President Trump can’t stop trashing the Green New Deal.
Even though the Democratic resolution to rapidly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions was defeated last month in the Senate, the president is still hoisting it as a punching bag when rallying his political base -- and inventing new details about it.
During a speech in Las Vegas in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump insisted that the U.S. economy must be strong for Israel to be secure -- and derided the Green New Deal as a “$100 trillion” boondoggle that proposes building “trains to Europe, Hawaii and Australia” and limiting people to having just “one car.”
“You know, I’m bringing so many car companies in,” Trump said. “I don’t think they’re going to be thrilled to hear that.”
The issue with those claims, which he has used before in speeches in Michigan and Maryland, is that the broad-stroke plan introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) does not mention anything about rolling out transoceanic trains or scaling back the number of cars in any one person’s driveway.
The plan did call on Congress to make a nonbinding pledge to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030. Many experts, including President Barack Obama’s energy secretary Ernest Moniz, have called such a rapid reduction in emissions impossible to achieve.
Yet Republicans have largely chosen to criticize the plan by embellishing what's actually in it.
However, unlike Trump's latest lines of attack on the Green New Deal's effects on transportation, which seem out of the blue, many of the other GOP jabs stemmed from documents related to the plan.
When, for example, Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah or Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee claimed beef would be outlawed under Ocasio-Cortez's plan, they could at least point to an erroneous fact sheet published, but later withdrawn, by the freshman lawmaker's office.
Ocasio-Cortez's fact sheet sought to explain a nuance of the Green New Deal's call for a net (rather than absolute) reduction in climate-warming emissions. “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast,” the fact sheet read.
The text of the resolution itself does not mention meat.
The "$100 trillion" figure is also a familiar line of attack. The figure likely originated from an analysis done by right-wing think tanks that implied that the high end of the total cost could be $93 trillion.
Yet the resolution, which also includes significant changes to the social safety net, didn't come with a price tag attached. That analysis made a number of assumptions that reached beyond the text of the resolution.
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— Potential Cabinet switch-up: Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been floated as a contender to permanently replace Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who the president announced has resigned from the administration. Perry is seen as the most likely to be easily confirmed by the Senate, as The Post’s Nick Miroff, Josh Dawsey, Seung Min Kim and Maria Sacchetti report. The former Texas governor had also reportedly been among potential candidates to previously replace John Kelly as head of Homeland Security when Kelly became White House chief of staff, as Bloomberg reported back in August 2017.
— “They’re making change”: Obama commended young activists who have been “making change” with their climate activism worldwide. "A lot of those people can’t vote, they are too young to vote yet, but they know what’s going on," Obama said during an event in Berlin over the weekend, according to AFP. "Those habits and that sense of power they're developing now, that's going to carry over for the rest of their lives."
— California vs. Trump: The California Air Resources Board has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to force it to release information that would support its rollback of Obama-era auto emissions standards. The administration has said the rollback would lower traffic deaths by 1,000 per year, but the new lawsuit alleges the federal government has “refused to release information that the board has sought since September to back up the EPA’s assertion that its new rules would promote safety,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “The Trump administration is willfully withholding information on their ill-advised rollback of federal vehicle emission standards because there is simply no science or logic to back up their actions,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in a statement.
— The latest on the impasse over disaster spending: House Democrats are looking to move forward with their own legislative package that includes billions in aid for the flood-ravaged Midwest. The bill includes $2.5 billion for states that saw major flooding, “an overture to Republicans after months of partisan bickering,” Politico reports. But the fate of the package is uncertain. The House version is “is unlikely to advance in the Senate because it includes the same contentious pot of money for Puerto Rico, which has been among the GOP’s chief criticisms against the bill,” per the report.
— Pipeline plans: Conservation groups are suing to block the new permit that the Trump administration issued to allow the Keystone XL oil pipeline project to resume. “Friday’s complaint was filed by a nonprofit representing indigenous people from the region where the project is proposed and a conservation advocacy group,” Bloomberg News reports. “They contend Trump lacked authority to issue the new permit because the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to administer federal lands and regulate foreign commerce.”
