Daniel Turner: Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal is an impossible dream that would be a nightmare

In 1605, Miguel de Cervantes published his novel “Don Quixote,” about a delusional man who thought he was a knight in shining armor and who jousted with windmills he imagined were evil giants.

In 2019 we have Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who embraces windmills and announced a $16.3 trillion proposal Thursday for a Green New Deal, saying it would pay for itself in 16 years by generating increased tax revenue.

Don Quixote’s beliefs made a lot more sense.


Even the deranged fictional character didn’t think he could overturn the laws of physics and economics, as Sanders seems to believe. 

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The 1965 play and 1972 film about Don Quixote were titled “Man of La Mancha” and featured a song called “The Impossible Dream.” That would be the perfect campaign theme song for the man of Vermont in his battle to win the Democratic nomination for president.

Sanders said Thursday that his plan is designed to battle climate change. But a thorough reading of the document makes it clear that the real goal of the proposal by the self-described democratic socialist is a Big Government takeover of America’s economy.

That’s because the real root of climate change for environmental extremists and socialist radicals like Sanders goes much deeper than our actions and lifestyle choices. They believe our free-market economic system and America itself are at fault – and think a second American Revolution is needed.

Sanders’ plan calls for a complete transition to electric vehicles and green energy by 2030. This deadline is impossible – not because of opposition by the “evil” fossil fuel industry that Sanders demonizes, but because of physics.

As the old saying goes, “facts are stubborn things.” Sanders can’t simply wish them away, nor can anyone else.

So let’s look at a few facts

Does Sanders know that fertilizers and pesticides come from fossil fuels? Will they become illegal, tremendously reducing crop production? Is mass starvation a price worth paying to end the use of fossil fuels?

One of the largest wind farms in the world is in Texas, and it generates about 800 megawatts of electricity each day. The farm takes up 100,000 acres of land the might otherwise be used to grow crops.

During the hottest days of the year, with peak air conditioning use, Texans consume over 70,000 megawatts of electricity daily. We can draw a conclusion: there isn’t enough land in Texas to build windmills to power everything in the state. Not unless we start seizing private land, as happened after the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution and the Cuban Revolution.

It’s the same physics conundrum with solar panels: renewables do not generate enough power, given how much land they require.

So a question for Sanders: Which Texans turn off the air conditioning? Does the state decide? Is air conditioning even legal?

Physics eludes the Sanders proposal, as does logic. Each wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel and 2,500 tons of concrete. Steel is forged in the heat generated by coal. Concrete’s main ingredient is coal. Under the Sanders Green New Deal, coal and all fossil fuels would be taxed into oblivion and then made illegal.

Bottom line: you can’t build wind turbines if you abolish coal. If we are going to burn coal to make windmills, why not just burn coal to make electricity?

Airplanes cannot run on renewable energy. Electricity does not generate the thrust needed for planes to get airborne. If fossil fuels are eliminated by 2030 – as Sanders proposes – what happens to the airline industry? 

Do we ship all goods via the sea? Does Sanders think cargo ships will run on batteries? Will he create a commercial nuclear fleet? No, nuclear power is slated for extinction along with fossil fuels under his version of the Green New Deal. And so too, apparently, is our economic prosperity.

And how do we get from our homes to our jobs, to go shopping, and everywhere else that we travel without fossil fuels? The 281 million cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles that now travel U.S. roads would be useless without gasoline and diesel fuel, with the exception of the few that are electric vehicles.

Sanders proposes spending $2.2 trillion – which would have to come from your tax dollars – to help Americans buy electric vehicles (EVs). Last year Americans purchased about 400,000 EVs. That same year we purchased 17 million conventional vehicles.

We may have the capacity to manufacture enough EVs to meet the government-mandated demands, but what do the manufacturing plants run on? Wind and solar power? Those energy sources are almost twice as expensive as conventional energy.

And what about the materials needed to build all of those EVs? The steel currently forged by coal that is slated to be banned? The rare earth minerals that are mined by enormous earth-moving machines that can’t run on electricity? How do we transport EVs across the country without trucks that need a lot more power than electric motors can provide?

Now let’s look at food production. Farm equipment is monstrous and requires tremendous energy. Can it be retrofitted to run on batteries? Not yet.

So what happens in 2030 as our farmers plant and harvest crops without the current equipment? Think of what this will do to the cost of food. Plus, like EVs, there is a shipping problem. Should we go back to horse-drawn plows? But wait – all those horses will generate greenhouse gases and a tremendous amount of waste that will pollute the environment.


Does Sanders know that fertilizers and pesticides come from fossil fuels? Will they become illegal, tremendously reducing crop production? Is mass starvation a price worth paying to end the use of fossil fuels?

Oh, and let’s not forget plastics. Every item of plastic you own is made with petrochemicals created with either oil or natural gas. Kiss you contact lenses, life-saving medical devices and medicines, and literally thousands of consumer products made with petrochemicals goodbye.

On top of all this, Sanders’ claim that the $16.3 trillion Green New Deal will pay for itself doesn’t add up unless he can also change the rules of arithmetic. That amount is about four times as big as the entire annual federal budget. Think the government can raise all that extra money without raising your taxes? Sorry, but that’s an impossible dream.


When Don Quixote tilted at windmills and made a fool of himself he didn’t hurt anyone. Proposals by Sanders, fellow democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and others to adopt a Green New Deal that would eliminate all fossil fuels and make other revolutionary changes would hurt every American.

These proposals might sound good at first glance, but when looked at more closely they are crazier than Don Quixote’s delusions. They should not be taken seriously, much less supported.