The new Democratic majority that takes power in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday plans, among other quixotic efforts, to repeal the laws of thermodynamics.
That is the implication of efforts to pass a “Green New Deal,” the program championed by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who claims her plan will create millions of new jobs while moving the U.S. to 100% renewable energy sources within a mere ten years.
It is important to understand just how absurd that claim is.
California, by far the most ambitious state in terms of climate change policy, passed a law last year requiring itself to move to 100% renewable energy by 2045, more than 25 years from now — and has no idea how to do it. (Wind and solar energy count towards the goal, but the law, SB 100, actually discourages hydroelectric power, which involves building dams that environmentalists do not like).
The problem is not just that wind and solar energy still cost more than energy from traditional fossil fuel sources — which have become cleaner and more efficient as our economy has transitioned to natural gas, thanks in part to the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) that many “progressive” Democrats have opposed. The problem is also that there is simply not enough energy in renewables for our needs, especially as the American economy continues to grow.
The laws of thermodynamics state, among other things, that energy cannot be created or destroyed, and that entropy in the universe always increases and never decreases.
What that all means in practical terms, according to scientist Lindsey Leveen, is that “nothing comes for free,” and that no matter what promises politicians like Al Gore make, there is no way to squeeze enough energy out of renewables, or to store it in batteries, to replace fossil fuels completely.
Advocates of the “Green New Deal” argue that we can achieve its goals if we pour the same energy into it as we did with the moon landing or the Manhattan Project. But we knew in those cases, from the outset, that the science would work. The moon shot and atomic bomb were engineering problems. The Green New Deal is a scientific problem, or more precisely a thermodynamic problem. No matter how hard try, we will be wasting time and money.
That is not to say all new green technologies are a waste. Some have been modestly successful. But the “Green New Deal” is not really concerned about the kinds of incremental improvements that might be possible. It aims at centralized planning for the entire economy, implementing socialist economics using the pretext of environmental crisis. As Breitbart News has noted, this is not a new idea: it dates to Barack Obama, and really to Karl Marx.
That is precisely why the left — supposedly the party of “science” — loves the idea. It is the old, rancid socialist wine in shiny new green bottles.
And it is apparently a wedge issue in Democratic politics. HuffPost published a poll Thursday morning suggesting that opposing the “Green New Deal” could “cost [a] popular Democratic lawmaker her job” in a suburban congressional district in New York’s Long Island, where Democrats like the idea.
To be blunt, asking Democratic voters whether they support something called the “Green New Deal” is like the scene in Crazy People where Dudley Moore asks the inmates in an asylum who wants to be a fire engine, and they all raise their hands.
The “Green New Deal” is a good brand, combining two things Democrats have been conditioned to like. But it cannot work unless Democrats repeal the laws of thermodynamics. Good luck with that.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.