables, and every rational observer knows this. It is also ridiculous to expect other nations, most notably China and India, to follow America’s lead and even make the attempt, and every rational observer knows this as well. Finally, the solutions themselves are unlikely even to reduce CO2 emissions—consider the embodied energy in wind turbines and batteries, consider the ecological disaster of biofuel, consider the necessity of backup plants running on fossil fuel to compensate for darkness or lack of wind.

Moreover, if the climate crusaders are serious, why are they shutting down nuclear power plants instead of building new ones? Why are they tearing out hydroelectric dams? Why aren’t they demanding more research into commercializing fusion energy?

Yet “climate change” is the moral axe that cuts through every objection. If someone helpfully tries to point out the stupefying expense climate legislation inevitably imposes on ordinary working families, they’re called “denier” and silenced. They can lose their jobs, their reputations, their research funds, even their friends.

The “denier” epithet is leveled on people merely for pointing out the impracticality of “climate change” mitigation, even if they refrain from reminding us that CO2’s alleged harm is still a theory, not a fact.

Foreseeable Consequences
Thanks to earlier state legislation pushed by the climate crusaders, Oregon is already beginning to experience unaffordable housing because most new development must now take place within the footprint of existing cities.

An in-depth study by Oregon’s Cascade Policy Institute patiently ticks through the futility of these policies in a spacious, nearly empty state. But supposedly if you have uncongested roads and people don’t live on top of each other like rats, there’s more “greenhouse gas.”

Hardly anyone dares question this nonsense. Instead, people buy homes they can barely afford and become mortgage slaves. And for those who don’t work or don’t make enough to pay that mortgage, the government increases taxes so they can subsidize construction of “affordable housing.”

This is a perverse, oppressive, profiteering scam. To make housing affordable, simply permit builders to expand the urban footprint of cities. But in Oregon, the scammers were just getting started. It wasn’t enough to ruin the housing market so wealthy real estate investors could get wealthier, so government agencies could collect more property tax, and so major land developers could make more profit selling overpriced homes.

Now the climate crusaders want to create a huge new state bureaucracy that will team up with Wall Street bookies to skim a few dollars off of every unit of conventional energy that’s ever bought or sold. It’s called carbon emission trading.

Cap-and-Trade Scheming
It’s hard to imagine a bigger scam than carbon emissions trading. The scheme relies on incredibly subjective “carbon accounting” whereby every business has to assess how much CO2 they emit each year. The bureaucrats at the “Climate Policy Office” come up with a baseline allocation for each business, which documents how much CO2 they emit in the first year. Then, systematically, these businesses either have to emit less CO2 each year, or to purchase CO2 emissions permits that make up the difference.

People who plant trees, or in some way come up with projects that supposedly reduce CO2 emissions, are permitted to sell “carbon credits” to the companies over-emitting. Are you confused yet? They’re counting on that. And through it all, the bureaucrats get their salaries, and the trading bookies on Wall Street get their commissions. Trillions are on the table.

It’s worth noting, as an aside, that the policy of “emissions trading” often seduces libertarians, especially since it is a new profit center for their donors. Libertarians view emissions trading as preferable to a simple tax on gas and oil. But when you’re infatuated with your own mind, byzantine schemes to rob the public are always more seductive than simple theft. And after all, “market forces” are harnessed. Thanks so much.

Libertarians, when it comes to borders, trade, online censorship, getting Republicans elected, and now climate change, are always there when you need them to make things worse.

Meanwhile, as ordinary Americans work like dogs to pay mortgages on overpriced homes that sit on lots with yards too small to grow a tree or set up a trampoline, and spend twice as much for gasoline and electricity, and as American manufacturers relocate because of energy costs, the Chinese prepare to take over the world.

Has America’s corporate Left not thought this far ahead? Perhaps we’ll fight the next war with battery operated tanks and planes.

The solutions being proposed for “climate change” are so obviously unworkable and so obviously repressive that it is terrifying that more people cannot see it. Oregon’s Republican Senators should not back down. Not this time. Not ever.

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Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Energy • Environment • Post

Biden’s Climate Plan Requires a Savvy Response

Front running 2020 presidential contender Joe Biden has just released his climate “plan,” claiming that with a $1.7 trillion federal investment, U.S. carbon emissions will reach zero within 30 years.

You can say this for Biden—the canny old campaigner isn’t highlighting his climate plan as a cure-all for social injustice.

Unlike the “Green New Deal,” Biden leaves out of his blueprint a federal job guarantee, universal healthcare, and housing. And while he includes the obligatory obeisance to inclusion, diversity, equity, indigenous peoples, vulnerable communities, people of color, and every other paint-by-number platitude, those aren’t his main focus.

Nope, Joe is marketing the lunch box issues. Union jobs. Infrastructure. Energy leadership. Exports. Industries of the future.

Moreover, Biden’s plan, unlike the Green New Deal, does not read like a college term paper. But if you’re a climate skeptic, or if you’re skeptical that bigger government is the answer, this plan should have you worried. Because it comes very close to offering a consensus plan that even some of Trump’s swing voters might support: which is to fund technology initiatives and infrastructure projects that should be funded anyway, regardless of whether or not rising levels of atmospheric CO2 are a threat to our existence.

How Biden’s plan comes across depends on who is reading it. This ambiguity (likely intentional) permeates the document.

For example, the plan calls to “double down on the liquid fuels of the future” by developing “advanced biofuels.” But what are the details? If Biden is referring to land-dependent cellulosic ethanol, he is potentially set to fund a technology that would strip thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of square miles of land of replacement nutrients from decaying foliage, even if the expensive processes necessary to convert that foliage to ethanol were finally rendered cost-effective. If, on the other hand, he is referring to ethanol grown in tanks using genetically enhanced algae, that process, if the technology ever matures, has potential.

These are very big ifs, but they’re not just plain stupid.

The merit of Biden’s plan rests in the eye of the beholder. How this is so is found in his reliance on funding breakthrough technologies. “Grid-scale storage at one-tenth the cost of lithium-ion batteries.” “Using renewables to produce carbon-free hydrogen at the same cost as shale gas.” “Capturing carbon dioxide from power plant exhausts and using it to make alternative products.”

Is this all pie in the sky? Or are the doubters just Luddites? Shall we believe in the power of innovation, except when it comes to cost-effective batteries, electrolysis of hydrogen, and direct synthesis of CO2? Biden is attacking the center with this line of reasoning. It requires a reasoned response, not ridicule.

New Infrastructure, But Who Pays?
Another area where Biden offers good sense instead of the usual nonsense is with respect to nuclear power. He calls for “small modular nuclear reactors at half the construction cost of today’s reactors.” Furt,her in the document, he calls for an investigation into the “future of nuclear energy,” to resolve issues of cost, safety, and waste disposal. This, too, is a position that is likely to earn Biden more voters than it loses.

When Biden calls for spending on “climate resiliency,” he’s really just talking about infrastructure upgrades: new bridges, new levees, a hardened electrical grid. Some climate skeptics will read between those lines and see sound logic; for alarmists, it’s all good.

It’s easy to pick Biden’s plan apart, of course. There is no chance the U.S. will achieve zero emissions by 2050. And, to date, the environmental side effects of massive deployment of renewables technology are catastrophic. Biden’s plan calls for “conserving 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.” Has he thought about how much of America’s lands and waters would have to be consumed by solar farms, wind farms, and biofuel farms, if his plan is aggressively funded and implemented? Has he considered the impact of sourcing the materials for all these solar farms, wind farms, and “grid-scale” battery farms, which are far more resource intensive than conventional energy?

Then there’s the money. Per the plan: “Biden’s climate and environmental justice proposal will make a federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years, leveraging additional private sector and state and local investments to total to more than $5 trillion.”

But where is this 10-year budget? One might argue the U.S. economy, with a GDP of roughly $20 trillion, could absorb new government expenditures of $500 billion per year. If you like bigger government, why not shift another 2.5 percent of U.S. economic output from the private sector to the government sector? But where is the money going? Remember Obama’s “shovel ready” projects? That money bailed out the banks and public-sector pensions. Will this be more of the same?

Theories, Not Facts
Despite the fanatical arrogance of the environmentalist zealots and their institutional backers across every sector of America’s corporate establishment, the science of “climate change” is not beyond debate.

Every premise the establishment advances as fact relating to climate change—the cause, intensity, velocity, severity, urgency, and impact (mostly good or mostly bad)—are not facts; they are theories.

But when it comes to solutions, one of the biggest establishment “facts” is actually a very big, and very obvious lie. Biden’s document is called “The Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice.” That second part, “environmental justice,” is pure B.S. Biden was smart enough to not make “environmental justice” the focal point of his plan, but nonetheless, he lays it on pretty thick. According to Biden’s proposal: “The impacts—on health, economics, and overall quality of life—are far more acute on communities of color, tribal lands, and low-income communities.”

That assertion, backed up by a handful of cherry-picked statistics, leads to the following: “[Biden] will make it a priority for all agencies to engage in community-driven approaches to develop solutions for environmental injustices affecting communities of color, low-income, and indigenous communities.”

Oh, come on. What does that even mean, besides hundreds of millions per year going to Democratic proxies masquerading as nonpartisan community organizers?

Here’s the reality that Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the establishment Bidenesque uniparty Democrats, and the insurgent “social justice” Democrats will never admit: aggressive legislation designed to move the United States to zero-carbon emissions in 30 years will devastate low-income communities. The price of every necessity will rise—housing, heating, electricity, gasoline, water, and food. The multinational corporations providing these necessities will profitably navigate the regulations, collect the subsidies, charge higher prices, and drive out smaller competitors.

For anyone who still doubts this fact—that the cost of extreme energy efficiency, extreme land use restrictions, extreme renewables mandates, are imposing crippling burdens on ordinary people—come to California. While there, ask why, inexplicably, California’s low-income communities continue to vote, by the millions, for the Democrats who have made their lives so difficult.

The answer isn’t hard to find: Leftist oligarchs who make obscene amounts of money from unnecessarily strict “green” regulations are Democrats, who along with their token RINOs, spew the same rhetoric nonstop: “vote for us, or the planet will burn up.”

It’s really that simple. And it works.

This is why fomenting climate alarmism is the top priority of Democrat-controlled public schools, Democrat-owned mass media and social media, and Democrat-dominated government bureaucracies. Along with the obsession with “social justice” and identity politics, climate catastrophizing engages the lizard brain in most humans. Primal fears and anxieties are stimulated by images of floods, hurricanes, and raging wildfires. The urgent need to do whatever is necessary, whatever the cost, is reinforced continuously, at every level. For far too many, emotion overwhelms reason.

Outside of California, most Americans, to their credit, remain split on the urgency of climate change. Which is why Biden’s new plan is a savvy bit of political reckoning.

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Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Energy • Environment • Post • Technology • The Constitution • The Courts

The Climate Case of the Century

Twelve years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPAthat greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. The decision in effect gave the Environmental Protection Agency massive additional regulatory authority. This year, another landmark climate case appears headed for the high court: Juliana v. United States. This time, the stakes are even higher.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday will hear arguments in Portland from both sides. The hearing was preceded by a wave of well-funded protestsacross the United States in support of the plaintiffs, who are a group of 21 children and teenagers who were recruited in 2015 from places around the country deemed particularly vulnerable to climate change.

While environmental lawsuits have been around for 50 years, “climate rights” and climate liability lawsuits blaze new legal territory. As “60 Minutes” explained in a favorable story in March, the young plaintiffs allege the U.S. government’s use of fossil fuels is “causing climate change, endangering their future and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.”

