Across the globe, emissions levels have dropped as people have locked themselves in their homes, sheltering in place from the coronavirus pandemic. But places are slowly reopening now, and The Guardian reports that air pollution has already regained pre-COVID levels in China, and Europe may soon follow suit.
Despite this discouraging news for climate activists, it appears that they may finally have their calls for assistance answered.
On Thursday, Democrats on the House Transportation Committee released a monolithic bill which requires $494 billion over five years for a variety of infrastructure developments with a distinct focus on climate change policies.
After seemingly ignoring the lobbying of their climate activist allies, the Democrats have finally delivered the climate change bill we all knew was coming. And don’t worry, this isn’t even the stimulus package bill that the green sector has been calling for. That will come soon enough.
But in an excellent article in The Hill, “Forget politics – America needs a realistic debate about our energy future,” Barnard Weinstein highlight the difficulties of many climate activist agendas:
One of the goals of the Green New Deal is to largely wean ourselves off fossil fuels within a decade and rely almost exclusively on renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, battery storage and hydropower for electricity generation. To do so would require trillions of dollars in new investment, and we’d still need natural gas-fired plants as backup to ensure reliability when wind and solar are off the grid.
Not to mention the difficulty of transitioning to electric vehicles – particularly at a time when gas prices have plummeted, individuals are unlikely to turn to electric vehicles on their own. And despite the focus on passenger vehicles, Weinstein points out that trucks, airplanes and large seagoing vessels will remain powered by gas and oil for quite some time. Our current technology cannot provide for green alternatives for so many of these necessary means of transportation and shipping.
America’s legacy of cheap and abundant energy, so critical to sustaining our economic growth, has been put to the test as COVID-19 has decimated the oil and gas industry. What’s needed now, with a presidential election in sight, is an examination of America’s energy future that acknowledges the growing importance of renewables but relies primarily on market forces, not public policy interventions, to determine energy choices.
All I can say is: Amen.
So many climate activists, in non-profits and on the hill, wish to force these climate change bills through. But none of the changes are possible without incredible amounts of spending by both the government and individuals. If the Green New Deal were passed in Congress, energy prices for individuals would skyrocket, as has been observed in countries such as Germany that claim to have switched to renewable energy. The people most hard hit by such policies would be the same ones who are already having the most difficulty paying their bills and keeping the lights on.
As Weinstein urges, Americans need to focus on rebuilding and regaining our pre-pandemic strength. Market forces will naturally help to forward the cause of renewable energy but massive policy interventions will only serve to further cripple an already-struggling American population.