Maybe the impetus was the California Democratic Convention that took place this past weekend, or maybe it is the upcoming first presidential debate later this month, but it certainly seems that the score-plus of Democratic presidential candidates have entered a bidding war of ever-more-extravagant campaign proposals. And in no field is this more true than in the field of what they call “climate change,” aka spending vast sums of taxpayer and ratepayer money in the futile effort to restrict fossil fuels and promote alternative and useless methods of energy production like wind and solar.
As noted here just last week, minor candidate Governor Jay Inslee of the state of Washington got the ball rolling, trying to grab this issue as his own by “making climate change the center of his campaign” and declaring a series of pie-in-the-sky goals like: “Reach 100% zero emissions in new light- and medium-duty vehicles and all buses, achieve 100% zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings; and set a national 100% Clean Electricity Standard, requiring 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030 .” Well, you can’t expect the other candidates just to take that kind of thing lying down. Here are some of the bids from competing candidates:
At berniesanders.com, the program to “combat climate change” includes such things as “[p]ass a Green New Deal,” “[b]an fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure and keep oil, gas, and coal in the ground . . . .,” and “[e]nd exports of coal, natural gas, and crude oil.”
Elizabeth Warren has put forth what the Huffington Post calls a “patchwork of proposals” on climate change, each building on the previous, that range from co-sponsorship of the Green New Deal, to “a public lands plan, promising to . . . ban new fossil fuel leases on federal acres and demarcate more areas for renewable energy,” to a plan to “dramatically slash emissions generated by the U.S. military.” Then, just today, Senator Warren threw in a new “$2 trillion package,” presumably yet another addition to her previous proposals, that “commits the federal government to spend $150 billion a year over the next decade on low-carbon technology, increases energy research funding tenfold and funds a $100 billion Green Marshall Plan to aid the poorer countries projected to suffer the worst as global temperatures rise.”
Robert O’Rourke threw down his own $5 trillion bid in late April. According to a summary at CNBC, the campaign provided a breakdown that included: “about $1 trillion in spending to accelerate the development of new energy efficiency and alternative power technologies that slash emissions; . . . $3 trillion in spending . . . underpinned by institutions like the Rural Utility Service and a new finance authority; . . . $250 billion to encourage private investment in research and development and climate science; . . . [and a]n additional $650 billion investment . . . to spur $1.2 trillion in grants for housing, transportation, public health, job training and other benefits for Americans ‘on the front-lines of a changing climate and those disrupted by the forces of an economy in transition.’”
This morning, it appears that this flurry of wild bids finally backed apparent frontrunner Joe Biden into a corner where he felt he had to respond. Previously Biden had vaguely called for a “green revolution,” which however would be “rational” and “affordable.” Today, we get a rather new definition of those terms, in a release that the Biden campaign calls “Joe’s Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice.” It’s too long to include it all here, but some key elements include: “Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050. . . . establish[ ] an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025, . . . make[ ] a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation, . . . incentivize[ ] the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change. . . .” Price tag? $5 trillion, at least for starters. I think that $5 trillion may be the minimum you must propose to spend on any given proposal in order to be a credible candidate in the Democratic primaries. Don’t worry: In the world of Democrat/AOC economics, $5 trillion of additional federal spending, all totally wasted, won’t impact anyone’s standard of living negatively.
Meanwhile, out in the rest of the world, they continue to laugh at this spectacle. Just last week, Bloomberg reported on efforts by the Chinese government to get their miners to reduce the price of coal so that the price of electricity can drop and more coal-based electricity can be consumed:
The National Development & Reform Commission made the proposal to coal producers after six major utilities sought the government’s help to reduce their raw material costs in order to deliver a cut to power prices. . . . China plans to lower electricity prices for industrial and commercial users by 10% this year.
And down in Australia, where opposition to a huge new coal mine known as Adani Carmichael was a focus of the recent election, expect that project to proceed shortly now that the opponents have lost decisively.
Do you think that any of the Democratic candidates will ever notice that this whole “stop carbon emissions to save the planet” thing is over?