Acton Institute Powerblog

A rule of thumb for the Green New Deal

Thumb up2I have a couple rules of thumb that I hope help me cut through some of the noise around various policy proposals and political debates.

One has to do with budgetary reform (a topic I covered at some length last week): If the plan doesn’t engage with entitlements, then it isn’t really a serious proposal.

The same goes for policies that have to do with environmental stewardship, and particularly those focused on lowering carbon emissions. If nuclear power isn’t a significant element of the proposed sources of energy in the future, then it really isn’t a serious proposal.

Guess what’s missing from the ‘Green New Deal’ (or at least some versions of it)?

As the FAQ for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s bill puts it,

Is nuclear a part of this?

A Green New Deal is a massive investment in renewable energy production and would not include creating new nuclear plants. It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible.

I’ve long contended that the responsible stewardship of God’s creation involves the recognition that there is no perfect fuel and that realistically speaking, nuclear has to be among the alternatives moving forward.

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.