The prospects for this case to reach the Supreme Court and provoke a strong ruling in favor of the plaintiffs cannot be ruled out. Over the past few decades, the fossil fuel industry has embraced the climate change activists. The industry has determined that challenging the basic premises of climate change activists is no longer good for business.

Rather than continue to fund unbiased scientific inquiry, the fossil fuel industry recognizes that if it is harder to extract oil and gas, the price of oil and gas will rise, increasing their profits. They also recognize—unlike every climate activist on earth, evidently—that it is impossible to pursue economic development without fossil fuels. Therefore, their industry will continue to thrive no matter what climate activists accomplish through litigation or legislation.

Government Has a Tough Case to Make
A similar pattern of appeasement describes the federal government’s approach to climate activism over the past 30 years. Across Republican and Democratic administrations, the federal bureaucracy, usually staffed by individuals who were themselves climate activists, generated mountains of correspondence that will be used to allege the government knew that fossil fuels were causing climate change and did nothing to stop it.

This evidence has left the defendant, the federal government, with a much tougher case. The plaintiff’s attorneys have accumulated documents going back decades that they will offer as proof of liability.

Whatever the fossil fuel industry’s motivations were—protecting their public image, taking the path of least resistance, short-term thinking, or cynical, profit-oriented stratagems—they now face consequences beyond anything they may have imagined. The plaintiffs in Juliana want the court to compel the federal government to develop a plan to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350 parts per million or less by 2100. Global CO2 concentrations are currently around 400 PPM.

This is an impossible goal. Not difficult. Not tough. Impossible.

Critical Questions
What will decide the case in the Supreme Court, however, is not the feasibility of this remedy. Rather, the case will hinge on whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a healthy planet; do CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuel cause an unhealthy planet; and if so, did the U.S. government know this and do nothing?

The case could turn on any one of those questions, but the second one—do CO2 emissions caused by burning fossil fuel cause an unhealthy planet—is the most critical to future policy.

The “endangerment finding” in Massachusetts v. EPA was a missed opportunity for climate skeptics to have an honest debate on the entire scientific basis of climate activism. The failure of climate skeptics to successfully argue their position in Massachusettshas created a powerful precedent that favors the plaintiffs in Juliana.

Nevertheless, if and whenJuliana reaches the high court, it would be a mistake for the federal government’s attorneys to focus primarily on the question of whether or not U.S. citizens have a constitutional right to a healthy planet. Instead, they could use the opportunity to challenge every scientific premise of the climate activist lobby.

For example:

What proof is there that anthropogenic CO2 is the primary contributor to global warming? What about changes in solar cycles, other astronomical variables, the multi-decadal oscillations of ocean currents, the dubious role of water vapor as a positive feedback mechanism, the improbability of positive climate feedback in general, the uncertain role (and diversity) of aerosols, the poorly understood impact of land use changes, the failure of the ice caps to melt on schedule, the failure of climate models to account for an actual cooling of the troposphere, the credibility of climate models in general, or the fact that just the annual fluctuations in natural sources of CO2 emissions eclipse estimated human CO2 emissions by an order of magnitude?

What proof is there that global warming is occurring at an alarming rate, that it won’t stabilize, or that it isn’t actually causing more good than harm in the world by stimulating the expansion of the world’s forests, increasing agricultural productivity, increasing global precipitation, and reducing deaths from freezing?

What if species loss is overstated, happening for other reasons, or countered by adaptation? What if anthropogenic CO2 is the reason the Anthropocene era hasn’t already been catastrophically obliterated by what is now the past-due next ice age?

What if the environmental consequences of a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions actually would be worse than alleged global warming? What are the cumulative environmental impacts of carbon-neutral solutions such as the heat island effect of hundreds of thousands of square miles of photovoltaic panels, or millions of square miles of biofuel plantations? What are the wildlife impacts of these solutions, along with others such as millions of large wind turbines?

What about the environmental impact of mining for millions of tons of rare earth minerals and other extractive nonrenewable resources in order to construct these massive energy projects? What about the environmental impact of recycling and reprocessing these renewables assets which have useful lives of only 25-50 years?

These are some of the scientific arguments that the government should bring to bear when Juliana v. United States reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. But decades of cowardice and opportunism by members of industry and government who knew better make it harder than ever to make those arguments.

Appeasement and Unwitting Nihilism
The choice was made a long time ago by most of these special interests to appease and accommodate the climate activists. As a result, the arguments they ought to be making have been banished and toxified for so long they have become heresy in the eyes of virtually the entire mainstream and online media along with a generation of America’s youth.

Which brings us back to the absolute impossibility of implementing the remedy that the plaintiffs in Juliana seek. What a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs will do, however, is create powerful momentum for a “Green New Deal” of far greater scope than whatever compromise package would otherwise eventually find its way for a signature from a friendly White House in 2021 (they hope). This, in turn, would be devastating to America’s prosperity, freedom, and ability to compete economically and militarily in the world.

The saddest part of the entire climate activist movement is its unwitting nihilism. Fossil fuel development is the only way that people in the world will be quickly lifted out of poverty. Fossil fuel provides 85 percent of global energy production, and for every person on earth, on average, to consume half as much energy per capita as Americans do, global energy production has to double. This cannot possibly be achieved without ongoing development of fossil fuel, along with whatever renewable technologies we can muster.

America should be encouraging the development of clean fossil fuel, at the same time as it pours research into leapfrog energy technologies: safe nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, the industrial development of outer space including satellite solar power stations.

If environmentalists really believe what they say, they would support such endeavors—along with technologies to lower the human footprint: aquaculture, fish farming, high-rise agriculture, urban agriculture, smart agriculture, lab-grown meat, and innovations certain to come that we haven’t even thought of yet.

Cheap energy is the primary enabler of prosperity, literacy, urbanization, female emancipation, reduced infant mortality, and voluntary population stabilization. Without it, throughout the teeming tropics, women would continue to gather wood for the cooking fires, men would hunt bush meat, and forests and wildlife would continue to disappear.

These privileged American children and their manipulative activist parents may pat themselves on the back as they drive their Priuses to the courthouse. But their utopian vision delivers a dystopian fate to the less fortunate on the other side of this world.

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America • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

The Hypocrisy Behind Climate Change Litigation

Democratic politicians and environmental activists claim any attempt to limit frivolous climate change lawsuits are really nefarious schemes to protect the wealthy and powerful. In reality, the litigation they defend supports their own wealthy and powerful backers.

Six California cities and counties recirculated a letter last week that argued a business-backed plan to deal with climate change is not enough. Many corporations have offered concessions, such as the acceptance of a carbon fine and carbon dividends, in the Baker-Schulz Carbon Dividends Plan.

That plan is insufficient, according to these California municipalities. “Wealthy, powerful corporations should not get to decide whether they are subject to the same laws as everyone else,” the letter says. The letter was signed by the cities of Imperial Beach, Richmond, and Santa Clara, along with Marin County, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County.

All six municipalities have filed lawsuits against energy companies, and they’re not exactly Little Guy America. San Mateo and Marin Counties are home to some of the wealthiest people in America. The median household income in San Mateo is $108,627; it’s $103,845 in Marin.

Most of the “David” municipalities who have sued the wealthy and powerful “Goliaths” are comprised of wealthy and powerful constituents with counter-interests. Other locales that have filed climate litigation include New York City, San Francisco, and Boulder, Colorado—all places of wealth, power, and privilege.

Similarly, the lawsuits are backed by the wealthy and powerful. One of the leading players in climate change litigation is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Nothing better represents the little guy than the Rockefeller brand. The Rockefellers lavished the Niskanen Center, which is serving as co-counsel on multiple climate change lawsuits, with $200,000 in 2018. Another lawsuit proponent, EarthRights International, touts the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as one of its primary funders.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also served as a major donor to lawyer Matt Pawa’s Global Warming Legal Action Project, which aimed to “develop and apply a tort law approach to global warming that will require major greenhouse gas emitters and fossil fuel companies to internalize the costs of their contributions to global warming.”

Another wealthy donor to these lawsuits is liberal billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer’s super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, has played an instrumental role in pushing litigation against Exxon. Steyer, of course, is heavily invested in so-called green and alternative energy companies. The group was briefed on the legal strategy in 2015 and then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sought campaign contributions from Steyer as a reward for his lawsuit against Exxon. Steyer has denied any involvement in the lawsuits, but the evidence says otherwise.

And no left-wing action would be complete without support from billionaire George Soros, who got rich manipulating currency markets and who has invested billions attempting to do the same with energy markets. Soros’s Open Society Foundations is a major donor to EarthRights International, contributing six-figure donations to the climate activist group every year. Soros-backed district attorneys are pursuing “climate justice.” One such person is Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. Ogg has brought charges against Arkema North America for “poison[ing] our environment” after chemicals at the company’s facility exploded during Hurricane Harvey. Ogg received a $500,000 campaign contribution from Soros in 2016.

There also exists evidence that Russia—the great liberal bogeyman—may be involved in some of these efforts. Russia has actively supported anti-fracking propaganda to benefit its own energy interests.

Climate litigation is not the David versus Goliath struggle its advocates envision. It’s a shady alliance of liberal and left-wing billionaires, radical environmental groups, and wealthy municipalities trying to harm America’s energy industry. The real little guys who will be hurt are the thousands of Americans who will lose good paying jobs and the millions of Americans who will lose access to affordable energy sources should these lawsuits succeed. Americans will pay far more for energy, jobs will be lost, and we will rely more on foreign resources in the aftermath.

The only people who would gain are foreign nations, overzealous bureaucrats, and self-satisfied coastal elites. Don’t believe the faux-populism ginned up by the fanatics behind these lawsuits.

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Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Economy • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

A New Way to Deal With Green Oligarchs

As it stands today, more than half of the Democratic candidates for president support the Green New Deal, a “deeply ambitious” plan that backers say would bring America to “net-zero” carbon pollution by the middle of the century.

While the Green New Deal is framed as a selfless effort to save the planet, it is really just another political hustle. One need look no further than at the monied interests behind the bill to see that Democratic donors get the goldmine and the rest of the country gets the shaft.

The billionaire class happens to support the idea because it also happens to speculate in the market for renewable energy.

Take Tom Steyer, a left-wing billionaire who poured nearly $100 million into the Democratic campaigns of 2016. As the founder of Farallon Capital and a former coal investor, Steyer is now looking to protect his investments in clean energy—even as he crows about saving the planet and mobilizing the country’s resources to stop climate change.

When speaking to reporters last month, Steyer made it clear that “there’s no way we’d support somebody who wasn’t absolutely crystal clear and credible on climate. If they’re not a climate warrior, we’re not for them. Period. Period, the end.”

And like clockwork, just as Washington Governor Jay Inslee made climate change the single issue of his fledgling campaign, Steyer pounced to provide immediate financial support from his SuperPAC.

The list of billionaires does not end with Steyer. Nathaniel Simons, founder of the Meritage investment group who is heavily invested in “net-zero” real estate, is also a top donor to environmental causes promoted by the Democratic Party.

But affirming before God and man the benefits of green energy are not just a run-of-the-mill sacrament to our country’s billionaires. For some members of the professional class, it is also a highly lucrative jobs program.

Green energy legislation is a prime case of corporate cronyism—where trillions of dollars in taxpayer money will be moved to the tech sector, the wind and solar industry, and other well-connected lobbies for the purpose of producing clean energy tools and zero-carbon technologies.

