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 that this valentine to socialism from Senator Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyWarren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release Flight attendant association warns climate change is increasing dangerous air turbulence MORE and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWarren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 Ocasio-Cortez knocks Republican over Kentucky trip: 'GOP thought they could catch us with a bluff' Ocasio-Cortez releases 'Green New Deal' short film MORE is already obsolete.

For the American people have already passed their Green New Deal, through the miracle of free market innovation — not in the House and Senate but in the Permian Basin, at the Bakken Formation and the Marcellus Shale. The left will not admit it, but the fact is Americans are living in a golden age of clean energy, right now.

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The natural gas revolution, made possible by both the discoveries of new reserves and the development of technologies 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, even total carbon emissions have increased by only 2 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions are not just rising slowly. They are actually falling in recent years.

The left has long 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 finally winning? Why? Because when the facts do not fit with the liberal political 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. Well, we have. Natural gas is clean.

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

It often seems like the liberal environmentalism is not scientific at all. They know as well as everyone else that if fully renewable energy sources such as wind and solar will ever become competitive and cost-effective, that day is decades away. They know that in the meantime 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, period, and renewables are good, period. But that is not science. It is a religion and a not very good one at that.

Countries such as Germany that have allowed their 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 German government now admits it will not achieve its goals to reduce emissions, yet the German people are still paying the highest energy prices on the continent. Hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending and artificially higher prices all in exchange for not much reduction in emissions. Unfortunately, that remains the approach the left wants to impose on the country with preposterous schemes such as the Green New Deal.

Rather that adopting an approach that has not worked, the United States should double down on what is already working. Happily, that is what President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE and his administration are already doing. His administration has increased permitting for pipeline infrastructure and extraction leases. He has opened federal lands to more drilling and allowed the consumers, engineers and entrepreneurs of the energy industry to drive progress toward a smaller global carbon footprint. With our domestic surplus, we can export American natural gas around the world and replace coal and oil now being burned internationally.

A future of natural gas-powered vehicles and ideally 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 in the earth now to meet our energy needs for years and years to come. The scientific, economic and political fact is that the American people and the world do not need a Green New Deal. We already have one.

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