Asso­ciate pro­fessor of eco­nomics Charles Steele dis­cussed the eco­nomics behind the Green New Deal on April 16. Col­legian | Julia Mullins

Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Eco­nomics Charles Steele dis­cussed the socialist under­tones of the Green New Deal and the imprac­ti­cality of the pro­posal from an eco­nomic stand­point in a talk put on by stu­dents in the American Chemical Society and the Clas­sical Liberal Orga­ni­zation on April 16.

Steele said he aimed to show that many of the current climate pro­posals are not about climate at all, explain how these pro­posals would destroy modern society, and show how these pro­posals are not rea­sonable solu­tions for climate problems.

“These pro­posals are actually about getting rid of the market system and replacing it with socialism,” Steele said.

Steele explained the basic dif­fer­ences between a market allo­cation system and a socialist allo­cation system in order to high­light ways in which the Green New Deal is a form of socialism.

“Market allo­cation requires indi­viduals to be able to have the right to own property, the right to direct it, the right to exchange it, and the right to utilize it,” Steele said.

Socialist allo­cation, Steele said, is based on central eco­nomic planning.

“With central direction, experts for­mulate a plan, and indi­viduals in a society follow that plan,” Steele said.

The Green New Deal, intro­duced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D‑N.Y. and Edward John Markey, D‑M.A., is not leg­is­lation. Steele said it’s a pro­posal for devel­oping leg­is­lation that would fit a par­ticular framework.

“It is a call for radical restruc­turing of the U.S. economy and society,” Steele said.

This framework is based off of a report from the United Nations Inter­gov­ern­mental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC SR15 –  – released Oct. 8, 2018 –  – calls for fun­da­mental trans­for­ma­tions of soci­eties.

Chairman and Pro­fessor of Physics Kenneth Hayes said it has been 31 years since the IPCC was formed, but there’s been no change in the rate that carbon dioxide has been entering the atmos­phere.

“It’s still expo­nen­tially growing,” Hayes said. “If we just keep doing what we’re doing, we can totally expect that growth of carbon dioxide to con­tinue to grow in the atmos­phere.”

The Green New Deal has four com­po­nents unre­lated to climate: a public bank, federal guar­anteed job pro­grams, nation­alized healthcare, and pos­sibly the uni­versal basic income idea.

“The pro­posal is about replacing market direction of the economy with some form of central direction by the gov­ernment,” Steele said.

In terms of climate pro­posals, the Green New Deal has a fun­da­mental idea to elim­inate fossil fuels within 10 years.

“The bottom line of my analysis is that what they propose is phys­i­cally impos­sible,” Steele said. “Even if this were suc­cess­fully imple­mented, it would not cure the climate problem because it doesn’t do any­thing to address the future growth of emis­sions in the devel­oping world.”

Steele said two-thirds of U.S. elec­tricity pro­duction comes from fossil fuels.

“The idea is to replace fossil fuel capacity with wind and solar energy,” Steele said. “But to do that would require building more than nine times the solar wind and capacity that was built in the pre­vious 10 years.”

The Green New Deal also pro­poses heavy carbon taxes to facil­itate the shutdown of elec­tricity pro­duction using fossil fuels.

“Simply from the stand­point of elec­tricity, having the Green New Deal would be the equiv­alent of having a serious recession and a shrinking of the economy,” Steele said. “Pro­duction would nec­es­sarily fall from reduc­tions in elec­tricity.”

In relation to agri­culture, the Green New Deal’s pro­posal would make it nearly impos­sible for farmers to transport food to people. Steele said Green New Deal pro­po­nents envision a dra­matic shift to small scale, local organic agri­culture.

“The people who are proposing this have absolutely no under­standing of what modern agri­culture is or how it func­tions,” Steele said. “This is a pipe dream, and yet it is being pro­posed as a serious plan.”

Steele com­pared the Green New Deal and the IPCC pro­posals to Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward.

“The Great Leap Forward was a cat­a­strophe for China,” Steele said. “It was Mao’s plan to rad­i­cally restructure the Chinese economy, and it led to the deaths of mil­lions of people.”

After viewing the images, junior eco­nomics and bio­chem­istry major Natalia Bodnar said she started to under­stand the real con­se­quences of the deal

“In America, we con­sider our­selves a suc­cessful society with eco­nomic growth,” Bodnar said.  “And to start dab­bling with certain policies that could result in dev­as­tation like in China is very alarming.”

Bodnar said she hopes people become more informed about the Green New Deal.

“If some­thing seems inter­esting and a lot of people are talking about it, that’s because it’s important,” Bodnar said.