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Democrat's Platform Up Close - 2016

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Aug 23, 2016 at 9:42 AM
Climate Change

“We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century.”

The term “clean energy” is not defined in the platform, so it is not clear whether natural gas and propane are included, which leaves significant political flexibility and significant energy user uncertainty. If “clean” refers to “carbon pollution”, a term used elsewhere in the platform, then we are left with nuclear, solar, wind, biomass and possibly Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and Wave Energy, which would make achieving this goal both more expensive and less likely.

“Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals.”

The “carbon tax” rears its ugly head again. Note that there is no recognition of any positive externalities of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations, such as the greening of the planet documented by NASA. Also, note that a “carbon tax” is a “sin tax”, purportedly intended to drive the “sin” out of existence, though focused more on revenue generation. However, as the “sin” begins to decline, the tax must be increased to sustain revenue production.

“The impacts of climate change will also disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities, tribal nations, and Alaska Native villages—all of which suffer the worst losses during extreme weather and have the fewest resources to prepare. Simply put, this is environmental racism.”

The Democrats just can’t help themselves. The “race card” must be dealt, early and often. At least they avoided the tried and true “women and children most affected”. However, they did highlight “environmental and climate justice”.

“All corporations owe it to their shareholders to fully analyze and disclose the risks they face, including climate risk. Those who fail to do so should be held accountable. Democrats also respectfully request the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies accused of misleading shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.”

The effort to criminalize dissent would continue. However, no fossil fuel company denies “the scientific reality of climate change”, though they do question the magnitude of the anthropogenic contribution to climate change and the likelihood of that anthropogenic contribution leading to climate catastrophe. Future climate catastrophe is not now “scientific reality”. The bigger danger to fossil fuel industry shareholders is the financial risk to their investments from precipitous and unnecessary government regulations.

“Democrats oppose efforts to undermine the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act to protect threatened and endangered species.”

However, Democrats continue to advocate for wind energy expansion and incentives, despite the increasingly well documented impacts of wind farms on a number of endangered species of birds and bats. Democrats also continue to advocate for concentrating solar power, despite the documented effects on birds flying through the concentrated beams of solar energy.