Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

EDITORIAL: Rep. Stauber misleads

The Green New Deal won’t leave Minnesotans huddled freezing in the dark

Posted

It can be painful to watch politicians intentionally mislead their constituents. Such was the case recently when Rep. Pete Stauber posted a nearly four-minute video clip online that’s full of disinformation on the Green New Deal— a set of policies designed to invest in the nation’s energy and transportation infrastructure, create millions of new high-paying jobs, and advance the nation’s transition to a carbon-neutral energy future.

Opinion polls have shown broad public support for the concept of the Green New Deal, which at this point remains a set of policy goals, with no legislation currently introduced.

But to hear Republicans, you’d think the Green New Deal was set for a vote on the House floor, and that its passage would leave Americans freezing in the dark in their own homes, unable to get to work in the morning.

It’s part of an ongoing effort by the GOP to not only paint Democrats who support the goals of the Green New Deal as radical, but to head off any progress on the issue of climate change in order to protect the fossil fuel industry, which has become the primary financial backer of the Republican Party.

Stauber’s cringe-worthy video, which is posted on Youtube, uses false data, false and exaggerated claims, and scare-mongering in hopes of undermining a positive vision for creating jobs, addressing climate change, and improving air and water quality, objectives that most Republicans in the age of Trump now adamantly oppose. Stauber claims that the Green New Deal would eliminate air travel, shipping, mining, and would require everyone to turn in their cars for electric vehicles and retrofit their homes to install windmills and solar panels. He really says these things, and it’s total nonsense.

In his video, Rep. Stauber gets his facts wrong on the state’s current energy mix, and falsely claims that the Green New Deal would prohibit the use of various forms of energy, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower, and gasoline. In fact, related legislation currently being developed in the House doesn’t prohibit any source of energy. The goal of the Green New Deal isn’t to eliminate all fossil fuels, but to transition over the next few decades to what is known as a net-zero carbon energy system by investing in non-carbon producing forms of energy and by deploying methods to remove carbon and other heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere. That can be as simple as planting more trees, which remove carbon from the air as they grow.

It isn’t just about producing energy in new ways. Getting the most benefit from the energy we do produce is actually more important. Keep in mind, we use power to derive some sort of benefit— a warm house, hot water, the use of lights and appliances, or a trip to the grocery store. In most cases, technologies already exist which could provide us the same benefits for considerably less energy. The Green New Deal would invest in such energy conserving technologies as well as in research and development of new ones.

Critics point out that the Green New Deal will be expensive, and that part is true. The kind of energy and societal changes that will be needed to head off the planet-altering and civilization-threatening impacts of climate change won’t come cheaply. But it’s actually far cheaper in the long run than ignoring the problem.

“Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.” That is among the conclusions of the 4th National Climate Assessment released last year by the Trump administration’s own scientists.

By investing up front in initiatives such as many of those proposed in the Green New Deal, we can create millions of good-paying jobs in the energy, transportation, and construction sectors, improve the nation’s energy efficiency, our air and water quality, and help to ensure a livable future for our children and grandchildren.

Those are undoubtedly reasons that the Green New Deal is supported by a large majority of Americans. And, unfortunately, it’s why politicians like Pete Stauber feel compelled to mislead their constituents. They’re afraid that if we knew the facts, we’d be demanding exactly these kinds of policies— and asking why the GOP is standing in the way.

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Scott Atwater

All things considered, Stauber is much more in touch with reality than Ocasio-Cortez, the champion of the Green New Deal.

Ten year estimates for a zero-carbon electricity grid would cost $5.4 trillion, a zero-emissions transportation system $1.3-$2.7 trillion. Guaranteed green housing $1.6 trillion to $4.2 trillion.

Hidden in the Green New Deal are proposals that have nothing to do with climate change and cost the most. The price tag for a federal guaranteed jobs program is estimated at $44.6 trillion over the next ten years. The medicare for all plan is $36 trillion over the same time period.

Ocasio-Cortez response when asked to comment on how these costs will be paid - " "Some people are like, 'Oh, it's unrealistic, oh it's fake, oh it doesn't address this little minute thing. And I'm like, 'You try! You do it.' 'Cause you're not. 'Cause you're not. So, until you do it, I'm the boss. How 'bout that?"

