- The Washington Times - Friday, March 29, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal runs 14 pages long. The Republican Study Committee is countering with a 13-page takedown.

The RSC, the caucus of conservatives in the U.S. House, has produced a background briefing document cataloguing the struggles and costs of meeting the Green New Deal’s lofty promises.

Among the difficulties is that using 100 percent renewable energy would require an electricity grid and storage options that don’t exist right now, costs could soar, and other parts of the environment might suffer.

Moving to entirely wind and solar energy for the U.S. would require more than 5 percent of U.S. soil to have capture technology on it, according to the RSC’s briefing, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times.

Meanwhile planting wind turbines requires concrete — and the cement needed for that also means greenhouse gas emissions, denting the Green New Deal’s hopes of an emissions-free economy, the RSC argued.

The RSC is a group of 140 conservatives. It’s chaired by Rep. Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican.

DOCUMENT: Read the Republican Study Committee's memo

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan lists goals but doesn’t delve deeply into how to achieve them.

In addition to a zero carbon emissions economy, it calls for retrofitting every building with green technology, and it calls for a massive overhaul of the social safety net, with a jobs guarantee for all Americans and an expansion of federal assistance for college, housing and health care.

Yet some important matters remain unsettled. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had released an explanatory memo suggesting that nuclear energy was verboten under the Green New Deal, and suggesting airplane traffic “stops becoming necessary.” But she quickly disavowed the memo after those specific plans took fire.

The RSC memo still takes aim at some of those plans, such as building out high-speed rail. The RSC pegs the cost of a nationwide rail network at as much as $2.5 trillion.

The paper also questions the role the U.S. plays in emissions, saying its per-person totals are dropping, China’s emissions are surging, and the upheaval the Green New Deal would spawn would only minimal global improvements.

“The elimination of U.S. carbon emissions would only reduce worldwide carbon emissions by 13 percent. The increase in emissions from the rest of the world during the same timeframe would completely offset the U.S.’s reduction,” the RSC study concluded.

The Senate has already rejected Green New Deal legislation in a 57-0 vote. Most Democrats ended up voting “present,” fearful of angering the party’s left wing yet unwilling to go on record backing the plan, and angry at being forced by GOP senators to take a stand.

In the House, Democratic leaders have said the Green New Deal is just one of what they expect to be a number of options for addressing climate change.

A new special committee convened this week, tasked with sorting out options and making recommendations to other committees.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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