Latest posts by H. Sterling Burnett (see all)
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The Democratic and Republican party platforms are a study in contrasts.
Democratic operatives responsible for writing their party’s platform unanimously adopted a provision calling for the Department of Justice to investigate companies that disagree with Democrats on global warming science.
The committee also unanimously approved a provision driven by representatives from the camps of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2050. According to the platform summary, “Moving beyond the ‘all of the above’ energy approach in the 2012 platform, the 2016 platform draft re-frames the urgency of climate change as a central challenge of our time, already impacting American communities and calling for generating 50% clean electricity within the next 10 years.”
Should the proposed platform be adopted with the climate-investigation and fossil-fuel provisions intact when the Democratic National Convention meets this week, the positions would represent a real break of several sorts: a break with the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech, a break with the scientific method and the mounting evidence showing no human-caused climate disaster is in the offing, a break with the reality that the U.S. economy needs fossil fuels and a break with Democrats’ traditional allies in organized labor, since the proposals will put tens of thousands of union workers out of their jobs.
In its current form, the draft platform represents a true takeover of the Democratic Party by its progressive wing. Moderates, blue-dog Democrats and members concerned about workers and the poor are left out in the cold.
While the energy planks in the Democratic Party’s platform is one of exclusion, the Republican Party platform is one of inclusion — a rainbow of color from black coal to the blue flame of natural gas to the reflective silicon of solar panels to the blue-green waters of hydropower. Republicans continue to embrace an all-of-the-above energy policy, which is exactly what America needs.
The Republican platform reflects the view that energy production and use is a critical “economic and national security issue” that demands “the enactment of policies to increase domestic energy, including on public lands.”
The Republican platform also takes up presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to reverse the Obama administration’s “war on coal,” and it would forbid the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide, cancel EPA’s Clean Power Plan and it opposes carbon taxes. It also would bar federal fracking regulations and expedite the approval of natural gas and coal export terminals.
The energy portion of the Republican platform might be called, borrowing from Trump, the “America First Energy Plan.”
Ironically, despite Democrats’ claims that allege their party is pushing the energy of the future while Republicans are clinging to the outdated energy sources of the past, the renewable energy sources Democrats promote are some of the oldest forms of power in human history that still have many of the same problems they’ve always had.
Solar power is the oldest form of power; it powers the growth of plants through photosynthesis. It is diffuse, meaning while it produces a lot of power, it is spread out over a wide area and is intermittent and variable, thus crop production requires the use of millions of acres and regular sunlight.
Similarly, humans have used wind mills to pump water and turn machinery for centuries before the first coal seam was mined or the first oil well drilled. Wind power also suffers from the same inherent weaknesses it always has; it takes a lot of land to produce any appreciable amount of power, and it is intermittent and variable.
I don’t know about you, but I want my refrigerator and lights to work 24 hours a day.
Give me instead the conveniences made possible by a modern electric power system run largely on inexpensive fossil fuels. America has hundreds of years’ worth of coal, natural gas and oil. Let’s use them rather than “leave it in the ground,” as the Democrats’ platform would have us do.