The Absurdity of the Bernie Sanders and AOC Anti-Fracking Crusade

The Washington Examiner

Bernie Sanders wants to be president, and many believe him to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. This should scare the dickens out of all workers and everyone investing for retirement.

 

Here’s one more reason: The socialist senator has declared war on the single industry that nearly everyone, including President Barack Obama, has recognized as essential to the nation’s economic growth and which remains at the heart of its current boom in employment and wages.

Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have each introduced a bill in their respective chambers of Congress that would ban hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Fracking is the method that has revolutionized oil and gas exploration in the United States, suddenly trebling the amount of recoverable oil and gas and making the nation energy-independent overnight. The Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez campaign to ban fracking is based on discredited, insulting, false, and ignorant claims. Were they to succeed, it would be devastating for the entire nation.

If Democrats nominate Sanders, proposals such as this one will have immediate political consequences. As Dave Wasserman noted this week, Democrats still have a lot of votes to lose below Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance in fracking-friendly areas such as Western Pennsylvania. There are parts of the U.S., some of them in key swing states, where direct and indirect economic benefits of fracking have brought entire dead towns back to life.

And if a fracking ban were actually to go into effect, the economic destruction would result in an even greater political backlash. The U.S. is booming right now in part because of the wealth, jobs, and lower energy prices that fracking has produced while making the U.S. a net energy exporter for the first time in about 80 years.

But politics aside, the Sanders plan, like the plans of all other Democrats who want to limit or abolish fracking, would result in a large increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

Yes, you read that correctly. A ban on fracking means we keep using more coal for electricity. Ocasio-Cortez claims to believe that the world is doomed if we don’t stop emitting carbon in 10 years, yet she simultaneously supports a bill that will raise total carbon emissions over the next 10 years.

You see, the U.S. is one of the very few nations in the world whose carbon dioxide emissions are actually in decline. They fell by 2% in 2019, and they are down more than 14% since their peak in 2007, already to levels below those of 1993.

The reason for this is fracking, which has done more to reduce emissions than all the environmental activism in the history of the world.

By unlocking massive stores of natural gas and causing prices to plummet, fracking has turned gas into a feasible source of electricity, both within and outside the U.S. (Gas exports to Mexico are already huge and growing.) As a result, gas has overtaken coal as the dominant fuel, and its use continues to grow at coal’s expense. When burnt, coal emits twice as much carbon dioxide as gas per unit of energy. Thus, fracking has caused U.S. greenhouse emissions to fall, even as energy use has increased.

Better still, the technology already exists for carbon-free natural gas electrical generation, and it is in use at a demonstration site in Texas. Between gas, nuclear power (including future thorium and fusion power), geothermal, and hydroelectric sources, the U.S. will be able to eliminate nearly all carbon emissions without any more expensive renewable-energy subsidies or noxious social justice activism.

This will surely disappoint environmental fundamentalists. For as Ocasio-Cortez’s former chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti admitted, even her $97 trillion Green New Deal scheme was not really about the environment but about transforming society.

The far Left wants to return the U.S. to Year Zero, radically reorganizing the entire economy. This is not our claim — they say it openly. They want to begin with a cutoff of the abundant energy supply, which makes possible and affordable all the comforts that modern society takes for granted — everything from smartphones to toilet paper. Through central planning, these socialist politicians hope to disassemble profitable industries and reassign labor and capital according to dumb, naive, and poorly planned “five-year plans” and “great leaps forward” — something Ocasio-Cortez reminded everyone of last year with a well-produced animated video.

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