We have immense environmental problems. CO2 is not one of them. There is a great need for a green new deal, but that involves cleaning up the earth, not destroying it even further. Cleaning up the earth requires a lot of electric energy. There is only one solution to this dilemma, renewables alone will not even begin to solve it, only Liquid Fluoride Thorium nuclear reactors, and in the future fusion power will have a chance to carry us through the next ice age, which will come when we have used up all available fossil fuels. We must save the bulk of it for our great grand-kids.
My suggestions for the green new deal are quite different from what is commonly proposed. Here are some suggestions:
Do harden the electric grid so it can sustain an electro-magnetic-pulse, either from a nuclear EMP-bomb or from a solar storm like the Carrington event of 1859. Make the grid safe from malicious hacking.
Do not build more wind-turbines except in areas where there are no raptors. The allowable kill of bald eagles per year is 4200, and if we build many more we risk to eliminate the bald and golden eagles as well as other rare birds. More here.
Do fill up fully the strategic petroleum reserve, taking advantage of the low, below cost crude oil prices due to lack of demand. This will be important and avoid price spikes and shortages should the strait of Hormuz be cut off. By eliminating that threat it will ensure that it will not be cut off. Peace is the final goal. (Note: This is already happening, at $10 a barrel)
Make all dams producing profitable hydroelectric power fully equipped to pump up water from a pool downstream to refill the dam during low power demand and provide extra power during peak demand. This is important, since that peak demand otherwise would be satisfied by burning coal and natural gas, and even using diesel-powered generators.
Do plant trees where-ever practical, especially in urban environments. They help immensely to alleviate the urban heat island effect, and are good for mental health, and provide habitat for birds and squirrels. They have to live too. In rural areas abandoned farms, like in upstate New York should be planted with managed forests.
Encourage protection and reforesting of the tropical rain forests. Plant a few billion trees worldwide. The Arbor Day Foundation operates worldwide and is reasonably efficient.
Do serious research on how to clean waste water including removing antibiotics and hormones such as birth control medicine. This is necessary in arid areas, water must be reused since the aquifers are already exhausted in much of the arid west. It will require a lot of energy to implement and run water recycling plants, but it is necessary to secure clean water, not only for ourselves, but also for aquatic life downstream.
Do not build any more large solar power installations until our dependence on Chinese rare earth metals is eliminated.
Do eliminate the regulation that Thorium is a source material and subject to nuclear regulations for mining. With this regulation eliminated we can again be independent from China on rare earth metals mining and refining.
Do not build any more Uranium based nuclear power stations. Even before we sold 20% of our uranium mines to Russia we were the world’s biggest importer of Uranium, and vulnerable to supply disruptions.
We must start immediately a large research and development effort into Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors. China, India and Russia are way ahead of us, and China is grabbing IP rights as fast as they can. There is a million years supply of Thorium available, far more than anything else we are mining, and enough Thorium is already mined! Thorium reactors produce one ten-thousandth of the nasty TRans-Uranium waste products compared to a Uranium reactor, and the TRU it produces is Plutonium-238, used in space travel. Thorium waste products cannot be used for nuclear bombs, only dirty bombs, and the waste products radiation lasts only about 300 years, rather than 100000+ years. It is a good isotope producer for medical treatment and research.
Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are inherently earthquake safe, operate under atmospheric conditions, have a large negative temperature coefficient, making it very stable and easy to control, and they can never have a meltdown, the salt is already molten!
LFTR reactors can be placed nearly anywhere, does not need an evacuation zone because of its inherent safety, uses very little cooling water, produces very little waste, scales beautifully from very large power plants to small portable plants for small communities, can be run at variable power output with a small reaction time, all of this lessens the need for an expanded power grid.
The U.S was once the leader in Thorium reactor technology, but bombs were more important, and so we lost out on safety. Nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima could not have happened with Thorium reactors.
LFTR can produce electricity at about 4c/kWh, a very competitive cost.
And lastly, it can, in a slightly different configuration be used to eliminate spent nuclear fuels and nuclear bombs. They will have to be placed away from urban areas, not because of safety, but because nobody want to transport spent nuclear fuel or nuclear bombs through city streets.
This is a tall order, but it can eliminate all fossil fuel used to produce electricity.
About four years before all fossil fuel is eliminated as electricity producer, then and first then is the time to move over to electric cars and trucks. Before then, you are really using fossil fuel anyway, putting additional pressure on the national power grid with all its inefficiencies.
This is but a short list of the opportunities for a real green new deal, but these are the most important parts.