On Sunday, actor and activist Bill Nye — known as “the science guy” — dismissed the high cost of the Green New Deal with a cheap stunt: lighting a globe on fire.
“By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on earth could go up another four to eight degrees,” Nye declared on the HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. “What I’m saying is the planet’s on f**king fire. There are a lot of things we could do to put it out. Are any of them free? No, of course not, nothing’s free, you idiots.”
“Grow the f**k up. You’re not children anymore,” Nye added, directing his message toward millennials who grew up watching his show Bill Nye the Science Guy. “I didn’t mind explaining photosynthesis to you when you were twelve, but you’re adults now and this is an actual crisis. Got it?”
Nye’s message came at the end of a segment with John Oliver, in which Oliver kept asking Nye for “fun, visual stunts” explaining carbon pricing. The actor defended the idea of taxing carbon.
“Putting a fee on carbon creates incentives to emit less carbon, and, more importantly, it also incentivizes the development of low-carbon technology, which is huge, because that’s vital to reducing emissions globally,” Nye said. He snidely added, “And because for some reason, John, you’re a 42-year-old man who needs his attention sustained by tricks, here’s some f***ing Mentos and a bottle of Diet Coke. Happy now?”
Waleed Shahid, a former staffer for Green New Deal author Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and current communications director for Justice Democrats, tweeted the video with this message: “how to pay for the green new deal by bill nye.”
how to pay for the green new deal by bill nye pic.twitter.com/eeryupTbB0
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) May 13, 2019
The actor and activist did not even suggest how to pay for the Green New Deal, however. He just engaged in staged hyperbole, saying the Earth is on “f**king fire,” even though everyone knows that statement is false.
Naturally, Nye would defend his remarks, saying he didn’t really mean Earth is on fire now, but will be in 100 years. He failed to note, of course, the long and embarrassing track record of climate models, each of which has failed to come true. In one concrete example, alarmists predicted in 1988 that The Maldives would sink beneath the waves by 2018. The Maldives are still above water, and actually getting bigger today! Paul Ehrlich, who warned about the destructive “population bomb,” predicted that England would not exist in the year 2000. England and The Maldives are still there.
In fact, those who dare to criticize these failed glorified weathermen are dismissed as “deniers.” Skeptical scientists have been forced to choose “career suicide” if they refuse to surrender their scientific integrity. Science is about probing and questioning established truths, but climate alarmism is treated as settled orthodoxy.
In reality, it is very hard to know — much less predict — all the factors contributing to the global climate. Tom Hartsfield, a scientist with a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas, explained that even “the best climate models fall many orders of magnitude short of the power and intricacy needed to effectively predict the long-term climate patterns that emerge from the interactions of … planetary systems,” such as air currents, cloud patterns, resonant temperature cycles, energy storage and release mechanisms, and many more. “That’s not a failure of science; it’s just the reality of how tough the problem is.”
“The crusader mentality of climate researchers leads them away from the factual debate and empirical accounting of sound science,” Hartsfield wrote. “We really deserve more from our publicly funded scientific establishments.”
Yet the climate alarmism is not the only issue in Bill Nye’s profane declarations. Nye pooh-poohed concerns about paying for the Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez’s boondoggle of a bill, as irrelevant.
Not only is the world not on “f**king fire,” but the Green New Deal would wreck America’s economy and make the U.S. less likely to weather any theoretical climate change threats.
Solutions to difficult problems are not often “free,” but the Green New Deal is monstrously expensive by any standard. In January, a PJ Media analysis calculated a roughly $49.109 trillion cost for the first ten years. Congress would not even approve a mere $5.7 billion for Trump’s border wall, even though the Green New Deal is 8,000 times more expensive. As it turns out, I underestimated the monstrous cost.
An American Action Forum (AAF) analysis placed the cost between $51.1 and $92.9 trillion between 2020 and 2029. Making America carbon-neutral, a key plank of the Green New Deal, would cost about $1 trillion per year, Bloomberg reported.
These monetary costs may make readers’ eyes glaze over, but the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) made them more concrete: the program would cost $316,010 to $419,101 per household. According to the Census Bureau, the average household income in 2017 was $61,372. In ten years, the average household will make $613,720. That means the Green New Deal would cost 51.5-68.3 percent of the average family’s budget. Imagine living off of less than half of what you do now.
But as Myron Ebell, director at CEI’s Center for Energy and the Environment told PJ Media in January, it’s not just the cost. “What they’re proposing is permanent depression,” Ebell said. “I’ve called it the ‘Back to the Dark Ages’ manifesto or the ‘Back to the Stone Age’ manifesto.”
Even if there were no cost, the Green New Deal just would not work. “We get 80 percent of our energy from coal, oil, nuclear, and natural gas,” he said (82.9 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration). “We get a very minuscule amount of power now from renewable energy and that is heavily subsidized. There is no way that the grid can operate on 100 percent renewable power.”
In 2018, about 6.3 percent of U.S. power came from wind, with 1.3 percent coming from solar. “When you get around 20 percent wind and solar in the grid it becomes very unstable,” Ebell explained, largely because the production of both wind and solar energy vary enormously based on the time of day.
“This isn’t just a question of dollars and cents, it’s about reality,” Ebell quipped. “They’re trying to create an alternative reality in the same way that the Nazis did and that Lenin and Stalin did and that Mao Zedong did. It’s an alternate reality that doesn’t work.”
Importantly, he noted that climate change is not a true crisis. “The crisis has been manufactured in order to create a huge climate-industrial complex that can command the redistribution of colossal amounts of money.” Even if the United States reduced its emissions to zero, “it would have no impact on global warming, because Chinese emissions have gone up so rapidly. The U.S. going back to the Stone Age will not do anything to stop global warming.”
Ironically, when the Green New Deal came up for a vote in the U.S. Senate, every Democrat running for president in 2020 voted “present.” They know the bill is shoddy and absurd, but they give it lip service anyway because they must keep up the charade.
Bill Nye says the Earth is on “f**king fire” and so we cannot afford to worry about the cost. He says the Green New Deal is a cloth or a fire extinguisher. In reality, the Earth doesn’t even have a spark, and the Green New Deal is a black hole.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.