The Democrats have proposed a Green New Deal. Spearheaded by rookie congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this Green New Deal offers drastic measures to curb carbon emissions and get rid of all fossil fuels in 10 years. But are these proposals feasible, or will they pull the nation into the depths of disaster?
Fully Sustainable Energy in 10 years?
If you believe Elon Musk’s words, the whole United States (maybe excluding Hawaii and Alaska) could be powered by a myriad of solar panels in Utah. Words like that might have encouraged Democrats to support this Green New Deal, but proposals like these ultimately fail.
Change cannot be forced and the government cannot and should not dictate anything that can affect the market forces in the nation. Solar energy has grown in popularity in the past few years. Advancements in the materials used and production methods have made solar panels more efficient and less expensive.
Competition drives this growth. Once the government makes these panels a requirement — competition will die down and growth will stagnate. This will lengthen the period it would take for the country to be fully sustainable if that can even be possible.
Lessons from Obama
President Barrack Obama proposed — and enacted — similar legislation. Wrapped within the $800 billion Stimulus Plan, Obama poured $90 billion into green initiatives, which included clean electricity, renewable fuels, electric cars and electric batteries, energy efficiency, and improving the existing power grid. The proposal was meant to create jobs related to the green initiative, but the legislation also had dire consequences.
Obama’s presidency saw the rise of green law that imposed stricter regulations on environmental concerns like carbon emissions, waste production, and energy use. These regulations crippled the manufacturing sector and all but destroyed American steel production. Coal mines were forced to shut down, and factories began laying off workers. The American economy stagnated under the grip of these green regulations — only recovering when these regulations were lifted under President Trump.
Let the Market Decide
Change should start — not because of the government — but because of the people. Once people are given an appealing alternative to fossil fuels, especially one that won’t cost an arm and a leg — they would embrace it.
Solar energy is a great example. Though solar panels can cost $12,000 to $40,000, that’s just what you would typically pay for ten years’ worth of electricity. Once that ten years are up, you won’t be spending a dime for electricity — or fuel if your car is electric.
The number of households relying on solar panels is continually growing, and it could rise exponentially if there are improvements regarding efficiency and cost. Of course, once the majority of U.S. citizens switch to solar energy, the government will lose significant revenue from all the people who are getting free electricity and riding in electric vehicles.
Any legislation that gives the government power to change prevailing market forces and imposes its will on its populace is wrong. Setting a time frame of ten years will cripple the economy and lead to a massive loss of revenue that can put the U.S. into a massive recession. Change is good, but the government should never force it.