Democrats' Radical Climate Plans
- In their fight against American energy, Democrats in Congress have been busy introducing legislation to stifle energy production, prescribe how electricity providers get their power, and increase the tax burden on energy producers.
- They continue to ignore the reality that fossil fuels account for nearly 80% of U.S. energy consumption and roughly 60% of electricity generation.
- Democrats should work with Republicans on bipartisan policies that use all types of energy sources to keep prices low for families and maintain American energy security.
Democrats in Congress have wasted no time sprinting to the left with their climate agenda. The radical Green New Deal began in 2019 as a fringe talking point. Since then it has become mainstream for Democrats. Over the past several months, they have been busy introducing legislation to stifle the production of traditional energy, prescribe how electricity providers get their power, and increase the tax burden on America’s energy producers.
Land Requirements for Renewable Energy
Democrats’ overarching goal is to end the production of reliable and inexpensive American energy and to use the “climate crisis” to expand the size of government and the amount of money it spends. This reckless strategy could mean higher energy costs for families, pink slips for workers, an end to energy independence, and potentially greater reliance on hostile countries. Democrats also fail to acknowledge glaring challenges facing an abrupt transition of our energy sources, such as the massive land grab that will be necessary to support new wind and solar farms.
Democrats rush to Restrict American Energy
Democrats have made clear their opposition to traditional energy sources. Senator Jeff Merkley introduced the Keep It in the Ground Act to prohibit new leases for the production of oil and gas in offshore waters and on federal lands. One industry analysis of a permanent ban estimated that nearly one million jobs could be cut in two years and that U.S. GDP could be slashed by $700 billion over the course of a decade. The U.S. would need to import an additional 2 million barrels of foreign oil per day to meet demand.
Democrats have introduced sweeping legislation to force a national clean electricity standard, requiring 100% of retail electricity be provided by clean energy by 2035. The bill also seeks to support the electrification of the transportation sector, which would boost electricity demand and further strain the grid. Approximately 60% of electricity was generated using natural gas and coal in 2020. Shifting away from those traditional sources as rapidly as the legislation proposes would likely lead to shortages and blackouts, denying Americans basic staples like home heating and cooling when they need it most. Further, some 30 states already have a renewable portfolio standard to boost the share of those energy sources, minimizing the need for a one-size-fits-all federal approach.
A bill introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders would require the president to declare a national emergency with respect to climate, giving unelected bureaucrats broad powers to upend our economy. Another proposal would provide $1 trillion for a federally funded Green New Deal for cities. While billed as an effort to improve infrastructure affected by climate change, it would prohibit projects to promote carbon capture and storage and nuclear power.
Once Democrats declared a “climate crisis,” it presented a prime opportunity for them to formulate ways to spend more taxpayer money. They are seeking to spend billions on “green infrastructure” projects at public schools. Democrats also are calling for the creation of a “Civilian Climate Corps” that would give people enlisting in the corps free housing, food, transportation, and clothing. President Biden allocated $10 billion for the corps in his so-called American Jobs Plan.
In all of this, Democrats continue to ignore that fossil fuels account for about 80% of our nation’s energy consumption and the oil and gas industry supports an estimated 10 million jobs. Republicans have offered ideas for an all-of-the-above energy strategy that bolsters innovation. Democrats used to support those ideas, but no longer. They have become so radicalized on this issue that they would rather serve up platitudes about a crisis and demagogue “solutions” that are expensive and unworkable. Their burdensome strategy will likely mean America has to buy more fuel from hostile nations. We have already seen this in Massachusetts in 2018. The state – which is a few hundred miles away from one of America’s largest gas fields, the Marcellus Shale – was forced to import natural gas from Russia to meet its needs due to a lack of pipeline capacity.
The production of reliable and inexpensive American energy has meant lower energy costs for families. According to one analysis, banning fracking could lead to an increase of $900 billion in household energy costs over a decade. Democrats are pursuing their restrictive energy strategy as a gallon of gasoline already costs nearly a dollar more than it did at this time last year.
Yet another obstacle facing Democrats’ pipe dream is the sheer land acreage necessary for renewable energy production. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Green, for the U.S. to be carbon-free and supported entirely by renewables by 2050, the U.S. would need to quadruple the size of our energy footprint. We would need an additional 250 million acres of land devoted to wind farms and another 17 million acres set aside for solar. The amount of land required for wind farms would be roughly the size of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma .To move this power, we would need to more than triple our network of transmission lines, taking up more land from other uses. The challenges would be compounded by the byzantine federal permitting process.
Democrats’ fight against America’s energy producers knows no bounds. Last month, following the announcement that a bipartisan group of senators had reached an agreement to provide $579 billion in new infrastructure spending, Democrats called for even more to fight climate change. This should come as no surprise, since in the weeks leading up to the announcement some Democratic senators threatened that they would oppose any bill that failed to include their extreme policies. Instead of continuing their limitless crusade against fossil fuels, Democrats should work with Republicans to pass bipartisan legislation to ensure we remain the world’s largest energy producer.