Whether you accept or reject the climate change narrative, most people agree that we should avoid pouring massive amounts of anything with potentially harmful consequences into the atmosphere.
There is scientific evidence that excessive levels of carbon in the atmosphere could adversely impact our climate – and we are emitting a lot of carbon.
What interests me is that the politicians issuing the loudest warnings about catastrophic climate change are the same people who vigorously oppose the most practical and effective means of combating it.
According to BP’s 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy, an energy economics publication, global carbon emissions grew about 2 percent in 2018 to 33,890.8 million metric tons, due primarily to increased demand for heating and cooling services.
While U.S. carbon emissions also increased in 2018, the U.S. has been the world’s leader in reducing carbon emissions for over a decade.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, carbon emissions in this country declined 14 percent between 2005 and 2017, “mainly because more electricity has been generated from natural gas” – a more efficient and “less carbon-intensive fuel than either coal or petroleum.”
The EIA is forecasting a 2.2 percent decline in U.S. carbon emissions in 2019 as natural gas continues to replace coal in generating electricity. Fortunately, we have natural gas in abundance, thanks to a private sector-developed extraction process known as fracking.
Fracking does release methane gas, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, released in April 2019, U.S. methane emissions declined 15.8 percent between 1990 and 2017, while natural gas production increased by 51 percent.
More energy, less methane and carbon. Sounds like progress.
Nonetheless, virtually every Democratic presidential candidate who participated in CNN’s recent seven-hour climate change marathon opposes fracking.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, said she would “ban fracking – everywhere” on her first day as president, a mandate that would undoubtedly increase our carbon emissions. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., never one to rigidly tether his policies to reality, would “ban fracking on all public and private lands.”
In any event, reducing the world’s carbon emissions is not something any American president alone can achieve. While U.S. emissions are significant and should be reduced, they constitute only 15.2 percent of the world’s total.
China emitted 27.8 percent, or 9,428.7 million metric tons, of carbon in 2018. That’s more than the U.S. (5,145.2 million) and the European Union (4,248.4 million) combined.
To reduce emissions we need plausible alternatives. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are currently incapable of meeting the world's energy demands on their own.
As respected environmentalist and former renewables advocate Michael Shallenberger explains in a piece in Quillette magazine titled "Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet," both wind and solar currently lack the capacity to generate or store sufficient energy to meet global demand.
Hydroelectric and geothermal energy production are limited geographically. With current technology, renewables alone simply are not a viable alternative.
Instead, Shallenberger has become an advocate of nuclear energy – a safe and inexpensive means of significantly reducing carbon emissions.
Nuclear energy already cleanly supplies over 10 percent of the world’s electricity and, according to a February 2019 report from the World Nuclear Association, almost all reports "on future energy supply from major organizations suggest an increasing role for nuclear power as an environmentally benign way of producing reliable electricity on a large scale.”
Clearly, certain Democrats are more determined to scare us into accepting socialism than in reducing carbon emissions. Otherwise, why reject effective solutions that we know will reduce – and are today reducing – carbon emissions without reversing the incredible progress we have made since the Industrial Revolution in reducing extreme poverty, hunger and infant mortality – increasing life expectancy and improving standards of living to the highest levels in human history.
In fact, it’s difficult to take anyone seriously who rails against increased carbon emissions but either refuses to consider nuclear power as part of the mix (Sanders), opposes building new reactors (former vice president Joe Biden), or declines to take a position on nuclear energy (Warren).
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Opposing not only natural gas but also nuclear energy raises the question of what Democrats are actually trying to accomplish under the guise of climate change. There have been some clues.
Saikat Chakrabarti, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s former chief of staff, admitted in July that the true motivation behind the Green New Deal wasn’t a “climate thing.” It was “a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing,” he said.
That helps explain why progressives are attempting to generate climate panic while opposing practical means for reducing carbon emissions. It also explains why they favor massive tax increases, excessively burdensome regulation and spending virtually incomprehensible sums on far less effective, if not ineffective, approaches.
Clearly, certain Democrats are more determined to scare us into accepting socialism than in reducing carbon emissions.
Otherwise, why reject effective solutions that we know will reduce – and are today reducing – carbon emissions without reversing the incredible progress we have made since the Industrial Revolution in reducing extreme poverty, hunger and infant mortality – increasing life expectancy and improving standards of living to the highest levels in human history.
We have the means to reduce carbon emissions without rendering ourselves subservient to a class of government elites, surrendering our freedoms, or destroying our economy – despite the left’s continuing attempts to scare us into serfdom.