When it comes to the issue of climate change, there was a clear loser at last night’s presidential debate. Joe Biden lost on climate because he’s throwing in the towel on his own policy proposals, standing in sharp contrast to President Trump’s record of energy dominance and environmental leadership.
Everything we do depends on access to affordable, reliable energy — which means our next president’s energy policy will shape America’s future. Joe Biden’s vision for expensive, scarce, and government-controlled energy dependent on the whims of the weather, about as reliable as Obamacare is affordable, would spell disaster for our nation.
Just weeks after publicly praising the Green New Deal, Biden has admitted banning fossil fuels is “not possible” and declined to ban fracking despite pressure from environmentalist activists. “I would transition from the oil industry,” Biden proclaimed at the debate, only to admit moments later, “We’re not getting rid of fossil fuels.”
Perhaps he’s realized he needs voters in key energy-producing states like Pennsylvania — or he’s simply realized he’s neck deep in promises he can’t keep.
It’s hard to argue with President Trump’s record of transforming America into the world’s dominant energy producer — not to mention a world leader in clean air. The United States’ newfound status as a net energy exporter gives our nation stronger national security, a leg up in global trade negotiations, and a stronger economy that’s helping our nation weather and bounce back from the COVID-19 recession caused by restrictive local shutdowns. It provides Americans more good-paying jobs making as much as double the private-sector average — something sorely needed in today’s economy.
Biden touts his progressive base’s dream of going 100% renewable, but he’s all but admitted it wouldn’t work — and he’s right. First, wind and solar remain too unreliable to serve as anything other than a supplementary power source. “Wind and solar promoters need to start admitting that they are not capable of providing this type of continuous and on-demand electricity supply on a national scale that modern societies are used to,” said the author of a study on climate change expenditures.
Even if it were feasible, even a nationwide transition to all-renewable power would have a laughably minuscule effect on global temperatures. If every clause of the Green New Deal became law today, from banning fossil fuels to retrofitting or tearing down every building in America, global temperatures would drop by less than two-tenths of a degree by 2100.
And there’s now some question as to whether wind and solar power live up to their net-zero hype anyway — not only because of the massive amounts of fossil fuels required to manufacture and ship their components, but also because of carbon dioxide wind and solar farms generate by warming the soil beneath them.
If climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are really the problem Joe Biden and his supporters seek to solve, they should back nuclear power, the most energy-dense and lowest-emitting fuel available, or President Trump’s One Trillion Trees initiative, which would eliminate two-thirds of manmade carbon dioxide emissions. More importantly, they should be celebrating America’s unprecedented progress in clean air and water, with harmful air pollution down 77% in the last 50 years.
But the climate plans promulgated by leading Democrats like Biden aren’t about the environment. They’re about controlling the American people’s choices.
Instead of a futile and exorbitantly expensive fight against our constantly changing climate, our tax dollars should be spent responsibly on the real problems affecting American families here and now, like economic recovery, disaster preparedness, and public safety.
Ultimately, the government shouldn’t dictate our energy future. The American people should.
This commentary originally appeared in RealClearEnergy on November 2, 2020.