Wherever green energy legislation is passed, the activists, media tycoons, researchers, and academics working in the green-industrial complex are sure to escape unemployment.

And just as the Green New Deal would benefit much of the professional class, the impact of the bill on America’s middle class will be equally devastating. The plan as envisioned by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her democratic-socialist friends would affect the way normal Americans produce energy, farm land, raise cattle, construct homes, drive automobiles, and manufacture products—things city-dwelling liberals will likely never do in their lives.

According to a Heritage Foundation forecast, the Green New Deal would:

  • Decrease employment by 1.4 million jobs
  • Bring on a total income loss of more than $40,000 for a family of four
  • Increase the average electricity bill by 12-14 percent

In other words, green energy harms working-class families. They are the ones who spend a much higher percentage of their household income on energy for their homes and would be unable to afford green energy vehicles.

If you want to see how green energy policies would impact the working- and middle classes of America, look no further than Australia. In the Land Down Under, you see a development in their Labor Party that is similar to the affliction now consuming America’s party of limousine liberals.

“The Labor Party and its putative green allies have been transformed into an instrument of the bureaucracy and ‘progressive’ gentry, well-positioned to flourish in a hyper-regulated state,” wrote Joel Kotkin at City Journal.

As for Australia’s middle class, Kotkin notes, the number of households “earning between three-quarters and double the average income—has been dropping by more than a percentage point per decade since the 1980s.”

Australian elites, meanwhile, have little stake in the domestic forms of production which center on Australia’s natural resources. They continue to profit “from the flow of natural resources to East Asia, through tax policies or financing deals, or by pushing climate-change mitigation programs . . .”

Could not the same be said of the professional classes of America and the new political tensions  with the country’s “deplorables” working in the coal industry and in fossil fuels?

What Kotkin hints at, but does not fully develop in this piece, is how this new party divide goes far beyond economics—a commitment to green energy penetrates the social fabric of a country by making family life more difficult.

All across America, even in places like New York City, the Green New Deal would increase land use regulation and drives up the costs of housing. In some cities, especially high-cost places like New York and San Francisco, small families making less than $100,000 a year would be priced out completely.

The professional classes, meanwhile, will continue to afford a traditional conception of the American dream, while embracing policies that unwind it for the less fortunate. Having a family, a four-bedroom home, and a couple of cars would be a luxury available only to a privileged few. Everyone else, lawmakers suggest, should get used to multi-family homes and use public transportation.

For anyone who does not have a stake in building this green utopia, there is a remedy: we must continue to drive the class wedge in American politics between labor and the elites, while expanding the issue to encompass middle-class interests, which include access to things considered (until recently anyway) mainstays of American middle class life.

Just as those who traditionally vote for the Labor Party in Australia have found no place in the Labor/Green alliance, the coalition of GOP voters that continues to emerge in the United States has no stake in a green energy future. Preserving the portfolios of liberal and leftist billionaires is unlikely to be a winning issue in our democratic republic.

The good news is that the appeal to working-class voters for Republicans may not stop with the white working class. Minority groups, too, may soon ask themselves how they benefit from green energy policies.

Last year, for instance, when former U.S. Representative Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) lost to Green New Deal champion Ocasio-Cortez, many commentators saw his defeat as a sign that a new, “diverse,” wave of voters, enthusiastic for green energy, were ready to take the country by storm.

What few mention, however, is that Crowley beat Cortez among African American voters at a rate of more than two-to-one. Further, contrary to the identity-politics narrative, an Irish guy named Joe managed to split the Hispanic vote with Ocasio-Cortez almost right down the middle.

Green energy legislation, and the urban activists who represent it, are really nothing more than a wave of Millennials moving in to gentrify the district. That is, the “AOC vote” is mostly childless, white, university-educated liberals, whose tony parents will pay their energy bills no matter how high the costs may soar.

Demonstrating how liberal Democrats have become a class-conscious party, with the Green New Deal as their instrument, may be the best way to siphon off the traditional Democratic base against the professional class. We may soon have a healthy majority, united in scorn against the new green oligarchs.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

America • Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

The Climate Cult’s Missal

The sanctimonious Climate Cult never ceases to amaze and amuse in its incessant, condescending appeals to enlighten—by any means necessary—we recalcitrant heretics who refuse to cede our liberty to the state upon the pretext of their politicized science.

Now, they’re going to nuke us with a missal.

To wit, this May 1 tract by Hannah Fairfield, “The Facts about Food and Climate Change” in the “Climate Fwd: newsletter,” with which “The New York Times climate team emails readers once a week with stories and insights about climate change.” In fact, to produce this extra, super, special edition of said newsletter, the newspaper’s “[climate team] joined with our colleagues in the food section to bring you information about how to shop, cook and eat in a warming world.”

And you thought they just wanted to take away your hamburger? “I’ll have the meat-loathe, please….”

But of course, per the Climate Cult’s missal, rarely have the stakes been so great:

We generally have options about what to eat every day, and those choices have climate consequences. About a quarter of all planet-warming greenhouse gases emitted each year are a result of how we feed the world. Does what you eat have an effect on climate change? The answer is yes, absolutely.

In case one thought “the answer is yes, maybe,” Sam Sifton food editor of the Times (and, evidently, an amateur climatologist) reinforced the gospel of Algore: “The science, after all, is clear. The climate is changing.”

Yes, we must all gird our loins to accept weather changes; but what’s worse, per Mr. Sifton, the ignorance of the best intentioned regressives as to how they can eat and still save the planet has spawned an epidemic of emaciating indecision:

And a lot of home cooks have been left paralyzed at the stove or in the marketplace as a result, choosing between the farmed salmon and the pasture-raised chicken, the organic tofu, the fair-trade coffee, the heritage carrots.  Which is best or safest for the environment? Which hurts it the least? What, in general, are we supposed to buy and cook, if we want to help reduce our carbon footprints, the carbon footprints of our nation, our world?

Fear not for the starving self-righteous, however, because in their missal the Climate Cult and their cooks have some sage suggestions to get their queasy “woke” acolytes to nosh again:

“Your Questions about Food and Climate Change, Answered;

“These Five Cuisines Are Easier on the Planet;

“From Apples to Popcorn, Climate Change Is Altering the Foods America Grows;

“The Climate-Friendly Vegetable You Ought to Eat;

“Reinventing the Tomato for Survival in a Changing World.

“How Does Your Love of Wine Contribute to Climate Change?”

And, for those who lapse, the Climate Cult and their cooks’ missal thoughtfully provide an opportunity for self-reeducation: “Quiz: How Does Your Diet Contribute to Climate Change?”  Someday soon, perhaps, should one fail, the next stop will be a vegan reeducation camp?

But at present, they find politeness useful, so the Climate Cult and its cooks hope we like their extra, super, special missal, “because it’s part of our mission here at The Times to help readers understand the world.”

The inference is, if one disagrees with them, one doesn’t understand the world. Equally, we who dig diner fare probably don’t know that much about their ritzy world of “fair-trade coffee” and “heritage carrots”, etc….  But the best part—for us, anyway,—is we still possess the freedom not to give a whit about their cuisine or their cult. So, no, the Climate Cult’s missal won’t make for “happy reading”; and, no, we shan’t “find something inspiring to cook and eat.”

What we free people find inspiring, we emulate, we don’t masticate.  And one thing to admire is the witty riposte of the incomparable Salena Zito to the clichéd weatherworn “wokeness” of these noxious Malthusians’ missal:

A subset of a subset of a subset of people think they should in theory think this way.  A subset of a subset of them will actually shop this way. A subset of a subset of them will adopt it as their religion & preach it at the next cocktail party they go to where they refuse to eat.

Which, then, raises the critical question to fore: “You gonna finish that?”

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America • Energy • Environment • EU • Europe • Post • self-government • Technology

Why Don’t Climate Activists Support Nuclear Power?

For several days in mid-April, downtown London was paralyzed by thousands of “climate activists” protesting the failure of the British government to act swiftly enough to combat climate change. In mid-March, thousands of students across the United States staged school “walkouts” to demand action on climate change as well.

These protests are ongoing, but the underlying logic is hard to see. The primary sources of anthropogenic CO2 are no longer Western nations, which are only responsible for about 30 percent of all global emissions. The biggest single culprit, if you want to call it that, is China, responsible for 28 percent of global emissions, nearly twice as much as the United States, and 28 times as much as the United Kingdom.

Rapidly industrializing India, responsible for 6 percent of global CO2 emissions, is on track to become the most populous nation on earth. The chances that China and India will sacrifice their national future in order to reduce CO2 emissions are zero. The same holds for every emerging nation, including the demographic heavyweights Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, along with all the rest.

The logic of these protestors also fails when it comes to the science of climate change, although to suggest something might be off in their thinking is heresy. So rather than point out that moderate warming might actually be beneficial to the planet, or that extreme weather is more highly correlated with a cooling planet, let’s accept all the popular wisdom with respect to “climate science.” So what? According to their own theories, it’s already too late. Climate alarmists have repeatedly said we had just a few years left—or else.

In 1989, a “senior U.N. environmental official” said “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Then in 2006, former Vice President Al Gore told the Washington Post that “humanity may have only 10 years left to save the planet from turning into a total frying pan.” Fast forward to 2019, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) joins today’s alarmist chorus, telling us “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

So where’s the logic and reason behind these protests? The biggest emitters of CO2 are not going to stop emitting CO2, and it’s too late anyway. But there’s an even more obvious flaw in the logic of these protestors, and more generally, in the entire agenda of the climate change lobby: They will not support nuclear power.

The Case for Nuclear Power
While it’s disingenuous for those of us who don’t believe anthropogenic CO2 is a mortal threat to humanity to use the emissions-free argument to promote nuclear power, it’s important to recognize that nuclear power plants don’t emit anything into the atmosphere. Even so-called “deniers,” if they’re intellectually honest, acknowledge that burning fossil fuel still causes genuine air pollution. Although carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, lead, and particulates are scrubbed out of most modern power plants in America, the rest of the world lags behind in cleaning up their smokestack emissions.

Even in America, where auto tailpipe emissions are cleaner than ever, air pollution can accumulate around busy intersections in large cities and remains a health hazard. Whether used to recharge car batteries or to otherwise power the electric grid, nuclear energy is 100 percent emissions-free.

Although fear of a nuclear accident continues to animate anti-nuclear activists around the world, nuclear is also safer than ever. But all the nuclear accidents in history—including the big three, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island—have caused at most 200 deaths. Even that number is based on generous speculation since it is impossible to positively identify the cause of illnesses people develop decades after an exposure.

Of course, there have been accidents while mining for nuclear fuel, or during construction of nuclear power plants. But as this chart shows, using data from the International Energy Agency, coal mining, drilling for oil and natural gas, and harvesting of “renewable” biomass are all far more harmful to human health.

Absent from the above chart are renewables, but this doesn’t mean renewable energy doesn’t have a cost in human life. Renewable energy relies primarily on photovoltaic panels, wind generators, and batteries, all three of which are incredibly resource intensive. Hundreds if not thousands of miners have already died, working under slave conditions, to extract the cobalt and lithium needed for modern batteries. As renewables increase their share of global energy production, this human catastrophe will increase in scale, and to-date there are minimal reforms, and no viable alternative materials.

Not only does nuclear power have an exemplary safety record when compared to other forms of energy, the next generation nuclear power technologies are safer than ever. These new reactors employ even more resilient cooling systems, they can reprocess their own spent fuel, and they are being designed as modules of various power outputs that require far less maintenance.

