The Green New Deal is a sprawling wish list of humongous public undertakings and shoehorned liberal priorities.

It calls for audacious new demands on farming, manufacturing, construction, energy, transportation — pretty much anyone who makes or moves goods.

To combat climate change, it says, the United States must fundamentally transform its economy.

But it’s hard to take the whole proposal seriously.

For one thing, the proposal would have no teeth.

The House resolution — it’s not a bill — would merely declare that creating a climate change plan is a priority and serve as a springboard for further discussion.

And rarely has a vision so grandiose been delivered by someone so unauthoritative.

Resolution sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is a just-elected congresswoman with a penchant for gonzo claims.

But more concerning than the optics is the way the program’s majestic goals would be advanced.

Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a 10-year, World War II-style mobilization of the economy, which sounds undemocratic toward businesses and expensive for everyone.

Renovating every building in the country for energy efficiency would be a crazy enough prospect on its own, but it’s just the start of the demands from the Green Leap Forward.

Curiously, the Green New Deal is presented above all not as an environmental plan but as a crusade for jobs and social justice.

To distract, apparently, from the threat of an exploding cost of living, the Green Leap Forward promises to create “millions of good, high-wage jobs” and to help all kinds of disadvantaged people.

That latter task would include redressing historical wrongs against Native Americans, favoring labor unions, and guaranteeing everyone in the country “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security.”

Overpromising much?

Of course, while Ocasio-Cortez is promising 11 chickens in every pot, she also wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the farms raising those chickens.

The Green New Deal proposes working “collaboratively” with farmers to improve soil health, which is a worthy goal.

But the resolution also encourages “sustainable farming” and “family farming,” terms that bode ill for most livestock farmers.

Almost all farms, including many big ones, are already family owned, but some people associate contract production and large scale with corporate farming.

Ocasio-Cortez reportedly has said the Green New Deal needs to address “factory farming.”

The Green New Deal does not, however, call for the end of cattle production.

Some critics have inferred such an outcome based on a now-retracted factsheet that was briefly posted on Ocasio-Cortez’s website.

“We aren’t sure that we will be able to fully get rid of, for example, emissions from cows or air travel” within 10 years, the factsheet read.

Ocasio-Cortez has described the document as a draft that wasn’t supposed to be published, and her spokesman told The Washington Post that the claim was “literally — clearly — irony.”

It’s true that the congresswoman of three months has, in the Post’s words, “shown a tendency to exaggerate or misstate basic facts.”

But the irony claim is a little rich even for her, given that (a) policy statements are always serious documents, and (b) the supposedly ironic passage is written in the same straightforward style as the rest of the document.

Ocasio-Cortez has since said the Green New Deal proposal is limited to the text of the resolution she introduced.

Such a fine distinction may make little difference to the 40 percent of U.S. adults who, according to Yale University, still aren’t worried about global warming.

For some, the obscurity and ticklishness of climate change remains a barrier to belief.

After all, climate change is said to be affecting the weather, yet it’s hard to definitively blame a particular storm on climate change.

A trillion-dollar response to warming would be an even harder sell.

If the moonshot actually works, people may barely notice its effects. But if the U.S. doesn’t spend like a gambler in the next 10 years, it seems that people will die of heatstroke watching Delaware slip beneath the surf.

Still, if one supposes — either as an article of faith or for the sake of argument — that humans are causing disastrous climatic warming, it follows that the U.S. can, and maybe should, think about doing something about it.

Should the submersion of Cape Henlopen leave farmers unmoved, the threat of increasingly violent storms, protracted dry periods and proliferating wildfires could convince some to adapt.

Granted, farmers are getting more efficient with resources every year, and a warming climate could actually help Northeastern farmers by lengthening the season.

People in arid parts of the world might not be so lucky. As the Green New Deal acknowledges, increasing droughts could lead to instability that could export problems to the United States.

If the scale of suffering will be as vast as scientists predict, a major effort to limit climate change may be warranted — provided it can avoid the heavy-handedness of a Soviet five-year plan.

As in any negotiation, the opening salvo stakes out an extreme position that will be watered down over the course of the debate.

But considering where Ocasio-Cortez has placed the goalposts, moderation may be almost as tough for Americans to swallow.


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