Nothing new in the Green New Deal

We are in Florida this week with our youngest son, Gregory, and his family of four children. Our course we went to Walt Disney World. At the Magic Kingdom one of the attractions is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. This attraction was originally at the New York City World’s Fair in 1964. It follows an American family from the turn of the 20th Century to present day. Disney claims this is the longest continuously running stage show in the history of theatre. The characters are all audio animatronic and look very realistic. Quite a feat in 1964.

The first scene is set in about 1902. The father talks about how good they have it. They now have gas lights and a kitchen stove fueled by coal. The Wright Brothers are working on a flying contraption. “That young inventor, Thomas Edison” has developed an electric light. There are about 8,000 cars in the USA. A train trip from New York to California takes only 7 days. The wife and daughter were doing the laundry with a hand cranked wringer washer and then hanging it outside to dry. This worked fine until it started raining.

I have seen this show a lot since our family started going to Disney in 1983. Gregory was 4 at the time. This time was different. The first scene reminded me of the “Green New Deal” (GND) introduced in Congress this year by a group of Democratic Senators and Congressman and women many from New England, New York and California. The goal of GND is to have ALL electricity in the USA generated by renewables in 10 years. The GND that I read eliminates ALL coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear power for electricity generation, meaning we have NO electricity when the sun isn’t shining or wind isn’t blowing. Batteries require petrochemicals from fossil fuels to exist. The Green “New” Deal is NOT new. We have lived this way before. Welcome back 1902!

Those supporting the GND might be thrilled by the low carbon foot print of human powered washing machines, clothes lines, sailing ships, wood powered trains and horse drawn trollies. They haven’t had the courage to tell the people they represent this is where they are going and what it will cost. Californians are already paying $0.25 per kwh of electricity. We are paying $0.11 per kwh. Imagine what this would do to families and people on fixed incomes.

As an environmental engineer, I am NOT thrilled about going back to 1902. There is a much bigger picture than just a low carbon footprint.

The nation of Haiti has a low carbon footprint. People live in abject poverty. They cut down their trees for fuel like we did in 1902. With Earth Day, tomorrow it is important to think about the kind of world we all want our children and grandchildren to have. We all want clean air and clean water. In 1902, we had neither. Sanitation was a major issue. We didn’t have sewage treatment plants. Our streets were full of horse manure. Rivers were sewers for our waste. The air was black with soot from burning coal and wood. Cities were dark dirty places. The Green New Deal is NOT green. Will people be cutting down trees to keep their families warm?

Today our air and water is cleaner than it has ever been in my life. People live longer and are healthier than in 1902. This is because of fossil fuels and petrochemicals. It takes dependable energy 24/7 to run a sewage treatment plant.

It takes fossil fuels to produce the chemicals to clean and sanitize our water. Renewables can’t work for electricity 24 hours a day without a back-up power source. They CANNOT produce petrochemicals to build the modern automobiles and trains that are faster and cleaner than what we had in 1902. Petrochemicals produce modern medical equipment and pharmaceuticals that keep people alive. Asthma or a bee sting isn’t a death sentence today.

We have come a long way and we can still do more. This isn’t about politics. It is about sound engineering and common sense. Countries like China, India and developing countries are still pouring pollutants into the water and atmosphere. If we don’t do something to help these nations we are all in trouble.

To solve our global environmental problems will require leadership by individuals and organizations. Governments and most environmental groups have shown they are clueless on how to do this. It will require technical solutions that are cost effective making people want to implement them. Solutions that won’t increase costs and lower the standard of living for everyday folks like the GND is proposing to do. This requires creativity. Shale Crescent USA is working hard to bring organizations to our Region that will create jobs, increase tax revenues AND IMPROVE the environment.

Our children and grandchildren deserve clean air and clean water. They also deserve good jobs and economic opportunity. They deserve to take their children on vacation to Disney World or to the beach if they choose. Almost all of the products in the final scene of the Carousel of Progress were petrochemical based. We have come a long way.

We can’t be silent. Our children deserve more than the GND, actually the “Dirty Old Deal” (DOD). We don’t need government or “environmental” groups to tell us HOW to solve our problems. We know how. In the USA, we have created the cleanest environment and the greatest prosperity on the planet. Working together we can help the rest of the world do the same. Thoughts to ponder.

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Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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