The centrist “New Democrat Coalition” wants America to know it is serious about the climate crisis, and only supports realistic solutions, like submarines that make icebergs.
“The Green New Deal is aspirational,” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia), one of the 101 members of the coalition, told Bloomberg in April. “What we plan to do is offer tangible, achievable things.”
“The energy industry is replete with bad unintended consequences of well intentioned regulation. The aspirations of the Green New Deal are great. The amount of attention it’s brought to this issue are fantastic,” said Rep. Sean Casten (D-Illinois), another member of the coalition. “But doing energy and environmental policy right really requires you get the expertise of the folks who have been down in the trenches.”
One of those “tangible, achievable things” the New Democrat Coalition wants to see is apparently a bunch of submarines that make icebergs, according to a recent post from the group’s verified Twitter account.
“New technologies and solutions to combatting the climate crisis are necessary & remind us of the importance of entrepreneurs and innovators to advance all of us forward,” the group tweeted, with a link to a Business Insider article about the submarines.
New technologies and solutions to combatting the climate crisis are necessary & remind us of the importance of entrepeneurs and innovators to advance all of us forward. https://t.co/zyznUtPpIh
— New Dem Coalition (@NewDemCoalition) August 24, 2019
What the New Democrat Coalition calls a “solution” to the climate crisis was, in that same article, ridiculed by climate scientists as an unserious proposal that is, at best, a “Band-Aid” solution.
According to the article, the submarines, which were designed by Indonesian industrial designers, would absorb water from the Arctic Ocean, use reverse osmosis to remove the salt in order to help the ice form faster, and then deposit an 82-foot hexagon-shaped chunk of ice into the sea after a month. It wasn’t immediately clear how the designers of the submarines would address the problem of the ice chunks made by the submarines simply melting, along with existing sea ice.
Mark Serreze, the director of the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center, told NBC News that he saw the submarine idea as little more than “a Band-Aid.”
“What are you going to do, put out a flotilla of 10,000 submarines?” Serreze said, highlighting that such submarines would have to be deployed on an enormous scale to affect the rate of sea-level rise.
Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State, told NBC that the concept was “like trying to save the sand castle you built at the beach using a Dixie cup as the tide comes in.”
Some Twitter users pointed out that the idea of putting more ice in the arctic to fight climate change was already proposed by the cartoon Futurama in an episode from the early 2000s. In the episode, politicians from the future decided that the best way to stop global warming was to simply put a giant ice cube in the ocean “every now and then.” Because the Earth continued to get warmer, politicians decided to continue dropping ever-larger chunks of ice into the ocean.
One YouTuber crunched the numbers and found that in order for that to work, there would need to be an ice cube that was 31,000 square kilometers in size to do the trick. To put that number in perspective, that means every person on Earth would need to create five kilograms (roughly ten pounds) of ice in their fridge every day for 2,000 years in order to create one such ice cube.
The Green New Deal resolution as introduced earlier this year by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) is a statement of goals, like getting to 100% clean energy use by 2030, and ensuring all Americans have housing and healthcare.
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) recently rolled out his own version of the plan, which he says would not only meet the 100% clean energy by 2030 goal, but would also create 20 million new jobs. The Sunrise Movement — a youth-led organization that calls for a rapid, comprehensive response to global warming — supports Sanders’ plan.
(Featured image: pxhere/creative commons)
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.