Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke rolled out his version of a Green New Deal in a video from Yosemite Valley. It doesn’t call for such draconian action as the legislation sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her plan calls for “net zero greenhouse gas emissions” in ten years. He has a target somewhere around the year 2050. Perhaps we should call it the “Light Green New Deal.”
In his video, Beto calls it “the most ambitious climate plan in the history of the United States.” You have to believe some environmentalists are rolling their eyes. His target is more than 20 years further down the road from Green New Deal legislation in Congress. If climate change is the existential threat some candidates keep telling us that it is, why set a target around the year 2050?
Most of this is wishful thinking and utopian planning. The editors at the Wall Street Journal lamented that environmentalists and Democrat candidates tell us that “the Apocalypse is coming but refuse to offer a substantive proposal that is honest about what it would take to get to zero global emissions. This is a debate over how many solar-powered unicorns can dance on the top of a wind turbine.”
Beto would have the US rejoin the Paris Agreement and stop all oil and gas leases on federal lands. His cabinet would then oversee the permitting decisions in the nation to make sure they account for climate costs and community impacts.
Congress would have to enact emission standards and “send a clear price signal to the market” which might be code for a carbon tax and other cap-and-trade schemes. Congress would also have to find the money for all of this.
In the end, he has put forth a proposal that neither side of the political aisle would adopt. It is too timid for the environmentalists and too radical for most other Americans.