Outside group finds 'Green New Deal' emissions target crashes government model
Reaching the "Green New Deal's" (GND) goal of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is practically impossible, according to an analysis using the government's own economic modeling.
The Heritage Foundation attempted to use the Energy Information Administration's National Energy Model to forecast the impact of steep carbon taxes aimed at reaching the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal that's supported by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. House Democrats, and a host of 2020 presidential candidates.
Not only did the model crash, it failed to approach anywhere near the goal outlined in the "GND." The closest Heritage was able to get was a 58 percent reduction in emissions, achieved through a $300 carbon tax -- taxes above $300 crashed the EIA's model.
"Carbon taxes above $300 (resulting in slightly above 50 percent CO2 reductions by 2050) cause the model to crash, and thus a 58 percent CO2 reduction from 2010 levels is the largest level we are able to model," the study's authors, Nicolas D. Loris and Kevin D. Dayaratna, wrote in the study published on Wednesday.
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Just a 58 percent reduction would, by 2040, cost the economy $15 trillion in lost gross domestic product and an average of 1.1 million jobs per year. The average family of four would also see a total income loss of $165,000, or nearly $8,000 each year.
Household energy expenses would also see an average increase of 30 percent. Worse, the rate of emissions reductions slowed substantially as Heritage progressively raised carbon taxes in its modeling -- indicating that Democrats will face increasing difficulty in reducing emissions as taxes reach higher levels.
The study came at a time when Democratic presidential candidates sounded the alarm on climate change and endorsed Ocasio-Cortez's ambitious -- yet controversial -- vision for preventing supposed catastrophes.
In her resolution for the "GND," Ocasio-Cortez pointed to a United Nations report which determined that global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius would lead to a host of bad outcomes. Those included mass migration, a loss of more than 99 percent of all the Earth's coral reefs, raging wildfires, and more than $500 billion in lost annual economic output just for the U.S.
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It's unclear, however, how much the "GND" would be able to halt those catastrophic impacts. Through a model that the U.N. has utilized, Heritage found that a 100 percent cut in emissions would only "have a negligible impact on global warming."
For Heritage's analysis, it assumed emissions reductions would be twice as effective as former President Obama's Interagency Working Group assumed in changing the climate. Yet and still, "the world would only be less than 0.2 degree Celsius cooler by the year 2100, and sea-level rise would be slowed by less than 2 centimeters."
The emissions target is just one aspect of the "GND" which also purports to guarantee "high-quality health care," affordable housing, and "economic security." An analysis by the right-leaning American Action Forum (AAF) incorporated other aspects of the plan and found that it could cost as much as $94 trillion. Like Heritage, though, AAF also said that the totality of the "GND's" costs was impossible to quantify and likely higher than the estimate it reached.
Because it's unclear how exactly Ocasio-Cortez intends to implement the emissions target, the economic costs could vary substantially. And according to Heritage's authors, their estimates pale in comparison to the trust costs.
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Ocasio-Cortez's office did not respond to Fox News' inquiry regarding implementation.
"Our cost estimates constitute a significant underestimate of the true costs of the Green New Deal as the carbon tax and regulations do not completely achieve the policy objectives outlined in the non-binding resolution," the study read.
"Furthermore, the analysis does not account for the direct taxpayer costs, as advocates want to pay for the Green New Deal through a massive stimulus-style package. Layers of additional regulations and mandates, such as the proposal’s objective to maximize energy efficiency for every new and existing building in the U.S., would drive costs even higher."
According to a fact sheet posted and quickly removed by Ocasio-Cortez's office, a carbon tax would only be "a tiny part" of the "GND's" goal of achieving emissions reductions. "We cannot simply tax gas and expect workers to figure out another way to get to work unless we’ve first created a better, more affordable option," the fact sheet read.
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It similarly claimed that "cap-and-trade," a policy scheme floated by former President Obama, would only be a "tiny part of the larger Green New Deal plan."
Despite its support among 2020 candidates, the "GND" faced dismal political prospects. Not only is the Senate dominated by Republicans, but the majority of Ocasio-Cortez's colleagues in the chamber also voted against bringing her resolution to a floor vote.
It's also faced intense criticism from President Trump -- nearly guaranteeing a veto -- and Republicans in both chambers of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has dubbed himself the "grim reaper" of socialism, an apparent response to proposals like the "GND."
In the House, the Republican Study Committee pushed a resolution that declared the proposal a "thinly veiled" attempt to usher in a socialist society and would violate the nation's core principles.
Ocasio-Cortez has dismissed critics as overly-pessimistic about the "GND's" pricetag, likening them to "Dr. Evil" who laughably demanded outrageous ransoms in the "Austin Powers" movie.
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In a video narrated from the future, Ocasio-Cortez portrayed herself and her climate plan as a success despite naysayers' objections.
"Lots of people gave up, they said we were doomed," she said after blaming fossil fuel companies like Exxon for saddling the public with the cost of climate issues. "But some of us remembered that as a nation, we'd been in peril before — the Great Depression, WWII — we knew from our history how to pull together to overcome impossible odds."