Energy

The Green New Deal Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon, Despite What Chuck Schumer Wants

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
  • Senate Democrats are trying to shield themselves from voting on the Green New Deal.
  • However, Republicans and environmentalists will make sure the Green New Deal sticks around through 2020.
  • “Both the GOP and Democrats will love to denounce and praise it,” said one political observer.

Democrats are trying to shake off the specter of the Green New Deal, but the sweeping climate change manifesto is unlikely to disappear from the public discourse anytime soon.

Environmental activists and Republicans will make sure of that.

“Get ready for the Green New Deal to be one of the biggest buzzwords in electoral politics in decades,” said Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot. “Both the GOP and Democrats will love to denounce and praise it.”

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed the Green New Deal as the “green dream,” and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out his plan to The New York Times to distract from the Green New Deal going on the “offensive” on climate change.

Schumer’s plan includes having Democratic Senators vote “present” on the Green New Deal, promoting a watered-down alternative resolution and weekly floor speeches on climate change.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to the media after a Senate Democratic Caucus lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to the media after a Senate Democratic Caucus lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

“This is the first time Democrats have decided to go on offense on climate change,” Schumer told The Times in an interview published Monday.

Schumer’s ultimate goal is to make climate change a top issue in 2020, but will he be able to do it on his terms and avoid being tied to Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s radical plan? Not everyone thinks so. (RELATED: Top Republican Bashes Democrats For Ignoring House Rules To Hold Hearings On Climate Change)

“Once you issue a manifesto, and that is irreducibly what the Green New Deal is, it becomes a measuring stick for advocates, allies and opponents,” McKenna said. “You can’t negotiate over it, and you can’t abandon it. It is a burn the boats moment.”

For starters, Environmental activists, mainly with the Sunrise Movement, have been pressing Democratic lawmakers for months to support the Green New Deal. That mobilization is unlikely to disappear overnight.

“The environmental left has for decades been pushing central planning, wealth redistribution and limits to sovereignty as the ‘solution’ to a host of real and perceived environmental issues,” Morano told TheDCNF.

The Green New Deal resolution, introduced by Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey in February, is only the latest iteration of that, Morano said.

U.S. Representative Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey hold a news conference for their proposed "Green New Deal" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed “Green New Deal” to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

Green New Deal supporters see it as the only real way to tackle climate change, dramatically shifting the U.S. economy to “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions, organized around “social justice” concerns.

On top of that, a number of 2020 presidential hopefuls have embraced the Green New Deal, including Democratic Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California as well as Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

That means, at the very least, the Green New Deal will likely be used as a talking point for Democrats in 2020, though they will likely keep it vague. Expect Republicans to constantly bring it up as well.

“Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution will be the main focus of debate for several years at least because it is the first document that lays out the Green Leap Backward honestly and publicly,” said Myron Ebell, a Green New Deal opponent and director of energy policy at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Republicans see Green New Deal support as a major vulnerability to Democrats in 2020. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to bring the resolution to a vote, confident of its defeat.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S., March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

“The Green New Deal, I encourage it,” Trump joked during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday. “I think it’s really something that they should promote.”

“No planes. No energy. When the wind stops blowing, that is the end of your electric,” Trump added.

As conservative strategists see it, tying Democrats to the Green New Deal is tying them to “socialist” policies that have catastrophically failed in many countries, most recently in Venezuela.

“The authors of the Green New Deal have made it clear that they oppose a significant chunk of what has made America,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist.

“So of course we are talk about it in every campaign and every policy discussion until collectivism is stamped out,” McKenna added.

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