We can’t afford not to have a Green New Deal

To the Editor:

The letter “FDR’S New Deal VS. AOC’s New Green Deal” parrots lots of misinformation spread about the GND by the fossil fuel industry and their wholly-owned subsidiary, the GOP. For example, “FDR vs AOC” says the GND will cost over $90 trillion in just 3 years. This figure was simply made up by a right wing “think tank” (American Action Forum) whose biggest donors are the American Petroleum Institute and the fossil fuel billionaires, the Koch brothers (opensecrets.org). The AAF itself does not even endorse that figure, which would dwarf the combined economic output of every nation on Earth.

The truth is, the GND’s energy plan will more than pay for itself. Like the original New Deal, the GND will be broken into separate pieces of legislation. Its main goal is to prevent “catastrophic” global warming (something attacks on the GND regularly ignore), so let’s focus on that.

We have only a decade left to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% if we are to prevent “catastrophic,” runaway global warming, causing “global economic collapse” followed by “societal collapse” (National Academy of Sciences). Making GND-scale emissions cuts now would prevent over $160 trillion in future damage from climate disasters in the US (Forbes, April 2019) and the prevent the “economic collapse” that would cause. Just a half-degree increase in global temperatures will cost the US economy $13 trillion (IPCC).

The GND energy plan would cost about $5 trillion (NYT April 18) but, it would add $6.5 trillion to the US economy (IPCC). That’s because by scaling up solar and wind, the GND’s energy plan will make clean energy “essentially free” by 2030 (Financial Times, UBS, Aug 2018) and
create 10-15 million good-paying, local, permanent (40-year) jobs with good benefits.

Clean energy is already cheaper than any fossil fuel in 70% of the US and employs more people. (Forbes, Lazard). Clean energy will create millions of the kind of good-paying jobs our country has been losing for many decades, decimating our middle-class so that 1% of the US population now owns more wealth than the bottom 90% (Washington Post Dec 2017).

The FDR vs AOC letter says the New Deal’s aim was to “restore a post-depression and war-worn nation.” The New Deal was, in fact, enacted at the beginning of the Great Depression. It was primarily a massive government jobs program, allowing millions to survive our nation’s worst economic crisis. Its main legacy was Social Security, denounced at the time as “Socialism” by the GOP.

Carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels kills over 200,000 Americans every year (MIT.edu) and Americans spend over $800 billion annually on medical treatment of carbon-caused illnesses (Forbes), which has skyrocketed in the US as greenhouse gas emissions have done the same (EPA).

The GND can improve our health, our economy, our planet and our future…for free. Let’s not be stupid.

Lynn Goldfarb