What this all means is that the Green New Deal would consume up to 35% of the nation's economy from 2020 to 2029. This is in addition to the existing federal government programs that account for more than 20% of GDP already.

Wednesday, March 20
ReidCarron

Gee, those are interesting numbers, Mr. Atwater. Could you please provide citations to your sources for the costs listed in your comment? And the quote you attribute to Representative Ocasio-Cortez seems out of character for her. She is usually quite articulate. Can you cite me to a video of her making that remark?

Wednesday, March 20
Scott Atwater

As I'm sure that you aware, Mr. Carron, the numbers I posted are estimates by the AAF. Unfortunately the Green New Deal as presented provides no costs whatsoever, so if you have alternate figures please feel free to post.

As requested, here is a a video of the congresswoman (who on another occasion couldn't manage to articulate the three branches of government) that I quoted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xo-T65Ioq0

Wednesday, March 20
ReidCarron

Mr. Atwater: Contrary to your assumption. I am unaware of the posting by anyone of the numbers that you included in your comment. The only "AAF" that I know of is the Association of American Football. I doubt that it has ventured into macroeconomic analysis. I do appreciate your sending the web address for the Ocasio-Cortez YouTube video. When seen in the context of her complete remarks, her words that you quoted are perfectly sensible and entirely correct. I thought of Teddy Roosevelt--a president from the days when the Republican Party was a respectable organization--and a speech he gave in April 1910: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly . . . . ." Representative Ocasio-Cortez is striving mightily to save the planet from greed and small-mindedness. I hope enough people step up to help her.

Thursday, March 21
jtormoen

Already the score is 2-0, but I shall follow this one to the end!

Thursday, March 21
Scott Atwater

Mr Carron, since only one organization has bothered to put forth cost estimates on the Green New Deal, it isn't all that difficult to find that information. The American Action Forum is run by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the non-partisan CBO from from 2003 to 2005. While many will dispute these cost estimates, perhaps those that fail to acknowledge the reality of these costs and the predictable negative impact on our economy better meet the definition of small-mindedness.

Thursday, March 21
jtormoen

Still 2-0

Thursday, March 21
ReidCarron

Mr. Atwater: Thank you for informing me of the source of the numbers you cited. I found the following to be of interest: "Republicans claim the "Green New Deal" would cost $93 trillion — a number that would dwarf the combined economic output of every nation on Earth. The figure is bogus. . . .The number originated with a report by a conservative think tank, American Action Forum, that made huge assumptions about how Democrats would implement their plan. But the $93 trillion figure does not appear anywhere in the think tank’s report — and AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin confessed he has no idea how much the Green New Deal would cost. 'Is it billions or trillions?' asked Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. 'Any precision past that is illusory.' " POLITICO (Zack Colman 03/10/2019)

Mr. Holtz-Eakin thus lays bare the fairy tale that the fact-free and corrupt Party of Koch Brothers is spinning. The obsession with cost is an attempt to mask the agenda, which is to preserve the empires of the fossil fuel billionaires--the party funders--and gut any sense of national community. Even if they were proceeding in good faith, which they are not, they would be Exhibit A for Oscar Wilde's definition of a cynic: "Someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing." I understand that not everyone values the idea of leaving a healthy planet and healthy societies for future generations--but I certainly hope that most people do.

Friday, March 22
jtormoen

Update: 3-0

Friday, March 22
Scott Atwater

Mr. Carron, thank you for your input and opinion on the only known Green New Deal cost estmates at this time. As I requested in my first reply to you, please post any alternate cost estimates that you may have on this important and probable life changing proposal. Perhaps Tormoen has some valuable insight on this as well......nah, scratch that.

Friday, March 22
jtormoen

Indeed I have keen insight ... the score has not changed!

