Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Facts You Need To Know That Will Allow You to Destroy Green New Deal Thinking

Richard A. Epstein
Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University Law School, and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago, calls Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal a pie-in-the-sky proposal.

When you want to counter an argument of a GND supporter point out to them the Epstein facts listed below.

The below observations by Epstein are the best demobilization of AOC's proposal that I have come across. This how you destroy  GND.

He writes at the Hoover Institution:
The dominant source of energy for the foreseeable future for both the United States and the world will be fossil fuels, chiefly in the form of oil, natural gas, and coal. Throughout the world, many groups will push hard for massive subsidies to wind and solar energy. Yet, that attempt, no matter how bold, will fail to shift the overall balance of energy production toward green sources. The fatal drawback of wind and solar is their lack of storability. Solar works when the sun shines. Wind works when breezes blow. Both often provide energy when it is not needed and fail to provide it when required. Any legal diktat that puts these renewable sources first will only produce a prolonged economic dislocation. Pie-in-the-sky proposals like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which stipulates 100 percent of energy needs be supplied by “clean, renewable, and zero emissions” sources, should be dead on arrival.
The major challenge of sound energy policy today is to find ways to make the production of fossil fuels both cheaper and safer. Fortunately, private-sector innovation has paid off handsomely such that the total social cost of fossil fuels has trended sharply downward and shows every indication of continuing to do so. The point is especially true with fracking, which has been driven by large cumulative improvements at every stage of the production process. Since 1950, carbon dioxide emissions have increased over fivefold, but, as policy analyst Marlo Lewis has demonstrated, it is difficult to link these emissions to any negative global consequences. After all, over the same period of time, there have been massive increases in life expectancy, crop yields, and wealth. In my view, the current scientific record offers no support for the claim that increases in CO2 emissions pose an immediate, let alone existential, threat. Indeed, global temperatures have declined 0.56 degrees Celsius between 2016 and 2018 for the largest two-year drop in the past century—a trend that has gone largely unremarked upon in the press... 
Whatever the economic problems the New Deal caused, they are child’s play in comparison with the Green New Deal, which will likely lead to massive government mandates by way of direct expenditures of dollars that cannot be raised by taxes or borrowing, but only through inflation. The initial blunder is to assume any such initiative, likely to wreck the economy, will have more than a negligible effect on CO2 levels. Two salient facts dictate the picture: right now China produces more CO2 emissions than the US and the EU combined, and emissions levels in the United States, which account for under 15 percent of total world emissions, have dropped by about 800 million annual tons since 2005.
And Epstein is only getting warmed up (no climate change pun intended):
Worse still, the Green New Deal seeks to implement a set of juvenile domestic proposals. One of the most welcome developments in the US has been the decline of union power over recent decades. In an odd reversal, the Green New Deal wants to give unions the whip hand in all labor negotiations. But strong unions lead in practice to artificial work rules that make it impossible to introduce sensible procedures for the most mundane of tasks, like changing light bulbs in union-managed public housing.
Any proposal to implement the massive retrofitting of housing and transportation stock through union labor will consume so many resources that little private capital will be left for the high level of new investment required to sustain economic growth.
Nor will the situation improve when further distortions are imposed on the economy in the name of gender equity. One of the more puzzling aspects of the Green New Deal is its insistence that all occupational differences between men and women are somehow suspect. The one point that is perfectly clear on this front is that the defenders of that principle do not mean that all individuals should have the right to compete for whatever jobs they want in an open market. Rather, the objective of this movement is equality of outcome in the form of proportionate representation in key occupations,;pay equalization across different job categories, equal representation of women on corporate boards, and an ever higher percentage of female CEOs. The underlying premise of this movement is that normal market forces necessarily undervalue the services of women. The likely outcome of this full-scale regulatory initiative is to introduce further distortions in labor markets, without addressing any climate change issue...
It is quite shocking that many Democrats have lined up in defense of this extreme proposal without the slightest knowledge or awareness of its deeply counterproductive features. They seem to have adopted the dangerous mindset that the outcomes produced by traditional markets and deliberative processes are necessarily corrupt. The progressive movement, and the nation as a whole, will be in far better shape if the harshest critics of the status quo took it upon themselves to understand the many tradeoffs and compromises that are needed to operate any complex system—before implementing an infantile proposal that will wreck the whole thing.
BTW, don't miss this gem that Epstein links to above: 
NASA data show that global temperatures dropped sharply over the past two years. Not that you'd know it, since that wasn't deemed news. Does that make NASA a global warming denier?
Writing in Real Clear Markets, Aaron Brown looked at the official NASA global temperature data and noticed something surprising. From February 2016 to February 2018, "global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius." That, he notes, is the biggest two-year drop in the past century.
"The 2016-2018 Big Chill," he writes, "was composed of two Little Chills, the biggest five month drop ever (February to June 2016) and the fourth biggest (February to June 2017). A similar event from February to June 2018 would bring global average temperatures below the 1980s average."


  1. If "facts" could destroy socialist mega-nonsense we would have won this war hundreds of years ago. These proposals speak to envy and to loopy theories of fairness and justice; economic facts, for the most part, bounce right off. Does not mean that we should not stop trying trying BUT we have to think beyond cost and efficiency arguments...

  2. Doh!

    You cannot reason people out of ideas they were not reasoned into. There is not one single Green New Deal enthusiast who cares about your imperialist, white Male capitalist exploitofacts. You just hate the environment.

    We are dealing with neurotic people in pursuit of relief from their anxiety, not curious people looking for facts.

    We're all gonna get rounded up and thrown into the volcano if libertarians can't find a way to stop being such dorks. No one cares about our facts. Our facts are noise to them, but their feelings are real and inescapable.

  3. My only quibble with Epstein is "It is quite shocking that many Democrats have lined up in defense of this extreme proposal without the slightest knowledge or awareness of its deeply counterproductive features."

    I'm shocked that he's shocked. Both Democrats and Republicans have done this for years, either willfully or ignorantly overlooking trade-offs.