Do you think that Joe Biden has signed on to the Green New Deal? Do you have the idea that Biden is fully committed if he becomes President to doing away with fossil fuel energy and replacing it with the wind and sun as quickly as possible? Where could you possibly have gotten those ideas? More on that later in the post.
Certainly in the past couple of weeks you might have gotten exactly the opposite impression. You probably know that Pennsylvania has in recent years become a major producer of natural gas from “fracking.” Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians now work in the industry, and hundreds of thousands have jobs in some way supported by the industry. Pennsylvania is a swing state that both Biden and Trump likely need in order to win. In August Trump campaign allies started running ads in Pennsylvania accusing Biden of seeking to ban fracking, which would thereby destroy a substantial Pennsylvania industry. On August 18, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Biden campaign had requested various television stations to take down those ads on the ground that they were “inaccurate.” Then yesterday Biden showed up in Pittsburgh to make a rare campaign speech. Key quote on this subject:
I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me.
Are you sure Joe?
There is nothing more divorced from reality than the politics of climate change and energy. The politics of “climate change” starts with decades of media hype about a claimed climate crisis that supposedly can only be solved by getting rid of fossil fuels and spending multiple trillions of taxpayer dollars to build out a huge new “green” energy system based on the wind and sun. The hyped narrative has long since become official Democratic Party dogma. Essentially all Democratic politicians have signed on to the “green energy” program; and in the left wing of the Democratic Party — the Bernies and the AOCs — you have a bidding war as to who will pledge to spend the most of other people’s money to accomplish the transition the fastest. Even many Republicans have been bullied by the endless media hype into supporting some or other form of restrictions on fossil fuels, such as carbon taxes.
At the same time you have the inexorable facts from the real world: things like, atmospheric temperatures refuse to rise rapidly as predicted by alarmists; wind and solar power don’t work all the time to run an electric grid; wind and solar require either back-up from fossil fuels or massive battery storage, either of which multiplies the cost of the electrical system and of the resulting electricity; hundreds of thousands of people work in the fossil fuel extraction industries, and their jobs are threatened; wind and solar energy cannot be used for many applications, such as airplanes and various industrial functions; and so forth.
I have long argued that sooner or later reality would prevail over delusional progressive hype of “green” energy — energy that doesn’t work and that requires spending trillions in futile efforts to try to influence global air temperature by (maybe) a few tenths or hundredths of a degree. My prediction has been that the politics of “green” energy would eventually flip, and that the advocacy of the “green” energy would ultimately become politically toxic. I have thought that the likely mechanism for the flip would be some combination of soaring electricity prices and/or frequent blackouts, as increasing penetration of wind and solar simultaneously destabilized the grid and required expensive redundant generation and/or storage facilities.
Of course our national leader in “green” energy fantasy is California. There, things are all proceeding as I have foreseen, but unfortunately too slowly to have much significant political effect in the current election cycle. Through a combination of “green” energy mandates, subsidies, and forced closure of fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, California has managed to gets its percentage of electricity produced from wind and solar up to about 30%. Supposedly, that’s going to go to 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2045. But even at 30%, problems are starting to manifest themselves. As you likely know, the past couple of weeks have seen power shortages in California, mostly in the early evenings, as a heat wave has brought high power demand and low winds, and the sun inexorably sets around 7:30. The result has been intentionally-imposed rolling blackouts. The “green” energy mandates have also gradually driven up the price of electricity in California. According to ChooseEnergy here, updated to today, California has the fourth highest electricity prices in the country, at an average of 19.79 cents/kWh, versus a national average of 13.28 c/kWh. But unfortunately, a few hours of imposed blackouts here and there, plus electricity prices around 20 c/kWh (60% above national average) are probably not going to flip California to red. To get there, it will probably take prices more like 40 c/kWh (triple national average) plus several hours of blackouts every few days. Maybe that will happen in time for the election in 2028.
So in the current cycle, Pennsylvania has become the flashpoint. There the current issue is not blackouts or artificially-increased electricity prices, but rather the jobs in the fracking industry. Given that Trump won the state in 2016, but by only about 44,000 votes, Biden has a strong incentive to try to convince voters that he does not seek to ban fracking. Thus the recent claims to that effect, and the effort to banish ads associating him with such a potential ban.
Well, it seems that the official Biden campaign position is that his plan is only to ban fracking on federal lands, and not institute a national ban on all fracking. Really?
Go to this link to view a one minute video of Biden pledging multiple times in various words at different forums to ban frackingand/or all fossil fuels. I wish I could figure out how to embed the video here. But, if you don’t want to take the time to go to the link and see the video, here are a few choice quotes:
At a debate with Bernie Sanders: “No more — no new fracking.”
At a campaign appearance: “We are going to get rid of fossil fuels.”
In response to a question at a debate: “Q. Would there be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration? A. No, we would work it out, we would make sure it’s eliminated.”
At another campaign event: “I guarantee you, I guarantee you, we are going to end fossil fuel . . . .”
At another debate with Sanders: “No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period.”
There are more of same. And then there are the “recommendations” of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, issued back in July. The first section of that manifesto deals with what they call the “climate crisis” and “environmental justice.” The committee that put together this particular set of “recommendations” was headed by that great team of John Kerry and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. lt is filled with policies that are completely inconsistent with the continuation of fracking. Examples:
“[T]he United States—and the world—must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and no later than 2050.”
“To reach net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible, Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035.”
“Democrats will partner with farmers to make the American agriculture sector the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions.”
How any of those goals (or multiple others in the document) could be achieved while fracking continues remains unexplained.
At the link to the Biden video above, Matt Margolis of PJ Media accuses Biden of “flip-flopping” on this issue. But this is not what is generally understood as a “flip-flop.” A flip-flop is when a politician first takes one position, and then later changes to another position when it appears that the political winds have shifted. That’s not this situation. Here, the plan of the Biden campaign appears to be to brazenly tell two completely inconsistent stories at the same time to two separate audiences, all with the full expectation of cooperation and assistance in the endeavor from the complicit media. To the out-state Pennsylvania voter the Bidenites say it is a “lie” that the candidate intends to ban fracking; but when addressing the party’s base of environmentalists and coastal elites, the story is that “we are going to get rid of fossil fuels.”
If you are the Pennsylvanian earning a living directly or indirectly from the frackingbusiness, here is my thought for you: no matter how many times Biden may say in the campaign that “I am not banning fracking,” once he is in office, that will be inoperative. He will answer to the party’s left and to the progressives and environmentalists. Your job will mean nothing to him. But I suspect you already realize that.
UPDATE, September 2: Somebody has made a split screen video of Biden speaking out of both sides of his mouth on this issue. I just wish I knew how to do that.