Friday, March 22
ReidCarron

Mr. Atwater: I don't think any thoughtful person would attempt to attach cost estimates to the Green New Deal at this time because, as the editorial notes, "at this point [it] remains a set of policy goals, with no legislation currently introduced." To his credit, Mr. Holtz-Eakin acknowledged that, as noted in the Politico piece: " 'Is it billions or trillions?' asked Holtz-Eakin . . . 'Any precision past that is illusory.' " I suspect--I'm purely speculating--that ideologues on the AAF staff got out ahead of him in their zealotry. And, of course, any estimate of the cost of the Green New Deal is disingenuous if it fails to include the cost of doing nothing to slow and ultimately halt the now-relentless pace of global warming that is caused for the most part by the use of fossil fuels. What do those costs Include? Fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, food shortages, displaced people, wars in the Middle East and Africa, flooding in cities and along coasts--not to mention more raccoons in garbage cans north of Highway 2.

Friday, March 22
Scott Atwater

Mr. Carron, to be clear, is it your assertion that the AAF's cost estimates are intentionally inflated with the purpose of painting the Green New Deal as not feasible? And more importantly, is it also your assertion that the apparent primary goal of the Green New Deal, to "slow and ultimately halt" the effects attributed to the "global warming" hypothesis, proceed if the $93 trillion is found to be a correct estimate ? Please clarify these two points.

Saturday, March 23
Lee Peterson

The Green New Deal is a 14 page resolution introduced by Rep. Cortez and Sen. Markey that is basically meant to begin a sane discussion on what steps we need to take to maintain our planet as a decent, livable place. I listened to Stauber's 3 min. 52 sec. House floor speech a few times. He read it word for word. That so many lies can be packed into such a short speech is sad. But, it points out that a sane discussion cannot be held with this man. Stauber has staked out his position in line with the rest of the NRA/Republicans. He's adopted their tactic of nonstop lying. That's not a surprise.

Fortunately for us (and for the air we breathe), the NRA/Republicans are in the minority in Minnesota and at the national level. Unfortunately, the NRA/Republicans have become a majority in northern Minnesota. Regardless, we need to move forward with the honest representatives who have been elected to do a job. We need to accept that Stauber and the NRA/Republicans are not going to all of a sudden become honest and participate in sane discussions. Stauber's goofy speech and the way NRA/Republicans kowtow to nonstop lies illustrates that reality.

Saturday, March 23
ReidCarron

Mr. Atwater: A good friend of mine would say that the AAF numbers are so bizarre that "wrong" is an insufficient descriptor. Yes, I think they are intentionally inflated (although, "inflated", like "wrong", is hardly adequate to describe the level of dishonesty) and cynically used in service of the oligarchs. Your second question is flawed because the premise is without foundation. Green New Deal implementation can occur--if the Senate and the Executive Branch are returned to the hands of intelligent, public-spirited, moral people in future elections--by carefully-crafted legislation to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, invest more heavily in conservation and renewables, and encourage carbon sequestration by preservation of land and water. That's not pie in the sky. We just need to break the power of the fossil oligarchs. The StarTribune and MPR both carried an Associated Press article about the flooding of Offutt AFB in Nebraska, the home of our Strategic Air Command. I personally think that the US should always have the strongest military on Earth. Global warming challenges our military. Here's a pertinent part of the article:

"In the end, obviously, the waters were just too much. It took over everything we put up," Col. David Norton, who is in charge of facilities at the base, told an Associated Press reporter on a tour of the damage. "The speed at which it came in was shocking."

Though the headquarters of Strategic Command, which plays a central role in detecting and striking at global threats, wasn't damaged, the flooding provided a dramatic example of how climate change poses a national security threat, even as the Trump administration plays down the issue.

It is also a reminder that the kind of weather extremes escalating with climate change aren't limited to the coasts, said retired Rear Adm. David W. Titley, founder of both the Navy's Task Force on Climate Change and the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State University.

In a reference to President Trump's proposal to take money from the military construction budget to fund his proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, Titley said levees "are the kinds of walls we need."

The late-winter floods that have swept over Plains states starting last week — breaching levees, halting Amtrak trains, and killing at least three people — are also the second major inundation in less than a decade to hit the air base outside Omaha.

