The Dramatic Shift in Democratic Party Climate Policy since 1997Alan Carlin | October 15, 2015
Based partly on their statements at the October 13 Democratic presidential candidate debate, four of the current five Democratic candidates for President are now proposing a dramatic change in Democratic Party climate policy compared to 1997. They now favor unilateral reductions in US CO2 emissions and building many more non-hydro “renewable” energy sources in the US even if other countries do not. Some even propose CO2-free energy generation by a specified date.
Besides the lack of any rational reason to reduce human-caused CO2 emissions, as discussed in my new book, Environmentalism Gome Mad (available from the book website), these policy positions, which are supported by the Obama Administration, would have the result that the US would become less competitive in world markets than it already is unless all other countries make equivalent sacrifices and that the US standard of living will be reduced compared to what it otherwise would have been.
The Obama Administration is not waiting for the Paris COP21 meeting in early December to impose these CO2 reductions–they have already done so. Since all countries are free to promise whatever they choose in reductions, it is already clear that even a new Protocol agreed to in Paris will not provide even minimal assurance that all nations will agree to make equal reductions to those now undertaken by the US, or any assurance that those reductions they do agree to would actually result in the reductions they may promise in a possible new Paris accord.
Candidates Claim that We Should Reduce CO2 Emissons for Our Children, but This Will Actually Harm Them
The justification offered by most of the candidates is that our children would supposedly be living in a better world. But they are far more likely to be living in a better world if the US is more economically competitive in the world (and thus can offer more jobs to our children), and has a better standard of living (which will result in higher income and more affluent lifestyles for our children). And it is undeniable that since atmospheric CO2 levels rapidly equilibrate worldwide, reductions by the US alone will have no measurable effects on either atmospheric CO2 levels and therefore on climate even assuming the alarmist climate fantasy. Even the USEPA agrees on that.
In other words, all but one of the Democratic candidates are willing to sacrifice US competitiveness and living standards regardless of whether other countries make equal sacrifices. Yet they all claim that they want to improve the economy, provide jobs, etc.
The European Union, one of our important international competitors, has proposed stricter CO2 emission standards than their current ones as part of the UN process but it is unclear what they will do if a less than legally binding international agreement to reduce emissions is concluded in Paris. This is because a number of EU countries oppose the proposed stricter emission standards unless the rest of the world agrees to a legally binding international agreement to make similar reductions.
In July, 1997, the US Senate voted 95 to 0 that the United States should not sign any agreement that omitted binding targets for developing countries or that would seriously harm the U.S. economy. Now most of the Democratic Presidential candidates propose to do exactly what their senators voted not to do in 1997. This is a significant policy shift with large implications for the US economy. And most of the 2016 Democratic candidates’ proposed climate policies are inconsistent with their stated economic goals.