During the 19th century, the Anti(s) worked hard to bankrupt the transportation system, one of the major drivers of industrial progress then. They largely succeeded. There's not much of a train system in this country, at least not one anywhere near what it would have been.
A hundred years later, they're getting around to the second major engine, and one even more fundamental: energy production. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008, Obama revealed what his preferred plans were with respect to the coal industry: to bankrupt it.
Let me sort of describe my overall policy.Once again, the goal is to use the power of government to rush ahead of the market to create a 'clean' source of energy. The cover story for this is to usher in a new age of energy production with no alleged downside: solar, wind, biodiesel. The fact is, that all these have significant drawbacks both economically and environmentally.
What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.
I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted. [emphasis added]
That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.
The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.
Beyond that, they have one major drawback that no one knows how to overcome yet. They don't exist, not on anywhere near the scale that would be required to replace coal as an energy source. (Coal is used to power over 48% of all U.S. electricity production. EIA Oct. 2008)
The only viable replacement for coal, and it's a superb one both from the standpoint of cost and pollution, is nuclear fission power plants. That technology is safe, cost-effective, and well-developed. There are also immediately deployable improvements that would make it lower cost, safer, and provide for long-term energy supply.
All that being true, the viros will continue to fight tooth and nail to keep it from being expanded. Barack Obama has never given anything but the merest lip-service to nuclear power, despite its being favored even by a healthy percentage of environmentalists. He still pretends that the waste can't be handled safely, despite the demonstrable fact that it is every day by actual working power plants here and abroad.
France produces nearly 80% of its electricity from nuclear power plants, Japan almost 30%. The U.S. relies on nuclear power for about 19% of its electricity, and many of the plants are aging. There have been no new plants in over 20 years. Left to Barack Obama and the like-minded, there never will be.
Let's hope that coal-producing swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and others get the message. Time is running out, both in this campaign and for the United States power industries.
Update 11/3/2008: Added video containing additional material.
Entire 48 min interview in mp3 format.
Obama SF Chronicle Interview on Coal and Cap-Trade
Obama states the false view I referenced above about nuclear material not being handled properly. Consider:
- 1. Number of deaths reported over the past 50 years due to unsafe handling of nuclear fuel or waste: 0
- 2. Increase in cancer rates reported over the past 50 years due to unsafe handling of nuclear fuel or waste: 0
- 3. Number of rogue atomic weapons created over the past 50 years from material gained as a result of insecure handling of nuclear fuel or waste: 0.
In now standard Obama fashion, he says what he thinks someone wants to hear, then sensing their reaction tries to shift gears. The master chameleon at work. If elected, this habit will only intensify as he is pushed by competing interest groups.