Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Proposes ‘Zero-Carbon Airplanes’

Solar Impulse 2 (Jean Revillard / Getty)
Jean Revillard / Getty

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) suggested Thursday at a town hall meeting in Queens, New York, that the U.S. should develop “zero-carbon airplanes” as part of a push to solve the problem of climate change.

After answering a question about a proposed monorail to deal with climate change, she declared:

When it comes to the Green New Deal, people are, like — and of course, they come from this zero-sum mentality: “We’re going to take away your hamburgers. We’re going to take away your airplanes. We’re going to take away all of these things.” And really, what this is asking us is what are we going to make, not what are we going to take away — what are we going to establish. And, frankly, for everyone who says a Green New Deal is going to ground planes, I guarantee you, climate change — which threatens storms, turbulence, airplane groundings, and airport closures — will ground airplanes far sooner and far worse than any sort of climate legislation ever would if we made, for example, scientific investments in zero-carbon airplanes and flights and things like that, which, I believe, at some point, you know, hopefully we’ll be able to create that kind of technology. But it takes thinking like this to do it. So, thank you.

Last week, Forbes described the current state of engineering regarding “zero-emission airplanes.” Currently, there are small, battery-operated aircraft that are capable of making short trips. Airbus plans to introduce a prototype of a commercial-size hybrid aircraft in 2021 that uses three traditional jet fuel engines and one electric one, though the design is not expected to be in commercial use for two decades — far beyond the Green New Deal’s 12-year horizon.

Forbes concluded: “Many experts predict that electric planes could be relatively commonplace within 20 years. However, they will likely be small planes that can hold around 100 passengers and will fly mostly between regional airports.”

There is no feasible solution — yet — for long-distance commercial flight involving large numbers of passengers or significant cargo loads that does not involve the use of jet fuel.

In 2016, the Solar Impulse 2 (above), a solar-powered aircraft, circumnavigated the globe — but the journey took more than four months and the aircraft could only fly in good weather. In addition, it only weighed about 2 tons.

Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion (via the Washington Free Beacon) came at the same town hall meeting at which she was urged by a prankster to adopt a new campaign slogan, “Eat the Babies,” to convey the urgency of climate change, which could end the world in the near future.

The prank took in many observers — including Ocasio-Cortez herself — partly because the proposal resembles some of the more creative ideas that the representative has proposed to deal with the problem of climate change. In the past, for example, Ocasio-Cortez has said that she planned to have “one less child” for fear of the impacts of climate change. (A fringe group, LaRouche PAC, later claimed credit for the “eat the babies” prank.)

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. 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.

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