Nuclear fuel is also abundant. The world’s present measured resources of uranium are enough to last for about 90 years at current global rates of consumption. According to the World Nuclear Association, “this represents a higher level of assured resources than is normal for most minerals.”

This is an important point. Just as the concept of “peak oil” was popularized in the late 1990s, and debunked about 10 years later as new reserves were discovered and new methods of extraction were developed, it is unlikely the global supply of nuclear fuel would diminish precipitously, especially as reprocessing technology improves. The history of resource extraction, at least when market forces are allowed to operate, is that innovation and alternative solutions are always sufficient to offset looming scarcity of any particular resource.

Renewables Are Overrated
Wind, solar, and biofuels are touted as the answer, but the fact is they cannot match the efficiency and reliability of nuclear power. There are a lot of aspects to this, from the incredible waste of land, to the devastating toll on wildlife, to the resource intensity, to the monstrous recycling challenge as these massive installations wear out and have to be replaced. But what should be relevant to the climate activists is the intermittency of renewables, which cannot produce energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

To compensate for the on again off again nature of renewable energy, fossil fuel has to be employed as backup. This not only guarantees ongoing CO2 emissions, but it has economic consequences. Because natural gas power plants now have to be shut on and off depending on the availability of renewable energy, they cannot efficiently recover their construction costs. This artificially distorts upward the actual cost of fossil fuel energy, making renewable energy look more economical by comparison. Nuclear power plants, which have zero emissions but cannot be rapidly turned on and off, are in some cases being decommissioned to make room for hybrid renewable/fossil fuel systems. In states where this has happened, CO2 emissions have actually risen.

We Need an “All-of-the-Above” Energy Strategy
Global civilization depends on cheap, reliable, abundant energy, and it needs as much of it as it can possibly get. Just in order for average worldwide per capita energy consumption to reach half of what it currently is in the United States, global energy production has to double. This is an immutable fact.

Of course we should continue to develop renewable energy, just as we should continue to research breakthrough energy technologies such as fusion power. But fossil fuel use is not going to go away, its use is going to increase for at least the next 20-30 years until something better comes along. And clean, safe, abundant nuclear power should be part of our global energy portfolio, no matter what anyone believes regarding CO2 and “climate change.”

It is interesting to wonder who is behind the massive demonstrations around the world demanding “climate action.” Whoever they are, perhaps the single biggest challenge to their sincerity is their unwillingness to support nuclear power as part of the solution.

America • Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Education • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

The Great Cull . . . or the Long Boom?

When people look back on world history 100 years from now, what will they see? It is reasonable to think they will see a global civilization, back in 2020, that faced unprecedented challenges and transformations.

The primary challenge, arguably, is a global population that has quintupled between 1900 and 2020. The most transformative factor: an explosion of technology that has taken us from steel and steam in 1900 to quantum mechanics and genetic engineering in 2020.

An optimist would look at the last few decades and conclude, despite the challenges, humanity is on a relentless march towards a better quality of life for everyone. An article published by the BBC earlier this year lists several reasons “why the world is improving,” including rising life expectancy, falling infant mortality, falling rates of fertility, ongoing GDP growth, less income inequality, the spread of democracy, and fewer armed conflicts.

This argument for what Wired once called the “Long Boom” is embodied in the philosophy of “New Optimism,” with its principal proponent the Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg. According to Lomborg, “air and water are getting cleaner, endangered species and forests are holding their own, and the risks associated with global warming are exaggerated.” He contends that “more people than ever before, living in all parts of the globe, are becoming healthier, richer, and better educated; that the human race is living longer and more peaceably; that we’re considerably freer to pursue our happiness.” Lomborg predicts that in 100 years, today’s most underdeveloped nations will enjoy per capita wealth two to four times what developed nations enjoy today.

These are encouraging thoughts, but clearly there is another point of view. A deeply negative, pessimistic, alarmist point of view, oriented around two obsessions—environmentalism and racism.

With respect to the planetary environment, headlines scream apocalyptic warnings every day. From the Washington Post in January: “We only have 12 years to save the planet.” From the Guardian: “We have twelve years to limit climate change catastrophe.” From Smithsonian: “The World Was Just Issued 12-Year Ultimatum On Climate Change.” And on, and on, and on.

Rooted in climate change alarmism is a deeper malaise that addresses economics and culture. In general, the more alarmed someone is about climate change, especially if their political leanings are left-of-center, the more likely they are also to believe that European capitalism and European racism is to blame, not only for the alleged imminent climate catastrophe, but also for economic inequality.

Their answer is to adopt socialism and multiculturalism. In parallel, they are likely to believe that the planet has passed well beyond its “carrying capacity,” with resource scarcity and ecosystem collapse inevitable unless dramatic changes are made.

Who is right? The optimists or the pessimists? Are we on the verge of the great cull, or the long boom?

Back in 2004, Bjorn Lomborg convened a panel of economists with the goal of identifying the most urgent challenges facing humanity, and coming up with practical solutions. While his critics would say he relies too heavily on cost/benefit analysis, his findings remain compelling. Lomborg’s so-called “Copenhagen Consensus” was updated most recently in 2012. The projects identified as most promising, based on a hypothetical $75 billion budget, were the following:

Towards the Welfare of HumanityThe Copenhagen Consensus

  1. Bundled micronutrient interventions to fight hunger and improve education
  2. Expanding the Subsidy for Malaria Combination Treatment
  3. Expanded Childhood Immunization Coverage
  4. Deworming of Schoolchildren, to improve educational and health outcomes
  5. Expanding Tuberculosis Treatment
  6. R&D to Increase Crop Yields, to decrease hunger and fight biodiversity destruction.
  7. Investing in Effective Early Warning Systems to protect populations against natural disaster
  8. Strengthening Surgical Capacity
  9. Hepatitis B Immunization
  10. Using Low‐Cost Drugs in the case of Acute Heart Attacks in poorer nations.
  11. Salt Reduction Campaign to reduce chronic disease
  12. Geo‐Engineering R&D into the feasibility of solar radiation management
  13. Conditional Cash Transfers for School Attendance
  14. Accelerated HIV Vaccine R&D
  15. Extended Field Trial of Information Campaigns on the Benefits From Schooling
  16. Borehole and Public Hand Pump Intervention

The prevailing theme in these suggested priorities is their practicality, and their focus on the individual’s quality of life. They rest on the assumption if we can eliminate disease and malnutrition, primarily through targeted investments in technology and infrastructure, most of the other challenges facing humanity will become much easier to solve. Contrast this program with the “Green New Deal” as proposed by America’s “democratic socialists”:

Towards the Welfare of HumanityThe Green New Deal

  1. Ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change.
  2. Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.
  3. Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.
  4. Zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing.
  5. A Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses.
  6. Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities.
  7. Ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers.
  8. Ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages.
  9. Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.
  10. Obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous people for all decisions that affect indigenous people and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous people, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous people.
  11. Providing all people of the United States with (i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.

The contrast between these two visions is reflected in several contexts. One is practical, the other is ideological. One focuses on specific projects, the other devotes inordinate space to “process.” One is optimistic and inclusive (without making a point of it), the other emphasizes restitution and redistribution. One is global in scope yet sets achievable priorities, the other is tribal in tone and presumes to solve everything at once. One is specific and concrete, the other is grandiose. One is derived from cost/benefit analysis, the other is heedless of economics. One faces reality, the other engages in fantasy.

We may question whether the world is on the invariably improving trajectory that Lomborg promotes. But the apocalyptic warnings of the climate alarmists and their backers in the Democratic Party are likely to be self-fulfilling.

The goals of the Green New Deal—government-funded universal healthcare, guaranteed employment, guaranteed housing, 100 percent “renewable” energy, and “equity” (whatever that means) for “frontline and vulnerable communities” (whatever that means)—are self-contradictory. Empowering the government to guarantee all of these benefits requires full-blown socialism, and socialism has always failed, and always will fail, because it removes the incentives for ambitious people to do honest work.

Whether humanity over the next century will endure a great cull, or enjoy a long boom, depends on which vision of the future prevails in the next few decades. Will it be the New Optimism of Bjorn Lomborg, or the “democratic socialism” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? And it’s worth wondering: Do people smarter than Ocasio-Cortez welcome the rise of socialism precisely because socialism will cause societies to endure catastrophic failure?

Do some of the elites wish for the great cull?

A recent blockbuster superhero film, “Avengers: Infinity War,” pits the entire Marvel Comics menagerie, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Black Panther, Star Lord (of “Guardians of the” Galaxy fame) and others too numerous to mention, against Thanos, an “intergalactic despot” who wants to “rebalance the universe” by destroying 50 percent of all biological life.

What was surprising about the film was its conclusion (spoiler alert): Thanos wins. Moreover, his character is not depicted as malevolent, but rather as resolved to “make the hard choices.” During the film, when Thanos attempts to justify his objective, he discusses the unsustainable burden of biological life on available resources in the universe. While everything will no doubt be unwound in the sequel, opening this week, the moral message of the movie was ambiguous, and this is unlikely to have been an accident.

Embedding and popularizing apocalyptic themes in culture is nothing new, but usually the good guys win, and the world survives.

But why wouldn’t there be cadres among the elites who desire a rapid cull of human population? Why be an optimist, or, more to the point, why be so unselfish as to care about the common hordes? Why work, as Lomborg and others do, promoting practical steps that will lead eventually to a prosperous global civilization, stabilized at around 9 billion souls? Why try to help so many people? Why muster the courage to hope that much?

Here is where democratic socialism is most dangerous. Behind the popular rhetoric and deluded masses lurk fanatical eco-fascists and implacable elites who dismiss concern for human life as mere sentimentality. Conspiracy theorists may go overboard when they suggest that such overt evil may have inspired Agenda 21, or the Georgia Stones, but they’re not wrong to be concerned. To anyone who thinks like Thanos, the great cull is nothing more than a tough moral choice. It offers the greatest shortcut of all to a sustainable future, and socialism takes us down that cataclysmic path.

Here as well is where American leadership offers the best hope for humanity to escape the great cull, and fitfully continue to pick its way to a better life and a healthier planet. But for America to have the strength to midwife the emergence by the 22nd century of a peaceful, prosperous world, better off than ever, Americans have to reassert their cultural and economic identity today.

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Center for American Greatness • Energy • Environment • Post • Progressivism

The Absurdity of Using the Biosphere to Power the Technosphere

In reaction to the proposed “Green New Deal,” there is a lot more discussion about the environmental and economic costs and benefits of renewable energy. Much of the attention, however, has focused on solar and wind energy. Meanwhile, the other big source of renewable energy, biofuel, has quietly elided closer scrutiny. This requires correction. With the purported goal of “saving the planet,” governments around the world are mandating increasing percentages of biofuel to be mixed into transportation fuels.

According to the International Energy Agency, transportation biofuel production in 2017 totaled 83 MTOE (million tons of oil equivalents), which represented only 3 percent of total worldwide demand for transportation fuel. Three percent isn’t very much. But we still have to grow the stuff that goes into biofuels. How much land are we already talking about?

When assessing how much land is already committed to biofuel production, theory and reality quickly diverge. Theoretically, it is possible that current levels of transportation biofuel production might “only” consume around 120,000 square miles of land. But two reality checks result in a far greater amount of actual land use: the fact that commonly planted transportation biofuel crops offer vast diversity in yields per acre, and the fact that biofuel, just like petroleum, is not used exclusively for transportation but also for direct heating and generation of electricity. According to the World Bioenergy Association, biofuel crops are already consuming nearly 550,000 square miles of land.

