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 director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.