This article discusses the Green New Deal, which will cost far less than doing nothing. Republicans keep saying Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plan is too expensive. But their own plan—to ignore the climate crisis—is even more so.
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.”