On the face of it, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas would be the last person to care a wit about climate change, not to mention try to offer legislation to address the phenomenon.
He is an old, white guy with support from the oil and gas industry.
And yet, as the Houston Chronicle reports, Sen Cornyn declared to reporters, “There is a growing consensus the days of ignoring this issue are over.”
Is the majority whip of the United States Senate about to make common cause with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and sign up for the Green New Deal?
Cornyn went on to say, “If we all agree that reducing emissions is important I think we have a better way of approaching that than the Green New Deal.”
The answer, therefore, is no.
Cornyn’s legislation is going to expand research and development into carbon capture technology.
The idea is that, instead of belching CO2 into the atmosphere, a power plant that burns fossil fuels would capture the greenhouse gas and, either sequester it, or recycle it to make useful products.
Cornyn can already point to an experimental power plant near La Porte, Texas that has been operating for a number of years, burning natural gas, but not emitting any amount of CO2.
As the Houston Chronicle explains:
“With the La Porte plant, the idea was to rethink the concept of a power plant all together. Instead of adding a carbon capture feature onto a steam turbine, engineers at Net Power, the North Carolina technology company building the La Porte plant, asked what if turbines inherently separated out carbon? The solution they came upon was to take a supercritical carbon dioxide turbine designed by Toshiba and burn natural gas along with pure oxygen to create a stream of pure, industrial grade carbon.”
The carbon dioxide is super-heated until it takes on the properties of both gas and liquid and then is used instead of steam to turn the turbines. The excess CO2 is easily stored to be either sequestered or sold to companies which can use it to create products.
“Advocates imagine if a cheap and plentiful source of carbon is created, industry will find use for it. Perhaps as a component in producing materials like cement and plastics. Or as a feedstock in growing algae, which can be used to do everything from make medicine to clean water.”
Carbon nanotubes, a high-tech material that can be used for everything from building material to electronics, is another possible by-product.
Cornyn’s idea is brilliant.
Carbon capture technology achieves quite a bit of the supposed goals of the Green New Deal without destroying the fossil fuel industry, creating an over-reliance on renewable energy, and, if the economics works as it seems to, increasing the cost of electricity.
The idea is also brilliant for its politics.
The development and deployment of carbon capture technology is likely to arouse the ire of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Democrats who have signed on to the Green New Deal.
The goal of the Green New Deal is not so much to create a low carbon or carbonless future.
The goal is to punish industries that the left doesn’t like and to reduce the American people to a state of poverty, the better that they become dependent on a socialist government.
Besides, Cornyn’s plan would play out over a number of decades as the carbon capture technology is refined and old, natural gas and coal fired plants are retired and replaced with power generators that use the technology.
Even though Ocasio-Cortez is now claiming that her prediction that the world would end in 12 years if the Green New Deal is rejected was just the result of her “dry humor,” the Cornyn plan lacks that “fierce urgency of now,” to coin a phrase that Barack Obama stole from Martin Luther King, However, gradually switching over to carbon capture is more sustainable, a quality the left often pretends to cherish.
When AOC and her compatriots denounce Cornyn’s legislation as a plot by the oil and gas industry to hijack the Green New Deal, the senior senator from Texas can offer a grin and counter that it looks like that the gentle-lady from New York must not be very serious about addressing climate change.
Thus, the Green New Dealers, which include some Democratic presidential candidates, will be exposed not just as a gang of ninnies, but duplicitous ones at that.