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The Green New Deal’s toughest transition will be returning its supporters to reality

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The United States Congress will soon debate a non-binding resolution introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) expressing the sentiment that Congress should adopt a so-called Green New Deal. A central part of this new deal is the proposal that the U.S. eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas by 2030. As fossil fuels now account for 80 per cent of American energy consumption, the Green New Deal would entail a profound and rapid “decarbonization,” or transformation of the energy economy to alternative fuels.

In a report published this week by the U.K Global Warming Policy Foundation, I describe the problems that governments would have to address if they seriously were to attempt to manage a transition such as that proposed in the Green New Deal.

Historically, the availability and use of energy sources was determined largely by geography and technology. The changes over time followed a pattern in which........

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