But still won't cross Ocasio-Cortez, says she's "galvanizing the country"
On Tuesday, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who is now a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, took aim at the Green New Deal championed by other Democratic presidential candidates and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and fired a fusillade of shots at it.
Hickenlooper wrote in The Washington Post in an article titled, “The Green New Deal sets us up for failure. We need a better approach”:
… given the scope of the threat of global climate change, it is also imperative we approach it correctly. Some versions of the Green New Deal, such as the resolution from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that the Senate is set to vote on Tuesday, express laudable aims but also take an approach that limits our prospects for success.”
Hickenlooper noted that the resolution “sets unachievable goals,” acknowledging, “We do not yet have the technology needed to reach ‘net-zero greenhouse gas emissions’ in 10 years.” He noted dryly, “ That’s why many wind and solar companies don’t support it.”
He articulated other quibbles: “There is no clean substitute for jet fuel. Electric vehicles are growing quickly, yet are still in their infancy. Manufacturing industries such as steel and chemicals, which account for almost as much carbon emissions as transportation, are even harder to decarbonize.”
Hickenlooper even admitted that the Green New Deal’s proviso to initiate a job guarantee, with full benefits for every American, would cause “a massive expansion of government” that would not be achievable in the near future.
Yet Hickenlooper still favors an expansion of government; he wrote, “My version of a Green New Deal would also involve historic federal investments and incentives in electric storage, modern transmission and science to nurture the industries that will serve as the pillars of the clean economy we need to save our planet.”
In 2017, Hickenlooper supported a lawsuit filed by environmentalist groups against Scot Pruitt, the head of the EPA and the EPA itself. The lawsuit claimed the EPA acted unlawfully when it attempted to delay implementation of methane emission standards created in 2016.
Yet Hickenlooper also has been warm to the fracking industry; he claimed he once drank CleanStim, a fluid used in hydraulic fracturing, in order to show environmental groups that fracking was not the frightening prospect they assumed it to be. He recalled, “He [Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar] pulled a jar of frack fluid from his pocket, a jar of CleanStim. I asked him if I could take a swig. He asked me if I was serious. I said yes. I unscrewed the jar, took a swig, and while I’m not going to stand here and say that it’s something that I’d have with a steak, it went down easy enough.”
He continued, “I think horizontal drilling can work for us, not against us. Technology continues to advance and we’ll increase the distance from drilling and insulate communities from what is admittedly an industrial process. Colorado has one of the strongest setback rules in the country.”
In the end, though, writing in the Post, Hickenlooper bowed before Ocasio-Cortez, writing that she “and others have succeeded in galvanizing the country around climate change as never before.”