Green New Deal will only happen if we go back to the moon

Green New Deal will only happen if we go back to the moon

You have to hand it to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez (D-N.Y.). For someone who was, just a year ago, a bartender, she has some ambitious plans now that she is a member of Congress.

Among Ocasio–Cortez’s projects is something called the Green New Deal. The plan would mandate that the United States transform its energy infrastructure from one based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Thus, the problem of climate change will have been solved and the Earth would be saved. Big-pocketed people like Tom Steyer, an environmentalist billionaire donor, view the idea with favor.

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Lots of reasons exist to dismiss the Green New Deal, it being a product born more of delusion than sound analysis. However, if the government were to embark upon making it a reality, the scheme might have an unintended side effect of supporting a return to the moon.

The Green New Deal would require a lot of minerals called rare earths, which are increasingly a part of many high-tech products such as smartphones and electric cars, as well as solar-powered generators and wind turbines. The proven supplies of these materials are nowhere near enough to accommodate anything on the scale of a Green New Deal and mostly come from countries hostile to the United States, such as China. 

The United States is searching for sources of rare earths within its borders. However, even if sources could be found getting at them will require a process called hard rock mining, which is dirty, expensive and not environmentally benign. The same environmentalists who demand an immediate switch to renewables will blanch at what it would take to get at the materials needed to create them in the U.S.

However, a third way exists to get more rare earths besides making the United States dependent on China or tearing up the landscape. NASA notes that the moon is a probable source of rare earth materials. Astronomy Source adds that Earth-approaching asteroids could also be a ready source of rare earths.

Oddly, while Ocasio-Cortez and other environmental socialists dream of upending the U.S. energy economy, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity MORE has set America’s course back to the moon. Access to lunar resources is but one reason why the president has made this decision. Lunar and asteroid resources could serve as the basis of a new space-based industrial revolution.

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Some enterprising reporter should ask Ocasio-Cortez what she thinks about NASA, the space program and the return to the moon. Support for the space program to make the Green New Deal possible should be a no-brainer. NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineGreen New Deal will only happen if we go back to the moon What is SpaceX doing in South Texas? The Hill's 12:30 Report — Cohen gets three years in prison | Fallout from Oval Office clash | House GOP eyes vote on B for wall MORE should take note. 

Many reasons exist to oppose the Green New Deal. It would be expensive, economically disruptive and would likely take longer than its proponents anticipate. The carbon taxes imposed by the French government of Emanuel Macron to address climate change sparked the most widespread, violent revolt in France in the last 50 years. People will not willingly bear the Green New Deal’s cost when it becomes apparent.

However, as a first step, let the United States expand its economic zone of influence to the moon and beyond. Rare earths will be a great resource to acquire, no matter what.

Mark Whittington is the author of space exploration studies “Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon? as well as “The Moon, Mars and Beyond.”