The government is not your climate change savior
Once again, the real motive of climate alarmism finds its way out of the shadows of the Green New Deal and manifests itself in calls to uproot, destroy, and reshape our current tools for change and do away with them entirely. In its place would come a government that seeks to regulate everything, not just the climate.
We’ve seen how awful the government can be at preparing and responding to a major crisis. Take, for instance, COVID-19. Everything about the coronavirus pandemic that has been botched was, in large part, because of the government response. What makes us think that the government can take on climate change? If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that those best equipped to handle major issues are those responsible, innovative, go-getting individuals who truly seek to make the world better by taking matters into their own hands — and their wallets.
Before someone accuses me of missing the point about the shortfalls of “green capitalism” and how no matter how much we produce and consume, pollution will always rise, I understand it entirely. And that is exactly why I’m writing. I’m writing because while there is no one perfect solution that can ever solve our biggest climate problems, you’d be sorely mistaken to think that throwing away the system that we do have is a good idea.
Capitalism brought cheap nuclear energy to the market, introduced cap and trade, made Tesla mainstream, and brought us laptops and phones made from recycled aluminum and recovered parts from older devices. These are a mere sampling of products that green innovation produced. Ideally, we would ease government restrictions to allow for more robust public-private partnerships that unleash the potential for true environmental progress. Partnerships that include more actors, not less as suggested by Green New Deal proponents, are proven to produce better results in the environmental industry. We are well on our way toward a green future, led by the private sector. Throwing this system away is not the answer.
Throwing that away will send us centuries backward as a society, and the resulting “solution” will undoubtedly be far less sustainable than what we have today. The real solution to fixing our climate problems is more of what we have now. We need more people to get involved in developing green technologies. We need to support and subsidize businesses that seek to adopt green practices. We need to incentivize the green options in our economy. Taking that responsibility, that opportunity, away from businesses and shifting responsibility on to the government will look a lot like the coronavirus situation: inconsistency, incompetence, and an utter lack of ingenuity.
Of course, that is the goal of the Green New Deal and its proponents. It seeks to stifle innovation for the sake of the one-size-fits-all approach, where we might dramatically reduce carbon emissions yet leave millions in the dust.
The sheer cost of the Green New Deal is enough to raise taxes on all groups and disproportionately affect our most vulnerable populations by taking more of their money for an unsustainable long-term climate program. This is a movement that seeks an utterly utopian society, where the one force for change is the government, and everyone under the government must be on board.
In our own lifetime, we’ve been privileged enough to witness some of the wonderful environmental achievements that will be sustainable for generations to come. By no means will we fix the problem tomorrow, but the poorly thought out Green New Deal will not save us. Human ingenuity has carried us this far and will only continue to carry us toward a sustainable, green future. It is our responsibility, not simply our right, to use what we already have in place to do better and to build a better future that takes us beyond the 21st century, not backward.
Brendan Flaherty is a senior at Saint Anselm College majoring in politics with a minor in public policy studies. He is an activist with the American Conservation Coalition.