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Jeopardy - Green New Deal

image credit: © Rob Speekenbrink | Tedxdelft.com

 

What better of a way to talk about the Green New Deal than by comparing it to America’s favorite guessing game? We’ve seen talking heads coast to coast debate the merits of this idea to revolutionize the energy grid, many of whom who haven’t thought twice about how their iPhone gets charged at night. While the game of Jeopardy operates in fact base questions, there seems to be a lack of understanding about what is truly being proposed in Congress. I am not in the business of influencing politics (thankfully), but when politics encroach upon the energy markets, I feel obligated to analyze the risks. No one rivals Alex Trebek, but I enjoy discussing energy markets and how the government may affect them.

Category: The State of Green

$200: This is the fastest growing electricity source … “What is, Wind Energy.”

$400: 2018 was equal to this past year for national CO2 emissions … “What is, 1992.”

$600: Since 2005, 66% of America’s total reduction in CO2 emissions has come from the help of this fuel source … “What is Natural Gas.”

$800: This US State has seen the largest generation of non-hydro renewable energy … “What is, Texas.”

$1000: This beer-loving European country has implemented similar, national energy initiatives … “What is, Germany.”

America has taken great strides to reduce its’ carbon footprint. This has mainly been due to free market natural gas prices becoming cheaper than coal prices, and infrastructure changes will continue to reinforce this.

Category: “Bright” Green Ideas

$400: The 2019 Green New Deal wants the U.S. to have net-zero carbon emissions by this year … “What is, 2030.”

$800: This bovine by-product’s, environmental impact has become a source of mockery …  “What is, methane.”

$1200: This type of taxation has been proposed to pay for a Green New Deal … “What is, a Carbon Tax.”

$1600: This amount of technical, grid solutions have been proposed in the Green New Deal … “What is, Zero.”

$2000 (Daily Double): This has been the rumored price tag for the Green New Deal energy changes … “What is, $15-25 Trillion” (Any number will be accepted due to hypothetical nature of the question).

While details are slim in the Green New Deal, opponents argue that the proposal is a non-starter, for we do not currently have sufficient green technology to meet the physical realities of the fluctuating grid (especially without increased nuclear power). Proponents argue that the death of our planet, and the potential for a $500 billion reduction in GDP, due to climate change, make the cost of the Green New Deal irrelevant. Click here for an open minded Twitter thread on the logistics of the topic. The fate of the planet very well could be a question that only Alex Trebek has the answer to.

Final Jeopardy Category: Greener Pastures?

Question: This term can best be used to describe the current conversation about the Green New Deal relating to energy? … (Catchy final tune)…  “What is, Symbolic.”

At the end of the day, there is no indication that we are nearing the passing of any federal legislation for green energy (outside of existing subsidies). Recently, voters in the state of Washington voted down a proposed carbon tax. Other legislation like the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) proposal in New York, likely has little chances of passing in its current form. The theme of promoting green energy to curb climate change will not be going away anytime soon. All of the current Democrat Party presidential candidates are supporting the federal Green New Deal. As we stand today, any government intervention in the energy markets will likely result in increased prices for consumers. 

Chris Amstutz's picture

Thank Chris for the Post!

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Discussions

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 19, 2019 9:55 pm GMT

Chris, disappointing to see Kamala Harris bow to party pressure and support a "Green New Deal" built of green tinsel and pixie dust.

Harris was the AG who oversaw the arrest and prosecution of Michael Peevey, California's Public Utility Commission chairman. Peevey, it seems, had worked out a secret deal to shut down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) with SoCal Edison at a hotel in Poland. It was not only a sweetheart deal for Edison (Peevey's former employer) but for UCLA's Institute for Sustainability, which would receive $25 million to generate pro-renewables, pro-gas propaganda.

Then election season rolled around, she set her sights on becoming U.S. senator, and dropped the ball. Peevey got his wrist slapped, and SONGS was shut down with a $14 billion price tag for ratepayers.

Now, she's joined with Peevey as a pro-renewables, pro-gas team player. Hey, the environment is great and everything, but you gotta go where the money is.

Chris Amstutz's picture
Chris Amstutz on Feb 19, 2019 8:54 pm GMT

Very interesting. I was not aware of many of these happenings since I am not from California. Does not surprise me though. The happenings from SoCal to PG&E all seem to have interesting, inefficient underlying stories to them. Very curious to see if the implications ever materialize in CA.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 19, 2019 8:38 pm GMT

What a fun read, Chris-- thanks for sharing. I'm always appreciate of new ways to spin and talk about the situation. I heartily agree with your final jeopardy question as it's all symbolic and posturing at this point-- but IMHO that doesn't make these discussions any less important. They will for sure shape the next several years as we ramp up to policy that is much more likely to actually make it into law. 

Also:

$2000 (Daily Double): This has been the rumored price tag for the Green New Deal energy changes … “What is, $15-25 Trillion” (Any number will be accepted due to hypothetical nature of the question).

This made me laugh. Though I'd like another daily double that asks about the price tag for not implementing the type of sweeping changes any large comprehensive climate/energy bill would-- as the devastation will be far worse than many realize, not only on a human/environmental level but on a financial one. Though, to be sure, any price tag there has to be also theoretical and/or speculative!

Chris Amstutz's picture
Chris Amstutz on Feb 19, 2019 9:08 pm GMT

I try to tamper my personal bias as a climate change skeptic (given my background in geology and classical economics). I am all for reducing carbon emissions but would ideologically  be opposed to government regulations for it. 

I also have an unfounded theory that attempts to change the grid would be far less simple than even those justifying $15-25 trillion could imagine. If millions of people died in the transition due to lost reliability on the grid, would it still be worth the change? No idea, but my conservative nature believes that the free market is powerful enough to fight the tragedy of the commons situation we have, all theoretically of course.

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Feb 20, 2019 12:55 am GMT

Chris - what a great post and very creative!  This topic has created quite the dicussion on our site.  I look forward to reading more about this topic as things progress!  My biggest question is how is this going to impact utilities? 

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