Why do we have biofuel mandates at all? The main justification is they’re “carbon neutral.” The logic goes like this: prior to harvest, growing biofuel crops produce oxygen and consume CO2. Then after harvesting and processing, burning biofuels consume oxygen and produce CO2. This is a seductive equation, especially if you’ve been convinced that anthropogenic CO2 is the ultimate climate boogeyman. But the practical realization of this equation has been an environmental and health catastrophe.

There are two main types of biofuel, bioethanol and biodiesel. The primary sources of bioethanol are corn and sugarcane; the primary source of biodiesel is palm oil. In both cases, the spread of plantations to grow these crops has devastated some of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet. From cane ethanol in Brazil, to palm oil in Indonesia, thousands of square miles of rainforest are lost every year to new plantations.

In 2016, for a few brief weeks, the world paid attention to the problems being caused by biofuel production. That was when forest fires raged across Indonesia, sending a toxic haze across thousands of miles, making the air barely breathable for millions of people in Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Singapore and Malaysia. The cause of these fires? Land owners burning rainforests to make room for palm oil plantations.

The idea that achieving alleged “carbon neutrality” is a sufficient benefit to offset the replacement of rainforest with monocrop plantations of palm trees and sugar cane is ridiculous. But even if biofuels somehow could be grown using “sustainable” practices, it remains an exercise in environmentalist absurdity. There simply isn’t enough land for conventional biofuels ever to make a meaningful contribution to meeting global demand for transportation fuels.

According to the Biofuels Digest, 66 countries have biofuel blending mandates. While this is hardly an objective source, it’s unlikely their information on mandates in inaccurate. The publication cites the “major blending mandates that will drive global demand” as coming from the European Union, United States, China and Brazil, and claim “each of which has set targets at levels in the 15-27 percent range by 2020-2022.”

Just accomplishing that goal, depending on the scope of these blending mandates, would require global production of biofuel to at least quintuple. Hence the ongoing land grab across the tropics, and throughout the temperate bread baskets, to replace forest and cropland with biofuel plantations. But what if biofuel were to replace all oil?

In 2017, global biofuels production was 83 MTOE (“million tons of oil equivalent”), which represents 1.7 percent of total oil consumption worldwide, which in 2017 was 4,800 MTOE. To begin to estimate how much land it would take for biofuel to replace just the oil used for transportation, which today is around 2,800 MTOE, you have to consider the yield per acre for the primary biofuel crops. For both bioethanol and biodiesel, 500 gallons per acre per year is considered quite good. This means that to replace all petroleum based transportation fuel with biofuel would require plantations consuming at least 4 million square miles.

To put this in perspective, the entire land area of the United States, including Alaska, is only 3.7 million square miles. And this is a best case scenario. While oil palms can yield slightly more than 500 gallons of biodiesel per acre, other popular biodiesel crops have much lower yields—coconut trees only yield 230 gallons per acre; peanuts, 90 gallons per acre; sunflowers, 82 gallons per acre; soybeans, 56 gallons per acre. Bioethanol yields range as high as 662 gallons per acre for Brazilian sugar cane, but only hit around 350 gallons per acre for American corn, or 275 gallons per acre for French wheat. And unlike biodiesel, bioethanol only has an energy content approximately two-thirds that of gasoline, meaning that it takes 1.5 gallons of pure ethanol to provide the same amount of energy as one gallon of gasoline. Finally, of course, global demand for transportation fuel is going to increase in the coming decades.

The worldwide impact of 550,000 square miles of biofuel plantations is is already an ongoing environmental catastrophe. Imagine multiplying that by a factor of eight or more.

In general, Earth’s finite biosphere continues to supply food for humanity with relative ease, because Earth’s 7.5 billion people only consume around 22 quadrillion BTUs per year (based on the average human consuming 2,000 kilo-calories per day). According to the International Energy Agency, world total primary energy consumption is over 572 quadrillion BTUs per year—25 times as much.

Using the biosphere to produce food will always be feasible, especially with the advent of high-rise agriculture and other fantastic innovations that guarantee food abundance no matter how many people eventually live on Earth. But it is not feasible to use the biosphere to power the technosphere—that is, the entirety of our mechanized civilization. Just replacing transportation fuel with biofuel would consume 4 million square miles, and transportation fuel represents less than one-quarter of global energy consumption worldwide.

It is a deep irony that the global elites who wish to cram humanity into ultra high density “smart cities” are at the same time advocating renewable energy that is, in all of its politically correct iterations—wind, solar, biofuel—consuming stupendous expanses of open land, and wreaking environmental havoc in the process.

It is also ironic that the supposed visionary focus on “renewables” is in reality so shortsighted. There is breakthrough potential from dawning innovations ranging from high-rise agriculture to fusion power, from satellite solar power stations to new, novel ways of directly synthesizing transportation fuel from atmospheric CO2, to innovations we can’t yet imagine. Why not use inexpensive conventional fuel in the meantime, and by so doing, more quickly lift peoples and nations out of poverty?

In our rush to avoid using fossil fuels, we are destroying the world in order to save it.

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Democrats • Elections • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

Do Left-Wing Billionaires ‘Own’ House Democrats?

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As the Democratic presidential field begins to take shape, liberal and left-wing billionaires are shopping around for the best candidate to support. Some, as we shall see, are also seeking to torpedo President Trump’s presidency through impeachment long before the 2020 election takes place.

But we shouldn’t lose sight of what these billionaires have already accomplished: they helped elect a Democratic House of Representatives in 2018 that largely can be relied upon to do their bidding. In other words, the Democrats have become what they always professed to loath: a party propped up by big-money interests and beholden to a small clique of ambitious billionaires.

In 2010, the Supreme Court decided in Citizens United v. FEC that independent groups (and thus corporations and the super-rich) could spend unlimited amounts of money on political advocacy. Democrats cried foul. Capitalist and conservative interests would use this constitutional “loophole,” claimed the Left, to flood the airwaves with regressive propaganda, nullifying democracy and trampling the rights of the American people.

Just a few years later, the Democrats are singing a different tune. In 2018, the Democrats took over the House of Representatives, financed—irony of ironies!—by massive infusions of cash from unaccountable left-wing billionaires. Topping the list of the Democratic Party’s deep pocketed liberal stalwarts are Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.

Steyer’s political advocacy groups, including “Need to Impeach” and “NextGen Climate Action,” spent more than $120 million in 2018, much of it from Steyer’s own $1.6 billion fortune. Steyer has concentrated his efforts (in which he plays a starring role) on building momentum for a campaign to impeach President Trump, but he has also worked hard to increase youth and minority turnout to benefit Democratic candidates across the country.

Meanwhile, billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pumped millions of dollars into a massive effort to elect candidates who support gun control. All told, he spent in excess of $100 million in 2018, much of it through his Super PAC “Independence USA,” which undertook a surgically precise effort to boost Democratic House candidates in swing districts.

Since many of the Democratic victories in critical House races were achieved by minuscule margins, many political observers view Bloomberg’s largesse as the critical factor that allowed Democrats to flip the House. Certainly Democratic candidates (and their backers) managed to outspend even incumbent Republicans in many districts, thanks in large part to Bloomberg.

Steyer and Bloomberg assert that their tens of millions of dollars were meant to help “save democracy” from the depredations of the greatest supervillain of all time: President Donald Trump. It pays to consider the question, however, whether “democracy” is really the ultimate goal for either man. Their records suggest otherwise.

Consider that both Steyer and Bloomberg have shown a willingness, even a burgeoning enthusiasm, for end-running democratic processes when those processes don’t produce the outcomes that these imperious tycoons desire, or when their financial interests would be better served by a different outcome.

For instance, Steyer and Bloomberg both have embraced the agenda of combating climate change, which for them means attempting to hobble and delegitimize the fossil fuel industry through smear tactics, disinvestment campaigns, and nuisance lawsuits, all while they realign their investments to profit from the expected shift of the U.S. economy toward (largely impractical) sources of renewable and “green” energy.

Steyer has supported, mostly by covert means, legal efforts to sue fossil fuel producers for the anticipated future costs climate change might impose on municipalities and states. Former New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman even appears to have sought donations from Steyer in return for initiating a bogus lawsuit against oil giant ExxonMobil in line with the infamous “La Jolla playbook.” The playbook is essentially a how-to manual for the destruction of the fossil fuel industry, using techniques of legal harassment and media manipulation.

Bloomberg, if anything, has been even more aggressive in supporting the onslaught against the energy industry, bankrolling staff in various state attorneys general offices tasked with pursuing “climate justice,” i.e. the evisceration of oil and coal companies that compete with Bloomberg’s favored green energy suppliers. In effect, Bloomberg is subcontracting his profit-seeking vendetta against “Big Oil” to Democratic state attorneys general, who are more than willing to accept his dubious “charity.” A more naked conflict of interest in the administration of American justice would be hard to imagine.

The lesson is clear: not only have Democrats turned their backs on their principles by allowing our democracy to be compromised by big-money interests—they simultaneously have turned over the metaphorical keys to the city of American politics to ruthless, self-interested billionaires, whose records suggest that they see elections as but one tool in their expansive toolkits to achieve federal, state, and local government compliance with their wishes.

We haven’t seen the last of Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. Today, they may be bankrolling negative ads to elect left-wing Democrats to the House. Tomorrow, and the next day, they will be using their vast fortunes to make sure those same Democrats do their bidding, and to retain teams of high-priced lawyers to bend the nation’s courts to their will.

And that’s not all. Recent reports indicate that Bloomberg is planning to spend at least $500 million in 2020 to oust Trump, upping the stakes even further.

Is it “democracy” that the American people voted for in 2018, or plutocracy? We’ll know soon enough.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Energy • Environment • Post • Technology

What Would It Cost America to ‘Go Solar’?

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Proponents of renewable energy claim that wind and solar energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels. According to USA Today, “Renewables close in on fossil fuels, challenging on price.” A Forbes headline agrees: “Renewable Energy Will Be Consistently Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels.” The “expert” websites agree: “Renewable Electricity Levelized Cost Of Energy Already Cheaper,” asserts “”

They’re all wrong. Renewable energy is getting cheaper every year, but it is a long way from competing with natural gas, coal, or even nuclear power, if nuclear power weren’t drowning in lawsuits and regulatory obstructions.

With both wind and solar energy, the cost not only of the solar panels and wind turbines has to be accounted for, but also of inverters, grid upgrades, and storage assets necessary to balance out the intermittent power.

Taking all variables into account, what might it cost for the entire U.S. to get 100 percent of its energy from solar energy?

Speaking the Language of Energy and Electricity
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States in 2017 consumed 97.7 quadrillion BTUs of energy. BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are often used by economists to measure energy. One BTU is the energy required to heat one pound of water by one degree fahrenheit.

If we’re going understand what it takes to go solar, and usher in the great all-electric age where our heating and our vehicles are all part of the great green grid, then we have to convert BTUs into watts. That’s easy. One kilowatt-hour is equal to 3,412 BTUs. Following the math, one quadrillion BTUs is equal to 293,071 gigawatt-hours. Accordingly, 97.7 quadrillion BTUs is equal to 28.6 million gigawatt-hours. So how much would it cost for a solar energy infrastructure capable of delivering to America 28.6 million gigawatt-hours per year?

