CHUCK TODD question: "You want a total ban on natural gas extraction, fracking, in the next five years. The industry, obviously, supports a lot of jobs around the country, including thousands in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. One union official there told the New York Times, quote, "If we end up with a Democratic candidate that supports a fracking ban, I'm going to tell my members that either you don't vote or you vote for the other guy." What do you tell these workers, it's supporting a big industry right now, sir?"
BERNIE SANDERS: "What I tell these workers is that the scientists are telling us that if we don't act incredibly boldly within the next six, seven years, there will be irreparable damage done not just in Nevada, not just to Vermont or Massachusetts, but to the entire world. Joe [Biden] said it right: This is an existential threat. You know what that means, Chuck? That means we're fighting for the future of this planet."
"If Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren fulfill their pledges to ban fracking upon becoming president in 2021, it would cause natural gas prices to rise by 324%, causing household energy bills to “more than quadruple,” the Chamber projected in a new report. By 2025, drivers would pay twice as much at the pump for gasoline as oil prices spike to $130 per barrel. A fracking ban would eliminate 19 million jobs and reduce GDP by $7.1 trillion by 2025. Most of the job losses would occur in Texas, home to the oil-and-gas rich Permian Basin, where more than 3 million jobs would be affected."
"In the near term, coal use might increase to offset the loss of electricity from natural gas plants. That could increase emissions overall, even if fracking limits lowered emissions of methane and raised the price of oil. It’s also challenging to replace gas use from buildings and in the manufacturing sector immediately, so that would likely require importing more fossil fuels. The economy in every country that has moved down an extreme green path has seen skyrocketing energy costs - 3 times our levels."
One of the moderators during Thursday’s debate asked Biden if he would “be willing to sacrifice some of” the growth that “three consecutive American presidents” have seen in the economy. This economic growth has occurred partly due to oil and gas production.“
The answer is yes,” Biden said, even after the moderator noted that the move could displace hundreds of thousands of jobs. “The answer is yes, because the opportunity, the opportunity for those workers to transition to high paying jobs, as Tom [Steyer] said, is real. We’re the only country that’s taken great crises and turned them into enormous opportunities.”
“We have enormous opportunities,” Biden continued Thursday. “There are so many things we can do. We have to make sure we explain it to those people who are displaced – that their skills are going to be needed for the new opportunities.”