It would takes weeks or more for scientists to determine if the Plains flooding, or any weather disaster, was caused or worsened by climate change, which is occurring as emissions from coal, oil and gas alter the atmosphere. But federal agencies and scientists around the world agree that climate change already is making natural disasters more frequent, stronger and longer.

The military has warned in a series of reports under past administrations that climate change is a security threat on many fronts. That includes "through direct impacts on U.S. military infrastructure and by affecting factors, including food and water availability, that can exacerbate conflict outside U.S. borders," the federal government's grim climate report said last year.

Saturday, March 23
jtormoen

" the premise is without foundation" ... love the phrase, and oh so true.

Saturday, March 23
Scott Atwater

It is quite clear that by design the expenditures required for the Green New Deal were never meant to be talked about. Considering that the world is going to end in 12 years unless climate change is addressed, the costs are not important.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says so:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrd35t0arI4

Saturday, March 23
Reid Carron

I am fascinated by the obsession with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In the minds of the political right, a 29-year-old woman who has been in the House less than three months has emerged as the greatest threat to western civilization since Genghis Khan. I am also fascinated by the right's insistence that an obviously intentionally frivolous statement made for effect ("the world's going to end in 12 years") is implied to be evidence that someone is out of touch of with reality, all the while enthusiatically embracing Trump's blatantly obvious lies. Lots of examples exist, but this one in particular from George Stephanopoulos's interview of Rudy Giuliani came to mind:

GIULIANI: "And the Southern District says [to Michael Cohen] you can get out of jail if you do this, you've got three years now. There's a real motivation to sing like crazy. He's got to do a lot of singing to get out of the three years and he will say whatever he has to say. He's changed his story four or five times."

STEPHANOPOULOS: "So has the President."

GIULIANI: "The President's not under oath."

The contention that expenditures associated with the Green New Deal were never meant to be talked about is silly--sorry, but it is. Power generators, who are often some of the most enthusiastic supporters of fossil-free energy, talk about costs and benefits all the time. News articles appear almost daily that report on renewable energy costs and benefits. This is only one recent example: http://www.startribune.com/wind-solar-pairing-cuts-equipment-costs-increases-output/507239192/

I remain baffled by the resistance to ideas that benefit the country and everyone in it except the fossil fuel oligarchs and their bought-and-paid- for politicians.

Sunday, March 24
Scott Atwater

Just so there is no misunderstanding, Ocasio-Cortez is the best thing that could have happened to the GOP leading up to the 2020 election. Far-left elements like Ocasio-Cortez will divide the Democratic party as never before and I say bravo....the full blown socialist agenda is no longer hidden from the public.

AFL-CIO says the Green New Deal makes promises: “that are not achievable or realistic,” adding that the union “will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered.”

Patrick Moore, one of the original founders of Greenpeace: "It's a silly plan. That's why I suggested she was a pompous little twit. Twit meaning silly in the British lexicon and pompous meaning arrogant,"

"There is no climate crisis," Moore said. "There is weather and climate all around the world, and in fact, carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi told Politico on Wednesday. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”

Sunday, March 24
ReidCarron

Mr. Atwater: I refer you to Teddy Roosevelt, April 1910, cited previously. And to The Timberjay editorial The Establishment Bellows, posted originally on March 13, 2019.

Sunday, March 24
Scott Atwater

As I suspected.....No one really wants to discuss the details let alone go on record for supporting the Green New Deal.

Senate vote results on Green New Deal:

57 nay and 43 present.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6853499/Senate-votes-Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortezs-Green-New-Deal-57-0.html

Sunday, March 31
Lee Peterson

The majority of Americans agree that human caused climate change needs to be addressed. Most of us understand that it can be addressed. Even the U.S. Defense Department is on our side on this very serious problem. The NRA/Republicans are not capable of participating in a rational discussion that would lead to solutions. sa is a good example of this. Thank goodness sa is in the minority in the backward thinking department. The rest of us need to move on without these clowns.

Tuesday, April 2
Scott Atwater

Lee Petersen seems to think ( I used the term "think" for the sake of civility) that what the "majority" of people believe is a critical component of the scientific method. Maybe take a nap Lee, we all know what happens when you miss your nap.

Wednesday, April 3