Solar panels are sold by the watt; residential systems are typically sized by kilowatt output, and large commercial solar “farms” are typically measured in megawatt output. A gigawatt is a billion watts. So generating 28.6 million gigawatt-hours in one year requires a lot of solar panels. How many?

To properly scope a solar system capable of generating 28.6 million gigawatt-hours per year, you have to take into account the “yield” of the system. A photovoltaic solar panel only generates electricity when the sun is shining. If you assume the “full sun equivalent” hours of solar production are eight hours per day (solar panels don’t generate nearly as much power when the sun is not directly overhead), then you can assume that in a year these panels will generate power for 2,922 hours. Since 28.6 million gigawatt-hours is equivalent to 28.6 quadrillion watt-hours, dividing that by 2,922 means you need a system capable of generating 9.8 trillion watts in full sun. How much will that cost?

A best case total cost for that much solar photovoltaic capacity would have to be at least $1.00 per watt. Because the labor and substrate costs to install photovoltaic solar panels have already fallen dramatically, it is unlikely to expect the cost per watt to ever drop under $1. Currently costs for large commercial systems are still just under $2 per watt. So the cost for solar panels to power the entire energy requirements of the United States would be at least $10 trillion.

But wait. There’s more. Much more.

“Getting Cheaper All the Time”? Yes, But . . .
Renewable energy boosters use what’s called the “levelized lifetime cost” to evaluate how much wind and solar energy cost compared to what natural gas or nuclear power costs. To do this, they take the installation costs, plus the lifetime operating costs, and divide that by the lifetime electricity production. On this basis, they come up with an average cost per kilowatt-hour, and when they do this, renewables look pretty good.

What this type of analysis ignores are the many additional, and very costly, adaptations necessary to deliver renewable power. The biggest one is storage, which is breezily dismissed in most accounts as “getting cheaper all the time.” But while storage is getting cheaper, it’s still spectacularly expensive.

The only way intermittent renewable energy can function is by either having “peaking plants,” usually burning natural gas, spin into production whenever the wind falters or the sun goes behind a cloud. To achieve 100 percent renewable energy, of course, these peaking plants have to be decommissioned and replaced by giant batteries.

An example of this is in Moss Landing, on the Central California Coast, where a natural gas peaker plant is being decommissioned and replaced by a battery farm that will store an impressive 2.2 gigawatt-hours of electricity. Not impressive is the fact that to-date, the installation cost for this massive undertaking has not been disclosed, despite that all these costs will be passed on to captive consumers. It is possible, however, to speculate as to the cost.

The current market price for grid scale electricity storage, based on credible analysis reported in, among other sources, Greentech Media and the New York Times is between $300 and $400 per kilowatt-hour. The installation cost for a 2.2 gigawatt-hour system would, on this basis, would cost between $660 million and $880 million. Chances are that PG&E will spend more than that, since the “balance of plant” including inverters, utility interties, and site preparation and support facilities will all be part of the capital costs. But using rough numbers, a capital cost of $500 million per gigawatt hour is not unreasonable. It might be optimistic for today, but battery costs do continue to decline, which may offset other costs that may be understated.

So based on a price of $500 million per gigawatt-hour of storage, how much money would it cost to deploy energy storage, and how much would that add to the cost of electricity?

Why Can’t We Just Use Batteries?
As noted, in 2017, if all energy consumed in the United States had taken the form of electricity, it would have been equal to 28.6 million gigawatt-hours. That comes out to 78,393 gigawatt-hours per day. But each day, it has to be assumed that the solar power is only feeding energy into the grid, at most, about half that time. Batteries are necessary to capture that intermittent power and deliver it when the sun is down or behind clouds.

It’s easier to make fairly indisputable battery cost estimates by using conservative assumptions. Therefore, assume that solar can supply reliable power 12 hours a day. That’s a stretch, but it means the calculations to follow will be a best case. If the United States is supposed to go completely solar, we would need to install grid scale electricity storage equivalent to 39,197 gigawatt-hours. In this manner, during the 12 hours of daily solar production, half of the output will be being used, and the other half will being stored in batteries. Cost? $19.6 trillion.

That’s a ridiculously huge number, but we’re not finished with this analysis. There’s the pesky problem of changing seasons.

Only So Many Sunny Hours in a Day
Even in sunny California, the difference between sunshine on the winter solstice and the summer solstice is dramatic. In Sacramento, the longest day is 14.4 hours, and the shortest day is 9.2 hours. Because there are far more cloudy days, even during a California winter, compared to a California summer, the difference is solar output in winter is less than half what it is during the summer months. Solar photovoltaic production in December typically only about one-third what it is in June.

As an aside, wind resources are also seasonal. For example, California’s state government has produced an analysis entitled “Visualization of Seasonal Variation in California Wind Generation” that makes this seasonal variation in wind resources clear. Reviewing this data reveals an obvious variation between the months of March through August, when winds are stronger, compared to September through February, when winds are considerably weaker. This seasonal wind variation, unfortunately, overlaps significantly with the seasonal solar variation. The consequences for renewable energy are huge.

Again for the sake of clarity, some broad but conservative assumptions are useful. A best case assessment of this variation would be to estimate the yield of solar and wind assets to be half as productive in the fall and winter as they are in the spring and summer. This means that to achieve a 100 percent renewable portfolio, two difficult choices present themselves. Either the wind and solar capacity has to be expanded to be sufficient even in fall and winter, when there is relatively little sun and wind, or battery capacity has to be expanded so much as to not store energy for half-a-day, each day, but for half-a-year, each year. This is a stupendous challenge.

To compensate for seasonality, supplemental energy storage would require not 12 hours of capacity, to be filled and released every 24 hours, but 180 days of stored capacity, capable of storing summer surplus energy, to be released during fall and winter. Doing that with batteries would cost hundreds of trillions of dollars. It is absolutely impossible. Coping with seasonal variation therefore requires constructing enough solar and wind assets to function even in winter when there’s less sun and less wind, therefore creating ridiculous overcapacity in spring and summer.

The Cost of Going 100 Percent Solar
Even at $1 per watt installed, it would cost at least $10 trillion just to install the photovoltaic panels. Just to store solar energy for nighttime use, using batteries, would cost nearly another $20 trillion, although it is fair to assume that storage costs—unlike the costs for solar panels—will continue to fall.

Building overcapacity, probably in America’s sunny southwest, to deliver solar power through the cold winter would probably require another $10 trillion worth of panels. And to deliver power across the continent, from the sunny Southwest to the frigid Northeast, would require revolutionary upgrades to the national power grid, probably using high-voltage direct current transmission lines, a technology that has yet to be proven at scale. Expect to spend several trillion on grid upgrades.

Then, of course, there’s the cost to retrofit every residential, commercial and industrial space to use electric heating, and the cost to retrofit or replace every car, truck, tractor and other transportation assets to run on 100 percent electric power.

When you’re talking about this many trillions, you’re talking serious money! Figure at least $50 trillion for the whole deal.

Another consideration is the longevity of the equipment. Solar panels begin to degrade after 20 years or so. Inverters, required to convert direct current coming from solar panels into alternating current, rarely last 20 years. Batteries as well have useful lives that rarely exceed 20 years. If America “goes solar,” Americans need to understand that the entire infrastructure would need to be replaced every 20 years.

Not only is this spectacularly expensive, but it brings up the question of recycling and reuse, which are additional questions that solar proponents haven’t fully answered. A solar array large enough to produce nearly 10,000 gigawatts in full sun would occupy about 50,000 square miles. Imagine tearing out that much hardware every two decades. Reprocessing every 20 years a quantity of batteries capable of storing nearly 40,000 gigawatt-hours constitutes an equally unimaginable challenge.

To the extent the United States does not go 100 percent solar, wind is an option. But the costs, infrastructure challenges, space requirements, and reprocessing demands associated with wind power are even more daunting than they are with solar. Americans, for all their wealth, would have an extremely difficult time moving to a wind and solar economy. For people living in colder climates, even in developed nations, it would be an even more daunting task. For people living in still developing nations, it is an unthinkable, cruel option.

The path forward for renewable energy is for utilities to purchase power, from all operators, that is guaranteed 24 hours-a-day, 365 days a year. This is the easiest way to create a level competitive environment. Purveyors of solar power would have to factor into their bids the cost to store energy, or acquire energy from other sources, and their prices would have to include those additional costs. It is extremely misleading to suggest that the lifetime “levelized cost” is only based on how much the solar farm costs. Add the overnight storage costs. Take into account costs to maintain constant deliveries despite interseasonal variations. Account for that. And then compete.

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Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

Make America Serious Again

In a recent article in Canada’s National Post, Rex Murphy excoriated the state of politics and ideology in the United States, and more specifically the Green New Deal:

21st-century American politics is the era of the child. To wish is to do. The replacement of education with self-esteem sermonettes, the stripping of intellectual competence from schools and trigger(ing)-happy universities, has produced a de-educated, self-centered and self-validating class of silly, ignorant adults.

Murphy concludes by characterizing our hyper-progressive political bandwagon as an express train to Venezuela-style oppression.

Many others have launched learned barrages against the Green New Deal, so Murphy’s more original contributions are his observations about the character of the emerging influencers in our country who are in their late 20s and early 30s. Because they are just on the cusp of achieving political power, they are being pandered to by the establishment, and because they grew up in an age where social media was rapidly becoming the dominant form of news, they receive extensive and fawning attention from the media.

The phenomenon was repeated last week when a video went viral of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) being confronted by petulant school-age children demanding she support the GND.

What we have is a storm feeding on itself, the coming impact of which is only partially understood, and the power of its destructive force only vaguely felt. Rational thought and sober analysis largely are being tossed aside in favor of the (pipe) dream.

Another harbinger of the coming tsunami is the death of expertise as exemplified by the House Science Committee, now controlled by the Democrats: It has five subcommittees, all of whose chairmen are congressional freshmen—not one of whom has any prior experience in science. Although it’s true that you don’t need to be a veterinarian to recognize a horse’s backside when you see one, setting science funding priorities, in fields ranging from meteorology and genetic engineering to nuclear fusion and nanotechnology, requires some expertise or at least some familiarity with the terms.

It is widely recognized that many college campuses have devolved into little more than training grounds for Social Justice Warriors and other progressives, while de-emphasizing core education, at least in non-technical institutions. Numerous surveys demonstrate the presence of overwhelmingly left-leaning and ideological faculties, many of whom are protected by tenure. Stories about microaggressions, trigger warnings, snowflakes, and rigid political correctness abound, but they no longer attract as much attention as they have become so commonplace as to be boring. Developing observational and analytical skills (a core purpose of higher education and a key to innovation and economic progress) has been overshadowed by emphasis on social sensitivity.

Consider this egregious example, from a New Yorker article by Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen:

Student organizations representing women’s interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic. These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape-law unit might “trigger” traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word “violate” in class—as in, “Does this conduct violate the law?”—because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.

What’s next—a medical student asking that the word “body” not be used in classes, because some students might have body-image issues? Indulging these idiosyncrasies is not preparation for the real world.

That this is not confined to campuses is evident to many employers. Whether it is a high-tech firm at which employees’ whims dictate human resource policies and even business strategy (heaven forbid the company should assist the Department of Defense!) or a law firm where associates refuse to work for clients they dislike, the Millennial generation is exhibiting a new self-indulgence in the workplace.

