Bernie Sanders is having a good day. He’s thrilled to have influenced the most “progressive” Democratic Party platform since 1917. Oh wait, that was the communist revolution in Russia. I meant since the American Revolution.
Political platforms are manifestos outlining the druthers of the party elite. They don’t carry the weight of law nor even the weight of a campaign promise. You’ll read candidates chided regularly for failing on a campaign promise (Obama 2007: “I can bring the country together…”), but how often do you read a hit piece on one of the parties not fulfilling a platform goal?
Part of the usual hysteria in the DNC platform includes climate change (Don’t dare deny it! The climate is changing; it always has and it always will). However, the Democratic National Committee’s 2016 platform wants formal inquiries into climate denial by fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil.
Treating them like tobacco companies, the platform says “all corporations owe it to their shareholders to fully analyze and disclose risks they face including climate risks. Those who fail to do so should be held accountable. Democrats also respectfully request the Department of Justice 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.”
This time, though, the Democrats don’t just want a “hazardous to your health” sticker on the gas pumps. They want to punish oil companies for producing oil; you know, like countries in the Middle East do (they don’t).
Somehow, Democrats believe that, by crippling the oil industry in America, some renaissance in green energy will take place. While I’m all for advancing green energy (I’ve hugged a tree or two in my time), it’s just not affordable enough to meet all our needs at present. Even the most vigorous proponents believe that it would require an infrastructure overhaul over several decades to complete.
As if that would solve the world’s greenhouse gas problem. Self-centered Democrats may believe that the U.S. is the Great Satan of carbon emissions, but China is much worse. According to InsideClimate News, the U.S. is responsible for 16% of the world’s carbon emissions, more than India at 6%, but way less than China at 28.6%. 80% of China’s production of electricity comes from coal.
So, let’s say that every American is driving an electric car, has a household wind turbine and solar panels. It’s unlikely, despite all our efforts, that we’ll see a big difference in the carbon emission problem. This is because developing economies elsewhere in the world are ramping up their use of fossil fuels.
Americans on the Left want us to go green, so why not everyone else? To see a real change in climate change, they’ll demand that China, India, and the rest of the world stop poisoning the planet too. Highly commendable, but here’s what such a conversation would look like:
America: There’s too much pollution, and it’s causing climate change. You guys need to stop using coal and stuff.
China: Are you kidding? That’s how we get electricity.
India: We can barely afford to feed our people! We need cheap energy.
America: Yeah, but it’s causing climate change. Don’t you realize that Climate.NASA.Gov says the average temperature has risen 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit since the mid-twentieth Century?
India: That’s what, 0.6 degrees Celsius?
America: Yes, you must stop using fossil fuels immediately.
China: Let me get this straight: You’ve been using coal and oil for the last hundred years and became the world’s superpower but, now that we’re developing our economies, you’re concerned about our use of fossil fuels?
India: Doesn’t sound fair to me.
China: Me neither.
America: This is for your own good. How about at least trying?
China: Um, maybe a little. Get back to us in 2030.
So, regardless of the Democrats’ attitude towards oil, even a completely successful conversion to green energy in the U.S. wouldn’t solve whatever human-related factors might be involved in climate change. We share this planet with a lot of other people; it is they that will contribute the grand majority of carbon emissions the rest of this century.
Punishing American companies is not the answer.
Joe and Amy Alton
Joe Alton, MD is a disaster preparedness expert, NYT/Amazon bestselling author, and host of American Survival Radio.