Following the Republican sweep in last year’s election, the Environmentalist Left is now experiencing a total meltdown. “World War III is well and truly underway. And we are losing,” wrote Bill McKibben, founder of the climate activist group 350.org, and a key member of the Democrats’ platform committee last year.
Indeed, as President Trump and GOP leaders breathe new life into the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, left-wing environmentalists are pushing their anti-fossil fuel “Keep it in the Ground” movement even further out of the mainstream with a proposal, called “The Solutions Project.”
Conceived by Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson and endorsed by McKibben and others, The Solutions Project is a plan to move America to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. McKibben offered glowing praise for the proposal in a recent op-ed, saying it comes “as close to winning this war [on climate change] as we could plausibly get.”
What McKibben and his allies fail to tell Americans is that Jacobson’s plan would totally devastate the U.S. economy to the tune of 4 million lost jobs, and would be a land grab the size of North Dakota, as a new AR2 white paper makes clear.
Jacobson buries these details deep in his long report and offers scant analysis or consideration of the costs. He casually notes the project will cost $14.6 trillion – or $429 billion per year if spent equally over the 34 years between now and 2050.
Jacobson also waves off the 4 million lost jobs in traditional energy industries by suggesting the U.S. will see a net gain in jobs from wind and solar. What he doesn’t tell readers is that workers in those potential new jobs will make $10,000 a year less on average than those working today in the current energy field.
In his op-ed supporting the plan, McKibben suggests that powering America with 100 percent renewable energy requires a miniscule amount of land. The actual figure? About two percent of U.S. landmass – the size of North Dakota (or 1.5 New Yorks, or 7.5 Vermonts.)
What’s more, even if this radical proposal were somehow muscled through Congress and the White House, their so-called Solutions Project would require a near-impossible pace of development over 34 years: 40 wind turbines per day, four full-sized solar plants per day, and 6,000 solar roof installations every day for 34 years.
Instead of learning the lessons of 2016 and speaking directly to the concerns of American workers – particularly in the industrial Midwest – the Environmentalist Left is doubling-down on an extreme, anti-human agenda. This is the alternate reality they have created for themselves for 2017 and beyond: a world free of both fossil fuels and common sense.
Brian Rogers is Executive Director of America Rising Squared (AR2), a conservative-based policy organization. He can be found on Twitter @brianrogers99