— Post-Michael recovery in Mexico Beach: Nearly six months to the day since Hurricane Michael made landfall in the small town on a stretch of the Florida Panhandle, roads have been cleared and power has been restored, but major recovery continues and thousands of people are still without permanent homes. Some residents worry about being forgotten. “Because Michael happened so fast — slamming the Panhandle just 73 hours after it became a named tropical storm — and affected relatively few people in a rural corner of the Deep South, the storm was overshadowed by other disasters,” The Post’s Patricia Sullivan and Joel Achenbach write. “It was squeezed between the floods that consumed North Carolina after Hurricane Florence in September and the wildfires that devastated Northern California in November.”
— "Unprecedented" CO2 levels: A new study published last week found if global temperatures exceed 2 degrees Celsius, they’ll have climbed to beyond anything the planet has seen in the past 3 million years, E&E News reports. “The study also suggests that the present-day atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of more than 405 parts per million are ‘unprecedented’ in that time,” per the report.
— The new CEO in charge of California’s troubled utility: Bill Johnson, the new chief executive of Pacific Gas & Electric, brings extensive experience in a highly political management role after serving as the president of the Tennessee Valley Authority. It’s a skill set that will serve him well as the head of the troubled utility that is dealing with the fallout from deadly wildfires sparked in part by its equipment, The Post’s Steven Mufson reports. He adds that more than half of Johnson’s incentive pay at PG&E will be tied to safety performance.
On climate: “I am in the camp saying we need to do something about climate change,” he told Mufson in an interview. “I think the question is how long that transition will take from gas to the next thing. I don’t think it’s a decade. I think everything is moving in the right direction, but I think the question is whether it is fast enough.”
— Venezuela watch: The Trump administration issued another round of sanctions against the nation on Friday targeting oil shipments between Venezuela and Cuba, the New York Times reports, as the nation has been accused of bolstering the government of President Nicolás Maduro. The sanctions are meant to force a “recalibration” of the relationship between Cuba and Venezuela, which has been sending 20,000 to 50,000 barrels of oil a day.
— Electric future: U.S. officials are set to meet with auto and lithium mining executives next month as the government works toward a national electric vehicle supply chain strategy, Reuters reports. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has been invited to attend and officials from the State, Energy and Interior departments as well as the U.S. Geological Survey are set to go. “China already dominates the electric vehicle supply chain. It produces nearly two-thirds of the world’s lithium-ion batteries — compared to 5 percent for the United States — and controls most of the world’s lithium processing facilities, according to data from Benchmark Minerals Intelligence,” per the report. The effort comes as top automakers, including Tesla and Volkswagen, expand electric vehicle manufacturing but continue to rely on imports of the necessary mineral supply.
— How some oil companies are investing in carbon removal: Three major fossil fuel firms — Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and the Australian mining company BHP — have invested in a startup that’s developing technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere. The investment in Carbon Engineering “is part of an emerging effort by fossil-fuel industries to remain relevant and profitable in a warming world,” the New York Times reports. “With electric cars and solar and wind power becoming increasingly affordable, executives .acknowledge that business as usual could put their companies at risk.”
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the 2020 budget request for the USDA Forest Service on Tuesday.
- The House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the status of rebuilding and privatization of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on Tuesday.
- The House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a hearing on the "Need for Leadership to Combat Climate Change and Protect National Security" on Tuesday.
- The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness holds a hearing on homeland security impacts of climate change on Tuesday.
- The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources holds a hearing on health and environmental impacts of mountaintop removal mining on Tuesday.
- the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment holds a hearing on the history of a consensus and causes of inaction related to climate change on Tuesday.
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on "Opportunities for Energy Innovation and Other Potential Solutions to Help Address Global Climate Change" on Thursday.
— A record reptile: Researchers captured and killed a 17-foot, 140-pound female snake, the largest Burmese python to be removed from Big Cypress National Preserve in the Florida Everglades, The Post’s Katie Mettler writes. It was discovered via a new tracking strategy that’s based on technology and the laws of attraction.