The Green New Deal's weak chain of logic

Reagan observed: "It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant.  It's just that they know so many things that aren't so."

So it is with the Green New Deal.  Most liberals regard it as a simple proposition: global warming is a really big problem, and it's our fault, so let's fix it.

But closer analysis reveals that the argument for the Green New Deal rests upon a long chain of interdependent assertions, every one of which must be believed for the problem to be of sufficient peril to warrant liberals' drastic solution.

Here are links in their chain of logic.  If you doubt the truth of any single step, you must discard the entire argument.

  • The global climate is warming.
  • Human activity is a major cause.
  • At the current rate of warming, our environment will suffer terrible degradation — unprecedented droughts, more frequent and severe hurricanes, flooding of the coastlines.  The planet will become uninhabitable by 2100.
  • We can avert catastrophe only by implementing the Green New Deal, now.  Otherwise, within twelve years, we will reach a "tipping point" from which we can never recover.  Earlier tipping points, having already expired without notice, are now irrelevant.
  • We must quickly and drastically reduce or eliminate carbon emissions from burning plant products, coal, petroleum, and natural gas.  We must also reduce or eliminate bovine gas.
  • We must confine ourselves to using only renewable energy.  This demands that we retrofit all buildings and redesign all machinery to operate with sunlight and wind power.
  • While the costs of converting our infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy are currently prohibitive (greater than our annual GNP), they will drop significantly with the advent of unknown future technology.  When we take into account the vast numbers of new green jobs required for conversion, the Green New Deal will make us richer than ever.
  • Similarly, the problem of storing (intermittent) sun and wind power will be solved by currently unknown future technology.  This is the same technology that will solve the problem of carbon-free trans-oceanic transportation.
  • Technology will not enable us, however, to adapt to rising temperatures.  Nor will we be able to adapt to gradually rising seas by moving away from low-lying areas.
  • We mustn't supplement our energy supplies with increased use of an existing technology, atomic power plants.  Atomic energy is carbon-free, but it is far too dangerous (Chernobyl and Fukushima together have caused nearly fifty deaths so far!), even for the goal of saving the planet.
  • The consequences of global warming will be wholly malignant.  Any beneficial effects, such as increased food production due to longer growing seasons and vast swathes of the arctic becoming available for farming, and the overall greening of the planet, would be insignificant.
  • The United States must impose the Green New Deal upon itself, despite the fact that 85% of global carbon emissions are produced by other countries.  We must not condition our self-imposed carbon abstinence upon commensurate actions by China, or Europe, or India.  Because we will solve global warming with the example we set.

Reagan observed: "It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant.  It's just that they know so many things that aren't so."

So it is with the Green New Deal.  Most liberals regard it as a simple proposition: global warming is a really big problem, and it's our fault, so let's fix it.

But closer analysis reveals that the argument for the Green New Deal rests upon a long chain of interdependent assertions, every one of which must be believed for the problem to be of sufficient peril to warrant liberals' drastic solution.

Here are links in their chain of logic.  If you doubt the truth of any single step, you must discard the entire argument.

  • The global climate is warming.
  • Human activity is a major cause.
  • At the current rate of warming, our environment will suffer terrible degradation — unprecedented droughts, more frequent and severe hurricanes, flooding of the coastlines.  The planet will become uninhabitable by 2100.
  • We can avert catastrophe only by implementing the Green New Deal, now.  Otherwise, within twelve years, we will reach a "tipping point" from which we can never recover.  Earlier tipping points, having already expired without notice, are now irrelevant.
  • We must quickly and drastically reduce or eliminate carbon emissions from burning plant products, coal, petroleum, and natural gas.  We must also reduce or eliminate bovine gas.
  • We must confine ourselves to using only renewable energy.  This demands that we retrofit all buildings and redesign all machinery to operate with sunlight and wind power.
  • While the costs of converting our infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy are currently prohibitive (greater than our annual GNP), they will drop significantly with the advent of unknown future technology.  When we take into account the vast numbers of new green jobs required for conversion, the Green New Deal will make us richer than ever.
  • Similarly, the problem of storing (intermittent) sun and wind power will be solved by currently unknown future technology.  This is the same technology that will solve the problem of carbon-free trans-oceanic transportation.
  • Technology will not enable us, however, to adapt to rising temperatures.  Nor will we be able to adapt to gradually rising seas by moving away from low-lying areas.
  • We mustn't supplement our energy supplies with increased use of an existing technology, atomic power plants.  Atomic energy is carbon-free, but it is far too dangerous (Chernobyl and Fukushima together have caused nearly fifty deaths so far!), even for the goal of saving the planet.
  • The consequences of global warming will be wholly malignant.  Any beneficial effects, such as increased food production due to longer growing seasons and vast swathes of the arctic becoming available for farming, and the overall greening of the planet, would be insignificant.
  • The United States must impose the Green New Deal upon itself, despite the fact that 85% of global carbon emissions are produced by other countries.  We must not condition our self-imposed carbon abstinence upon commensurate actions by China, or Europe, or India.  Because we will solve global warming with the example we set.