In recent years, the US energy industry has undergone a revolution. The advent of fracking has lead to a massive increase in natural gas production. Much of it is concentrated in Appalachia, providing needed jobs in an otherwise depressed region.
Oil production has surged too, and while America is still importing crude oil, the goal of energy independence is getting closer. Given the economic and environmental benefits, you may be wondering who could have problem with that. The answer?
Kamala Harris certainly does. At a CNN town hall on climate change, Harris pledged to limit fracking on public land, with the eventual goal of banning the practice altogether.
How this would benefit the environment isn’t clear; after all, natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available. How working families in Pennsylvania and Ohio would cope with the loss of their jobs isn’t clear either.
Still, she wasn’t the only one calling for a ban on fracking, and it’s not all she wants to get rid of.
Harris also said we should ban offshore drilling, with both Corey Booker and Beto O’Rourke promising the same. Of course, the demand for oil isn’t likely to drop, which means restrictions on domestic drilling will be followed by more petroleum imports, often from countries with far weaker environmental standards. And as the oil flows in, American money and jobs flow out.
On electricity, Democratic front runner Joe Biden said, “No one is going to build another coal-burning plant–we’ve got to shut the ones down we have.”
Biden didn’t explain where our electricity is supposed to come from, as wind and solar energy production is less reliable and more expensive. However, Elizabeth Warren made clear the short fall isn’t going to be made up by nuclear power, stating that “we’re not going to build any new nuclear power plants” under her administration.
That the Democrats would take such positions isn't surprising, as the Obama administration repeatedly blocked pipeline construction and restricted fracking on public lands; in the state of New York, Democrats have banned it altogether.
Even if you accept the premise that man-made carbon emissions are the primary cause of climate change (and not all scientists do) , the US only accounts for a small fraction of the world's total. What's more, its carbon output is declining.
The simple fact is, shutting down America's energy industry wouldn't give us a cooler planet. However, there's something that higher fuel prices and the loss of almost seven million jobs would leave us with.
A ruined economy.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.