The Green New Deal is an extreme proposal introduced earlier this year by a number of our Democrat colleagues in a misguided attempt to reduce carbon emissions. It would require the U.S. to switch to 100 percent renewable energy within 10 years and would dramatically change nearly every aspect of our lives—from how we consume and produce energy to how we use transportation to how farmers manage their crops and raise livestock. It will also cost roughly $93 trillion over the next 10 years. That is more money than the federal government has spent in the entire history of our nation.
Under this plan, each household in the country would have to cough up $65,000 per year to cover the tab. Keep in mind, the median yearly household income in South Dakota is $54,126. The Green New Deal would bankrupt our nation and allow the government to control most parts of our lives. When I talk with South Dakotans, the majority of them tell me they want less government intrusion into their lives, not more. Clearly the authors of the Green New Deal didn’t check with rural America before they introduced their plan.
The Green New Deal calls for the total elimination of carbon emissions, including methane emissions from cows, chickens and other livestock. Many families in South Dakota make their livelihood raising livestock. Farmers and ranchers in the U.S. are producing more food and fuel for an ever-growing global population while using less water and conserving their land for future generations. Farmers and ranchers should be commended for working toward greater sustainability. Instead, the Green New Deal would put them out of business. At a time when farm income is down 50 percent over the past five years, implementing ridiculous rules to stop livestock methane emissions is the last thing ag producers should have to worry about.
The Green New Deal supporters won’t tell you this, but even if their plan were implemented, it wouldn’t change the earth’s climate and there would be no real effect on the earth’s temperature. This is because other high-population countries are emitting greenhouse gases at a far faster rate than the U.S. In 2017, the U.S. produced just 13 percent of global emissions. Conversely, China and India produced 33 percent of global emissions and their numbers continue to rise. Without drastic emissions cuts from other countries, the overall emissions number will continue to rise—even if the economy-crushing Green New Deal was implemented in the U.S.
The Senate recently voted on the Green New Deal, but it failed with a vote of 0-57. Republicans all voted against moving forward with the resolution, while 43 of our Democrat colleagues voted “present” rather than “yes,” even though 13 of them cosponsored the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal would send our strong, healthy economy into a tailspin in an attempt to address climate change concerns. It would dramatically increase the size and scope of the federal government and give Washington more control of our everyday lives. It is not a serious proposal.
When it comes to climate change, we agree that the climate is changing, just as it has since the dawn of time. However, I believe the best way to address the changing climate is through American innovation, not by unrealistic, unaffordable government mandates. Reducing pollution, including many of the emissions blamed for climate change, makes sense but we cannot destroy our nation’s economy in doing so.
—By Sen. Mike Rounds