Green New Deal has a dirty secret

The dirty little secret of the Green New Deal is not that it is an unserious proposal that has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with the sense of entitlement of elite progressives. That is not a secret at all. It is common knowledge. The secret of the Green New Deal is this valentine to socialism from Senator Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate set to bypass Iran fight amid growing tensions Young activists press for change in 2020 election Hillicon Valley: House panel advances election security bill | GOP senator targets YouTube with bill on child exploitation | Hicks told Congress Trump camp felt 'relief' after release of Clinton docs | Commerce blacklists five Chinese tech groups MORE and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLawmakers 'failed us' says ICE chief Pelosi, Democratic leaders seek to quell liberal revolt over border bill Bronx restaurants thank Ocasio-Cortez for her endorsements MORE is already obsolete. The American people have already passed their Green New Deal through the miracle of free market innovation. It did not happen in Congress, but in the Permian Basin, the Bakken Formation, and the Marcellus Shale. The left will not admit it, but the fact is that we are living in a golden age of clean energy right now.

The natural gas revolution, made possible by the discovery of new reserves and the technology to extract it from previously inaccessible deposits, has helped the United States cut pollutant emissions by 70 percent over the last three decades. Despite adding almost 100 million people to our population since 1990, an increase of 30 percent, total carbon emissions have only increased by 2 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions are not just rising slowly. They have fallen in recent years.

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The left has said we need to treat climate change and environmental protection as the moral equivalent of war. If that is true, where are the celebrations now that it is a battle we are winning? When the facts do not fit with the liberal narrative, they often print the narrative as fake news. Progressives said we need to find new clean sources of energy to get us away from coal and oil. We already found that in natural gas.

According to the climate group Carbon Brief, the use of natural gas has cut 50 percent more emissions than wind and solar power combined. Natural gas also has negligible local pollutants, 50 percent less carbon emissions than coal, and 30 percent less carbon emissions than oil. What is not clean is the record on the left of opposing the development of regions rich in natural gas and infrastructure such as pipelines needed to further lower the costs of energy to consumers and the environment.

It often seems like liberal environmentalism is not scientific at all. Those on the left know as well as everyone else that if fully renewable energy sources like wind and solar power will ever become competitive and cost effective that day is decades away. They know that right now natural gas is answering the demands of our growing economy and the societal call to develop cleaner sources of fuel. But they do not care. They simply know in their hearts that all fossil fuels are bad and that all renewables are good. But that is not science. It is a religion and not a very good one at that.

Countries like Germany that have allowed energy policy to be determined by feelings instead of facts are moving in the wrong direction. Despite spending massive amounts of money on clean energy reforms, Germany remains the largest consumer of coal in Europe. The government admits it will not achieve its goals to reduce emissions, yet the German people are still paying the highest energy prices on the continent. There was so much federal spending and artificially higher prices in exchange for not much reduction in emissions. But sadly that remains the approach the left wants to impose on us with preposterous schemes like the Green New Deal.

Rather than taking an approach that has been proven not to work, we should double down on what is already working. Fortunately, this is what President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE and his administration are already doing by increasing permits for pipeline infrastructure and extraction leases. He has opened federal lands to more drilling and has allowed consumers, engineers, and entrepreneurs in the energy industry to drive progress toward a smaller global carbon footprint. With our domestic surplus, we can export natural gas around the world and replace coal and oil burned internationally.

A future of vehicles powered by natural gas and more extraction of natural gas from Europe, Asia, and Africa could accomplish more in a decade than what the “no fossil fuel” zealots have done in five years. There is enough natural gas to meet our energy needs for years to come. The scientific, economic, and political fact is that the American people and the world do not need a Green New Deal. Why? We already have one.

Jim DeMint served as a United States senator from South Carolina.