The shift now is not from employer “exploitation” of its workforce to employee empowerment; there is clearly a range of appropriate balance between the two. The evolution is from individual focus to groupthink. High-tech companies would not be facing pressure from their employees without social networking; employees receive support from, and respond to, their peer group. Whether this is a negative, neutral, or positive influence on productivity is not yet well understood. But peer pressure, whose immediacy is driven by social media, is a powerful force for conformity.

This cultural shift plays a far more worrisome role in the realm of politics. Stars are born almost instantly if their demeanor is fetching and their message appeals to an ideologically receptive audience. The number of Twitter followers is the currency of politics in what Murphy dubbed the “era of the child.” The petulant, self-absorbed child, to be exact.

Absent the grounding in analytical thinking and the fund of knowledge that are supposed to be imparted during schooling, rational strategies likely to be effective take a back seat to idealistic aspirations. The perceived value of experience is greatly diminished.

Many people have observed that failure can be a great teacher. One reason that American culture up until now has been dominant in the world is that we are tolerant of failure but resilient enough to learn from it and persevere. But the impact of those failures is generally contained. The new generation of, dare we say, “naïve” politicians do not understand the potential magnitude of the costs of their failures. Our society cannot easily accommodate failures at the scale of governmental debacles like the Green New Deal.

It is time for the adults in the room to stand up, act their age, assert their rationality, and stop pandering to a misguided generation. It is possible to have lofty goals within a framework that recognizes real-world constraints. Let’s start by consigning the Green New Deal to the same evanescence as post-awakening dreams.

Photo Credit: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

California • Democrats • Energy • Environment • Post

California’s Rendezvous With Reality

Californians brag that their state is the world’s fifth-largest economy. They talk as reverentially of Silicon Valley companies Apple, Facebook and Google as the ancient Greeks did of their Olympian gods.

Hollywood and universities such as Caltech, Stanford and Berkeley are cited as permanent proof of the intellectual, aesthetic and technological dominance of West Coast culture.

Californians also see their progressive, one-party state as a neo-socialist model for a nation moving hard to the left.

But how long will they retain such confidence?

California’s 40 million residents depend on less than 1 percent of the state’s taxpayers to pay nearly half of the state income tax, which for California’s highest tier of earners tops out at the nation’s highest rate of 13.3 percent.

In other words, California cannot afford to lose even a few thousand of its wealthiest individual taxpayers. But a new federal tax law now caps deductions for state and local taxes at $10,000—a radical change that promises to cost many high-earning taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

If even a few thousand of the state’s 1 percent flee to nearby no-tax states such as Nevada or Texas, California could face a devastating shortfall in annual income.

During the 2011-16 California drought, politicians and experts claimed that global warming had permanently altered the climate, and that snow and rain would become increasingly rare in California. As a result, long-planned low-elevation reservoirs, designed to store water during exceptionally wet years, were considered all but useless and thus were never built.

Then, in 2016 and 2017, California received record snow and rainfall—and the windfall of millions of acre-feet of runoff was mostly let out to sea. Nothing since has been learned.

California has again been experiencing rain and cold that could approach seasonal records. The state has been soaked by some 18 trillion gallons of rain in February alone. With still no effort to expand California’s water-storage capacity, millions of acre-feet of runoff are once again cascading out to sea (and may be sorely missed next year).

The inability to build reservoirs is especially tragic given that the state’s high-speed-rail project has gobbled up more than $5 billion in funds without a single foot of track laid. The total cost soared from an original $40 billion promise to a projected $77 billion. To his credit, newly elected Gov. Gavin Newsom, fearing a budget catastrophe, canceled the statewide project while allowing a few miles of the quarter-built Central Valley “track to nowhere” to be finished.

For years, high-speed rail has drained the state budget of transportation funds that might have easily updated nightmarish stretches of the Central Valley’s Highway 99, or ensured that the nearby ossified Amtrak line became a modern two-track line.

California politicians vie with each other to prove their open-borders bona fides in an effort to appeal to the estimated 27 percent of Californians who were not born in the United States.

But the health, educational and legal costs associated with massive illegal immigration are squeezing the budget. About a third of the California budget goes to the state’s Medicare program, Medicaid. Half the state’s births are funded by Medicaid, and in nearly a third of those state-funded births, the mother is an undocumented immigrant.

California is facing a perfect storm of homelessness. Its labyrinth of zoning and building regulations discourages low-cost housing. Its generous welfare benefits, non-enforcement of vagrancy and public health laws, and moderate climate draw in the homeless. Nearly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients live in the state, and nearly one in five live below the poverty line.

The result is that tens of thousands of people live on the streets and sidewalks of the state’s major cities, where primeval diseases such as typhus have reappeared.

California’s progressive government seems clueless how to deal with these issues, given that solutions such as low-cost housing and strict enforcement of health codes are seen as either too expensive or politically incorrect.

In sum, California has no margin for error.

Spiraling entitlements, unwieldy pension costs, money wasted on high-speed rail, inadequate water storage and delivery, and lax immigration policies were formerly tolerable only because about 150,000 Californians paid huge but federally deductible state income taxes.

No more. Californians may have once derided the state’s 1 percent as selfish rich people. Now, they are praying that these heavily burdened taxpayers stay put and are willing to pay far more than what they had paid before.

That is the only way California can continue to spend money on projects that have not led to safe roads, plentiful water, good schools and safe streets.

A California reckoning is on the horizon, and it may not be pretty.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Energy • Post • The Left

Why Ocasio-Cortez Isn’t Amusing

Hardly a day goes by without the new face of the Democratic Party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), unconsciously giving the Right more ammunition to ridicule her so-called “policies.”

The latest was an SNL-like video she made in her kitchen cooking chili during which she berated America for the impending environmental apocalypse.

The inanity of her comments is stupefying enough. For example, she actually pauses to look at the camera and says: “If we do not act there is no hope. The only time we can hope is when we act.” But her Miss World contestant soundbites, are outdone by the shear irony of the whole film. Rush Limbaugh commented, as only he can:

And in this cooking video, everything she’s using is powered by fossil fuels! From her stove to her refrigerator. The food that she is making arrived in her kitchen after having been delivered for part of the route by fossil fuels.

Those would be the same fossils fuels Ocasio-Cortez wants to ban in America under her Green New Deal.

While theses gaffes and the memes to which they give rise are truly amusing, the humor of it all shouldn’t give the Right a sense of security. The New Green Deal is a socialist plan for the largest redistribution of wealth the world has ever seen, and it will cost you $93 trillion.

The GND is “watermelon policy”—green on the outside and deep red on the inside. It’s socialism under the cloak of environmentalism. What’s more, the proposal isn’t merely the collected ravings of a fringe freshman congresswoman. The Green New Deal has been endorsed by a slew of Democrat representatives and senators, including some who think they have a shot at being the next president, such as Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

As a result, now more than ever, we must tell the truth about socialism—the socialism of today and the socialism of the past. We must remind people how in Venezuela, the otherwise ardent left-wing reporter, Jorge Ramos, caused the dictator Maduro to storm out of an interview and was arrested when he showed footage of Venezuelans eating discarded food out of a dumpster truck. And we must talk about what socialism actually wrought throughout the 20th century.

I have lived a blessed life, born into freedom in the United Kingdom and now a proud American living in the freest and greatest nation in the world. But for me, socialism is not some theory. It’s not a policy paper written under the name of a former bartender from the Bronx. Socialism, and its final evolution, Communism, were realities that my family experienced. The consequences of that reality changed my life forever one sunny day at the beach when I was a child.

We lived in England when I was a child but our family would vacation in France. One summer, I must have been 8 or 9, we were at the seaside in southern France. I was playing on the shore and my father was swimming in the sea. When he came out, I recognized something I hadn’t seen before. On both of his wrists, there were deep white lines yet he wasn’t old enough to be wrinkled there. Innocently, I asked him: “Dad what’s that?” Without any hesitation or emotion, he answered: “That’s where the secret police bound my wrists together with wire behind my back and hanged me from the ceiling of the torture chamber.” That moment my life changed. That moment history became real for me and the struggle for freedom took physical form.

My father’s story of persecution under a left-wing regime is not unique. But how many Americans know these stories? How many could tell you that the ideas of Karl Marx killed more than 100 million people in just a little more than a century? From Russia to Cambodia, from Poland to North Korea, the story is the same.

When almost half of Millennials polled say they prefer socialism to free-market democracy, we understand where the 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez comes from and we know the threat her ideas pose to freedom in America.

The 2020 presidential election will not be about GOP versus DNC. It won’t even be about Donald Trump versus the Establishment. Our next election, and all elections for at least a generation, will have to undo the brainwashing of a generation. These elections are going to be about one thing: freedom versus oppression.

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Photo Credit: Anne Luty

Administrative State • America • Democrats • Energy • Post • The Left

Alexandria’s Suicide Note for America

Socialists have always had a problem with F.A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom), Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom) and other free-market economists. As the Democrats’ “Green New Deal” confirms, socialists also have a quarrel with Henry Ford, the Wright brothers, and other promoters of modernity. A classic movie provides the back story.

The Grapes of Wrath,” based on the John Steinbeck novel, showcased the hardships of the Depression and for many served as a powerful critique of American capitalism, at a time when admiration for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was all the rage. The movie hit theatres in 1940, when the Stalin-Hitler Pact prevailed, although Stalin didn’t allow the film to be shown in the USSR until 1948. The Soviet dictator thought this American-made movie would serve as effective anti-capitalist propaganda, but his gambit backfired.

As the film showed, in America the poor owned cars and trucks and could drive anywhere they wanted. Stalin quickly yanked the film but, as Nicola Budanovic notes, the episode openly revealed “the flaws of a central-planned economy.” Eventually, “this crippled economy and a great shortage of goods would be one of the main causes for that system to collapse.”

The production techniques of Henry Ford lowered costs and made cars accessible to the masses. Workers could purchase the products they made and after World War II, automobile travel opened up the country on the interstate highway system. As Dinah Shore sang, “see the USA in your Chevrolet,” and millions still do. Socialists don’t like individual transportation and the freedom of movement it affords. True to form, the Green New Deal is “all aboard” for collective transportation in the form of trains. They also want to ground air travel, another American original.

Not so long ago, on December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers took flight in the first successful power-driven airplane. Orville and Wilbur Wright gained fame as the “fathers of modern aviation,” which grew at a rapid pace. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first to fly across the Atlantic, and soon airplanes were transporting passengers across the oceans. Propeller aircraft gave way to jetliners such as the Boeing 707, which made its first flight on July 15, 1954, only six years after Orville Wright passed away, and went on to “popularize jet travel.”

From the 1960s onward, jetliners whisked people around the globe, at prices the American middle class could afford, and reduced delivery times for goods and emergency services. If that is not progress, it is hard to imagine what might be. The socialists, who fancy themselves “progressives,” want to ground the airliners, which as Senator Mazie Hirono lamented, “would be pretty hard for Hawaii.” Good point, Mazie, but there’s more. This crowd is also at odds with Louis Pasteur.

Those “farting cows” have to go, so no more milk and dairy products, and of course no more hamburgers. Actress Cybill Shepherd once appeared in commercials describing beef as “real food for real people.” And as she said, “I know people who don’t eat burgers, but I’m not sure I trust them.” Yet even those who avoid burgers have good reason to distrust socialists.

On the Left, the first principle is “from each,” and the Green New Deal would take away your choice in a gas-powered car, your airline travel, and even your food. With retrofitting in the mix, it even makes a grab for your current house and the sort of buildings you favor. It’s a massive property grab, eminent domain on steroids.

