Sacramento Democrats have drawn up a Green New Deal for California, which, the public is being told, is necessary to prevent a global warming crisis. The usual empty talking points that are poor substitutes for climate facts have been strung together to create an atmosphere of doom.

But it’s obvious it’s a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing. The green its supporters are talking about is money. 

The legislation, designated as Assembly Bill 1839, is based on Washington’s Green New Deal. That proposal, according to Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s former chief of staff, was designed to remake our market economy into a system only a socialist could love.

“The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” Saikat Chakrabarti was reported to have said last year in a conversation with the climate director for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democratic presidential candidate at the time.

“Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti asked. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” 

The Green New Deal wasn’t the first attempt by politicians and politically powerful officials to fool the public about the true intent of efforts to “fight global warming.” Years ago, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the climate-fear campaign was an instrument for replacing capitalism with a more socialist, centrally planned economy.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” Figueres said in 2015, confirming that today’s environmental movement is not about conservation and ecological purity but about furtively installing “progressive” and hard-left policies in advanced economies. 

The Golden State Green New Deal stays true to that objective. Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the Oakland Democrat who wrote the bill, made this clear when his office declared “that disadvantaged communities benefit from our state’s green advances.”

More is given away in the fourth paragraph of Bonta’s news release: 

“Data shows that California has the highest rate of poverty in the United States. Our coalition working on the California Green New Deal believes climate change cannot be addressed without addressing the root causes of inequities including affordable housing, good transportation, equal access to high-quality education and employment opportunities, as well as universal health care.”

So let’s see if we have this right: climate and poverty are inextricably linked, and traditional big-government policies aimed at contracting the wealth and income gaps, and providing increased public services for those at the bottom of the income ladder, will save the climate from the consequences of human fossil fuel combustion.

This can’t make sense even to those desperate to make the public believe it. Increasing energy costs, the inevitable result of any green deal, new or otherwise, hurts the poor the most. 

Bonta gives up more of the game when he promises the “people who have been hurt by the fossil fuel economy” will be “first in line to benefit from the new clean energy, green economy.”

Like it or not — and the political left doesn’t — the fossil fuel economy is a free market economy. Despite its unearned reputation as a tool for exploitation of the poor, it has raised more people out of poverty than any other system in history. Forcing a “green economy” will reverse those gains and require a massive redistribution of wealth to those at the bottom because they will be crushed by the higher energy costs.

While the usual empty appeals to “science,” and the conventional hysterics that accompany all discussions of global warming solutions were raised at Monday’s news conference, even a casual observer would conclude they’re a distraction to draw attention away from the true agenda. There was as much emphasis on college debt, social justice, labor justice, union jobs, equity, and injustices as there was on the climate.

No one knows yet what the California version would cost, and, of course, its sponsors and supporters haven’t offered any estimates, an omission that has led to some criticism.

This apparently doesn’t bother Bonta, because he believes “we can’t afford not to pay for it” though “it will be expensive.”

Is this the proper way to make legislation? Shouldn’t lawmakers know what the economic and social impacts of their policies will be?

Of course they should. But when it’s a change-the-entire-economy thing, those are trifling details they can’t be bothered with.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.