May 3, 2019
The Green New Deal Costs Less Than Doing Nothing
EPIC's Amir Jina comments on the potential costs of climate change and action to mitigate it.
By Dave Levitanvia The New Republic
Ninety-three trillion dollars is a lot of money. It’s more than the entire globe’s gross domestic product.
It is also, if you ask many Republicans, how much the Green New Deal would cost over the course of a decade. Senators Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Thom Tillis have cited that number of late, as have their colleagues in the House, like rising star Dan Crenshaw. The GOP’s Twitter account can’t shut up about it, either.
The $93 trillion figure was dreamed up by a conservative think tank. To get there, the American Action Forum added $5.4 trillion for a low-carbon electricity grid, $2.7 trillion for a net-zero emissions system, and $4.2 trillion for green housing—which, fair enough. But then AAF added $36 trillion for “universal health care,” an estimate from a study by the AAF-linked Center for Health and Economy, and $45 trillion for a jobs guarantee.* More importantly, AAF refused to consider any net economic benefits from transitioning away from fossil fuels and zeroing out emissions. And why would they? As Amir Jina, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies, told me, “You say any number like $93 trillion, people’s eyebrows are going to rise.”
Democrats are trying to correct this disinformation campaign. Senator Ed Markey, who introduced the Green New Deal resolution along with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called $93 trillion “a total fabrication.” And other legislators have started talking about the costs of inaction on climate change. But the Democrats aren’t doing enough to hammer home how expensive the Republican alternative to the Green New Deal really is. Here’s how much it will cost America to do nothing about the climate crisis.