The Green New Deal Championed By Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Gains Momentum

A week after being elected as New York's 14th District congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined a protest by a group of young environmental activists urging Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the presumptive House Speaker, to lead the party in developing a comprehensive, ambitious plan to address climate change in the next Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez's move immediately catapulted the idea, until then a somewhat fringe proposal called the Green New Deal, into the mainstream. In the month since the sit-in, which was coordinated by the the youth-led organization Sunrise Movement36 members of Congress have joined Ocasio-Cortez in supporting the plan.

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  • Rod Clemetson
    commented 2019-07-12 10:52:43 -0700
    Dear Alexandria,

    I’m an enthusiastic Bernie fan, BUT, Bernie and the “Green New Deal” are one issue on which he has been hyperconsistently WRONG. One yuuuuge-ly important, planet-saving, tiny little thing. It’s his irrational, evidence-free opposition to nuclear energy.

    Bernie — along with much of the left — needs to take another look at this issue. Because, with his democratic-socialist, public-sector ethic, he may just be the only candidate who could actually deliver the sort of mass build-out of nuclear power that the world desperately needs if we are to stave off catastrophic climate change. And even if he doesn’t become president, an informed change of heart on nuclear could convince many of his fans to follow suit.

    We need to rapidly clean up our electricity generation, and renewables alone are not up to the task. The fastest records for decarbonizing electricity were set by France, Sweden, and Belgium, who constructed their nuclear fleets in little over a decade in the 1970’s. This is the sort of timetable of rapid infrastructure build-out that is needed if we are to have a hope of keeping within the internationally agreed guardrail of 2°C of global warming by the end of the century

    I recently drove past a Kansas wind farm west of Salina which had hundreds of turbines standing idle. What kept the lights on and air conditioning running? COAL (a daily “unit train” of Wyoming coal) — at the 2.4 GWe Jeffrey Energy Center plant near St. Marys, KS. Every wind farm, every solar farm, has to have backup by a carbon-fuel power plant.

    The “Green New Deal” calls for an end to carbon-based nergy. The only way to eliminate the carbon-based (chemical) source of energy is to provide a cheaper (nuclear-based) source of energy.

    Thorcon ( can build a gigawatt nuclear power plant for $1.2 Billion, and produce electricity selling for $0.0324 per kWh. The construction of a single mega-watt wind turbine costs about $1.69 Million each, which amounts to $1.69 Billion for a one gigawatt wind farm. The average capacity factor for a wind turbine is around 30% (percent of time spent producing power), which raises the price to $5.6 Billion per gigawatt.

    BUT, wind turbine lifetimes are around 30 years, or half that of a Thorcon plant, which puts Wind Farm vs. Nuclear Reactor lifetime equivalent costs at $11.3 Billion. All of which ignores wind farm leasing and maintenance expenses. Wind is free, but intermittent. Harvesting wind energy costs 9.4 times as much as aThorcon nuclear power plant. The best use for wind farms? Producing power for ammonia generating plants — think fertilizer and fuel.

    With hopes for better energy,
    Rod Clemetson
    Holton, KS
    Retired Systems Administrator, Town of Castle Rock, CO

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