With marginal rates of 70 percent and beyond, the socialists would also take plenty of money from people who work and give it to people unwilling to work. So for this crowd, as Dire Straits said, it’s money for nothing.

As Paul Hollander showed in Political Pilgrims, the American Left once idolized the Soviet Union, where Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders spent his honeymoon. With the USSR gone, all that remains is hatred for free-market capitalism, the greatest generator of wealth in history.

In I Change Worlds, American socialist Anna Louise Strong wrote that Stalin was too important to be called “a god.” Malcolm Muggeridge observed in response that Strong had a look of such overwhelming stupidity that it gave her a kind of rare beauty. For her part, Green Deal mouthpiece Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, often looks like the first person in a 1950s science fiction movie to see the flying saucer.

The freshman congresswoman has no record of thoughtful books, essays, or articles and shows little evidence of having read the key political and economic works of our time. On the other hand, she betrays fathomless ignorance of socialism’s actual record. Her Green New Deal essentially is a suicide note for the United States, the nation that actually exists.

Meanwhile, way back in 1967, the Box Tops may have provided an anthem for those willing to oppose her: “Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane, ain’t got time to take a fast train.” And feel free to accompany by flashing half a peace sign.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Administrative State • Democrats • Energy • Environment • Post

The GND: Glitter, Nonsense, and Devitalization

The latest public policy bandwagon is the “Green New Deal,” or GND, whose acronym could well stand for Glitter, Nonsense, and Devitalization. Some of its proposals are so outlandish that they would be more appropriate coming from enthusiastic (but not very smart) second-graders than from members of Congress. It is astonishing that a blueprint for so many ways to impoverish the nation and disrupt our lives could garner so much attention.

The call to move to a green economy offers a nice catchphrase, but when  you unearth the details, it’s less appealing. For example, the elimination of air travel in favor of high-speed rail—the rights-of-way for which would require the most massive government taking of property in human history outside of war and conquest. And no mention is made of the extinguishing of millions of jobs in the energy, petrochemical, and transportation industries.

Moreover, the proposal  avoids the cleanest energy option: nuclear. Nuclear power generation has its challenges, most notably safety and waste, but they are more solvable today than ever. As an illustration of the widespread irrationality being brought to bear on this issue, however, in January a collection of 626 environmental groups, led by longtime radical organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, sent a letter to Congress laying out principles and policies they believe should define the GND. Among them is a call for 100 percent renewable energy, specifying that “any definition of renewable energy must also exclude all combustion-based power generation, nuclear, biomass energy, large scale hydro and waste-to-energy technologies.” (We’re betting they are more sanguine about perpetual-motion machines than we are.)

High-speed rail always fascinates a certain segment of the population, but we can’t even manage to build one in the Northeast or between Los Angeles and San Francisco at a manageable cost, not to mention the right-of-way needed for the straight tracks essential to high speeds. In any case, our country is too large for even the world’s best railroads to serve it adequately. One wonders whether the rail advocates have looked at a map lately; even leaving aside Alaska and Hawaii, it’s 3,300 miles from Seattle to Miami. Moreover, since we committed to the interstate highway system during the Eisenhower Administration, the nation’s transportation, both intra- and inter-city, has been oriented around cars and trucks.

Nature also undermines the practicality of renewables like wind and solar energy with pesky things like nighttime and calm spells. In spite of massive investment and some incremental improvements, battery technology remains stubbornly constrained by physics and chemistry, necessitating reliable backup as duplicative infrastructure. And as for the “energy efficiency” push for all structures in the nation, the effort is so impossibly extravagant, and the cost is so astronomical (without any attempt to quantify it) that we can’t reasonably hope to achieve it in our lifetimes.

The “Green Transition” is only the second of four main thrusts of the GND. The third plank of the GND is financial regulation. It envisions massive debt forgiveness, a euphemism for shifting the burden, via tax policy, to those without the debt. It seeks to nationalize—and thus politicize—the Federal Reserve. It would empower government with essentially zero cost of capital to compete with banks, and likely drive many of them out of business. Yet this may be the most modest, if misdirected, part of the GND. And ironically, it is the financial sector that has the fewest problems, if one considers that the 2008 crisis stemmed in significant part from political mandates to lower the standards for credit worthiness. That is not to say that over-leveraging and speculation should not be controlled, but it doesn’t require the GND to do that.

Where the GND becomes truly terrifying is in the scope of the “Economic Bill of Rights” and the “Fair Democracy” planks (first and fourth).

The Economic Bill of Rights (EBR), Entirely Bogus and Ridiculous, relies on confiscatory taxation, massive redistribution of income and wealth, and Soviet-style management of vast portions of the economy—for example, all utilities. It pledges fealty to unions and promises magically to transform our public education system from mediocre (at best) to excellent. (There is ample evidence that those two promises are in direct conflict.)

The EBR also promises employment to all who want it, regardless of skills or abilities, and goes beyond even that to offering financial support for those “not willing” to work. This is welfare and government-paid sinecures run amok.

EBR further favors a more conventional bad idea: single-payer healthcare, which has been thoroughly and meticulously debunked and discredited, to take one example, in Sally Pipes’ The False Promise of Single-Payer Health Care. Single payer might work reasonably well for routine care, but it breaks down when it comes to serious illness, chronic conditions, and elective procedures. Ask any Brit or Canadian.

Finally, the plank called “A Functioning Democracy.” Perhaps its acronym really means All For Democrats. Rather than increasing fidelity and accountability to voters, it seeks to loosen controls with such practices as same-day voter registration. A more appropriate approach would be a national ID card, issued at no cost and carefully controlled and validated (by cross-checking with other sources), that truly maintains the one-person, one-vote doctrine. If we can manage entry using real-time scanning to a football stadium with tens of thousands of patrons, we can do the same with voting. Introducing it would be an excellent long-term investment in genuine, effective democracy.

Another element of that last plank, eliminating the Electoral College, would be a repudiation of our entire history, which seeks to support the principles of federalism and statehood. By design, we do not have a popular national election for president. And for that matter, neither do the parliamentary systems of many other western countries. We have somehow gotten through almost 250 years with the Electoral College.

To top it all off, the GND proposes that we retreat from the world stage, gut our military, and make ourselves susceptible to all manner of threats. It is a prescription for disaster.

One need only read the summary of Green New Deal to see how radical, impractical, and utterly asinine it is, and how debatable are its alleged benefits. Why supposedly credible politicians are not treating it as radioactive is inexplicable, except perhaps for its highly misleading title. It is unworthy even of serious discussion, let alone adoption. Its acronym should really stand for Garbage, Now Discard.

Photo Credit: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Democrats • Economy • Energy • Post • Progressivism

AOC’s Literally Awesome Plan to Save the Planet!

The Scene: A Model U.N. competition, circa 2010. Boston University’s team has made the finals and its members, Brittany, Ashley, Tyler, Brandon and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have one hour to come up with a better plan to save the world than Fernwood College’s team.

The BU team members are working out the final details of their “Green New Deal” in an empty classroom adjacent to the auditorium where the Student General Assembly is gathered.

Believe it or not, the italicized words attributed to Ocasio-Cortez below are actual statements her office released last week. The italicized words attributed to “Brittany,” “Ashley,” “Tyler,” and “Brandon” are from the Green Party USA’s “Green New Deal,” which seems in title, tone, and vapidity to have inspired the Democrats’ more ballyhooed initiative.

Ashley: The fate of humanity is in our hands. It is not just a question of what kind of world we want, but whether we will have a world at all.

Tyler: We literally need a massive mobilization of our communities, government and the people on the scale of World War II—to transition our energy system and economy to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, including a complete phase out of fossil fuels, fracked gas, and nuclear power.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: We need to overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle.

Brittany: But how do we do that and end unemployment for good, but also fight the corporate takeover of our democracy and exploitation of the poor and people of color?

Brandon: Good question. I would propose democratic control of our energy system, rather than maximizing profits for energy corporations, banks, and hedge funds.

Ashley: Totally.

AOC: At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.

Tyler: It will pay for itself through health savings alone, from the prevention of fossil fuel-related diseases—which kill 200,000 people every year and afflict millions more with asthma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and other illnesses.

AOC: When JFK said we would go to the moon by the end of the decade, people said impossible.

Ashley: Right?

AOC: When FDR called on America to build 185,000 planes to fight World War II, every business leader, CEO, and general laughed at him.

Tyler: They were soooo mean to FDR. He was disabled and they laughed at him.

Brittany: He showed them, though, when he beat the Republicans and Hitler.

AOC: If implemented, this will guarantee a job with family-sustaining wages. And even economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work. There is no time to waste!

Ashley: Did you hear Demi Lovato broke up with Joe Jonas and had to go to rehab?

Brandon: No way!

Brittany: Hello, guys! We only have 20 more minutes to come up with a better plan than Fernwood College.

Tyler: I wonder what they’re doing.

Brittany: Last year, they proposed one world government to heighten our collective response to the impending environmental catastrophe. But they had flying cars and lost.

Ashley: Why? Flying cars would be good.

Brittany: I know, right? The judges said they wouldn’t be environmental. Which I think is unfair because Fernwood College said in their plan that a team of government scientists would discover cold fusion, making flying cars affordable, clean, and completely safe.

Ashley: Well, we definitely won’t have flying cars then!

Tyler: The Green New Deal will convert the decaying fossil fuel economy into a new, green economy that is environmentally sustainable, economically secure and socially just.

Brandon: The wealthy, who have most benefited from the excessive burning of fossil fuels, should pay increased taxes to help with the cost of transitioning to a green economy.

All: Totally!

AOC: We’ll set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.

Tyler: Yuck!

AOC: My bad. Let’s make that “gas-emitting cows.”

Brittany: Better.

AOC: Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing like using fossil fuels for energy needs; we also need to start doing new things like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient. Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment.

All: Yay!

Brandon: Let’s go take our plan to the Student General Assembly and save the planet!

Photo Credit: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America • Democrats • Energy • Environment • Post • Satire

Power from Nothing, Checks for Free

With utmost apologies to Dire Straits . . .

(Thin falsetto) I want my AOC
(Smattering of drums)
(Enter Mark Knopfler’s guitar on fire)

Look at them moo-cows gassing off their methane
That’s going to change now with AOC
She’s got a plan, too good to spell out fully
That plan is known as GND

Don’t like working, you don’t have to do it
Wait—that’s a lie from the RNC
But GND will guarantee employment
Your power from nothing, and your checks for free

We gotta outlaw gasoline engines
Protect frontline communitie-e-e-s
We must treat coal like Adolf Hitler
We gotta make you carbon free

Ignore that little FAQ’s sheet exposing our intentions
(Yeah buddy that high-speed rail)
That little FAQ’s sheet could never take your airplanes
That little FAQ sheet’s just a first draft fail

We gotta remove market incentives
Give away technologie-e-e-s
We gotta stop all this changing weather
We gotta make you carbon free

We need to lead with zero emissions
We need a far-sighted 10-year plan
Look at that Mama she’s stickin’ it to corporations
Yeah, she sticks it to the Man

And Trump’s up there, making lots of noises
He’s bangin’ out his tweets like a chimpanzee
It ain’t workin’, America wants action
Check it out on CNN and NBC

AOC, that’s the way you do it
Just like the moon shot from history
The DNC already has approved it
Your power from nothing and your checks for free

We’ve got to shut down nuclear reactors
Prioritize sustainability-y-y
We gotta rebuild everyone’s houses
With power from nothing and those checks for free
With power from nothing and those checks for free . . .

That ain’t workin’.