Rep. Edwards’ column about House Bill 271 contains some factual errors and misleading statements.
The Green New Deal would not cost $93 trillion. Rep. Edwards attributes the figure to a Blooomberg.com article, which cites a 2019 American Action Forum report titled “The Green New Deal: Scope, Scale, and Implications” by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Dan Bosch, Ben Gitis, Dan Goldbeck, Philip Rossetti.
However, that report does not give a firm cost of the Green New Deal’s proposals. Instead, it gives a range for each segment of the GND: low-carbon electricity grid, net-zero emissions transportation, guaranteed jobs, universal health care, guaranteed green housing and food security. The report’s estimated costs of the individual segments add up to between $51.1 trillion and $92.9 trillion — the vast majority of which are based on assumptions about the cost of jobs and healthcare, not reducing carbon emissions.
Nor does the report compare the cost of action against costs related to climate change. For example, the Fourth National Climate Assessment estimated that unchecked rising temperatures would cause $3.6 trillion in damages to coastal properties by 2100. A global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius worldwide would cost $54 trillion by 2100, according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Green New Deal does not ban fossil fuels. It calls for measures to “eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible” in various sectors and to move toward “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”
Higher natural gas use has not reduced overall carbon emissions. Rep. Edwards correctly states that natural gas is cleaner relative to coal and oil. He goes on to say that replacing coal and oil with natural gas has “helped reduce carbon emissions to levels not seen since mid-1980,” but fails to note that those reductions apply only to emissions from power plants. Natural gas emissions in all sectors have risen 43% since 2005, equaling 505 million metric tons, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions — the same source Rep. Edwards cites.
On that web page, C2ES states: “To fully realize the potential climate benefits of natural gas, technologies and policies must be put in place to minimize methane leaks from natural gas production, gathering and processing, transmission and distribution, and LNG shipping….Additionally, in order to achieve mid-century net-zero climate goals, natural gas plants…will need to use carbon capture, utilization, and storage capabilities…by a date certain."