Democratic Party presidential candidates answer question about climate change and energy plans
Transcript of the video above.
Anderson Cooper: A lot of questions about climate change. I want to go to Don Lemon. Don?
Don Lemon: This one is for Martin O’Malley. Governor O’Malley, this one is from Anna Bettis from Tempe Arizona.
Anna Bettis: As a young person I am very concerned about climate change and how it will affect my future. As presidential candidate, what will you do to address climate change?
Don Lemon: Governor O’Malley, please tell Anna how you will protect the environment better than all of the other candidates up on that stage.
Governor O’Malley: I have put forward a plan, and I am the only candidate, I believe, in either party to do this, to move America forward to a 100% clean electric grid by 2050.
We did not land a man on the moon with an all of the above strategy. It was an intentional engineering challenge, and we solved it as a nation. And our nation must solve this one. So I put forward the plan that will extend the investor tax credits for solar, and for wind. If you go across Iowa, you will see that 30% of their energy now comes from wind.
Here in Las Vegas, one of the most sustainable cities in America, doing important things like green building, architecture and design. We can get there as a nation but it’s going to require presidential leadership. As president, I intend to sign as my very first order in office an order that moves us as a nation and dedicates our resources to solving this problem and moving to a 100% clean electric grid by 2050.
Anderson Cooper: Governor O’Malley, thank you very much. Senator Webb, you have a very different view that just about anybody on this stage and unlike a lot of Democrats. You’re pro-coal, you’re pro-offshore drilling, you’re pro-Keystone Pipeline. The question is, are you out of step with the Democratic Party.
Senator Webb: The question really is how are we going to solve energy problems in the global environment if you really want to address climate change. When I was in the Senate, I was an all of the above energy voter. I introduced legislation to bring in alternate energy as well as nuclear power. I’m a strong proponent of nuclear power. It is safe, it is clean.
And really, we are not going to solve climate change simply with the laws here. We’ve done a good job in this country since 1970.
Aside: 1970 was the year that nuclear electricity production exceeded 1% of total US electricity production. It became visible in the Energy Information Agency annual graphs of electricity sources. End Aside.
If you look at China and India, they’re the greatest polluters in the world. 15 out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in one of those two countries. We need to solve this in a global way. It’s a global problem and I have been very strong in doing that. The agreements, the so-called agreements that we have had with China are illusory in terms of the immediate requirements of the Chinese government itself.
So let’s solve this problem in an international way and then we really will have a way to address climate change.
Anderson Cooper: Senator Sanders, are you tougher on climate change than Secretary Clinton?
Senator Sanders: Well, I will tell you this. I believe, and Pope Francis made this point, this is a moral issue. The scientists are telling us that we need to move extremely boldly. I am proud, that along with Senator Boxer a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation that called for a tax on carbon.
And let me also tell you that nothing that nothing is going to happen unless we are prepared to deal with campaign finance reform because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party which denies the reality of climate change and certainly is not prepared to go forward aggressively. This is a moral issue. We have got to be extremely aggressive about working with China, India, Russia. The planet, the future of the planet is at stake.
Anderson Cooper: Secretary Clinton, I want you to be able to respond and then I’ve got to go to Dana.
Secretary Clinton: Well that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. When we met in Copenhagen in 2009, and, literally, President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese. Going throughout this huge convention center because we knew we had to get them to agree to something. Because there will be no effective effort to address climate change unless China and India join with the rest of the world. They told us they’d left for the airport. We found out that they were having a secret meeting. We marched up and broke in. We said we’ve been looking all over for you. Let’s sit down and talk about what we need to do. And we did come up with the first international agreement that China has signed.
Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, it’s now gone much further and I do believe that the bilateral agreement that the president made with the Chinese was significant. Now it needs to go further and there will be an international meeting at the end of this year. And we must get verifiable commitments to fight climate change from every country gathered there.
I have become a single issue voter, even though I understand that the world is a terribly complex place and there are many issues that must be addressed. In my view, however, nearly all of the issues have some relationship with the choices that we make about energy supplies.
For nearly 200 years, hydrocarbon/carbohydrate combustion has been the foundation of our modern society. It now enables billions of people to live on a planet that used to support only hundreds of millions, many of whom were terribly hungry for at least a portion of their lives, especially during winter and spring after poor harvests.
Most of us can command lights, air conditioning, heating, refrigeration, sanitary systems, laundries, and entertainment with the flick of a switch. We can travel, we can eat fresh fruits and vegetables no matter what season it is, and we can extract metals from rocks.
On the negative side, we are using the only atmosphere in the universe that we know that provides breathable air, protects our common home from excessive UV radiation, and traps just the right amount of radiant solar energy to keep most parts of the planet in the temperate range as a waste dump.
Pollution control devices have dramatically improved in the past half a century, enabling a vastly expanded use of fossil fuel while reducing the areas where waste product concentrations are high enough to cause a direct threat of negative health consequences in a moderately short period of time.
There are still areas in the world where pollution can cause disease and death rather quickly and other areas that experience occasional periods of dangerously high levels when air exchange is limited by weather patterns.
Even with improved pollution controls, combustion produces carbon dioxide that must be released to the atmosphere. That gas, though benign from a health prospective at levels below about 8,000 parts per million (0.8%) traps heat and causes effects that are somewhat unpredictable without more detailed, larger scale experimentation to validate computer models.
I’m not a fan of experimenting on the only atmosphere we have. Though I am sure we will never eliminate combustion, we should be working to turn the curve from concave up to concave down and pass through peak CO2 production as soon as possible.
There are also a few billion people who cannot afford to burn fossil fuels to provide reliable access to power. Even in wealthy areas, fossil fuel prices are highly variable and often drive massive shifts in wealth. Occasional periods of scarcity and uneven distribution around the world also make us vulnerable if we continue to allow fossil fuels to be our dominate source of power.
The best available alternative to continuing to increase our dependence on fossil fuel combustion is actinide fission. Even with our currently primitive fuel cycles, nuclear energy releases about as much CO2 for its full life cycle as wind and substantially less than is released in the life cycle of photovoltaic devices.
We know that uranium, thorium and plutonium are all fissionable materials and that the earth has a large enough inventory of those super fuels to last as long as human society can last. Uranium and thorium are widely dispersed around the world.
In other words, before any presidential candidate can get my vote, that candidate will have to acknowledge that fission will have a powerful role in our future.
Here is my take on how the current Democratic Party candidates score on my single issue.
Aside: I suspect none of the candidates really care about my opinion, but this is my blog, so I suspect anyone who bothers to read it might care — at least a little. End Aside.
Martin O’Malley is carefully trying to woo Iowa voters and not scare off too many people in the Democratic Party base. His 100% clean energy plan as currently described is completely silent on nuclear power and reads as if he is cribbing notes from Mark Z. Jacobson. The glimmer of hope I’m nourishing is based on my personal long term memory and that which is stored for everyone to find on the web.
Back in 2009, when I was still a Maryland resident and O’Malley was the governor, I was closely tracking the discussions and public meetings associated with the project to build Calvert Cliffs unit 3 in Calvert County, Maryland. Though the project is currently dead, Governor O’Malley was a strong supporter and included nuclear energy in his definition of clean energy, at least up until the time that he began running for president.
I remain encouraged by his description of the problem as one that cannot be addressed with an all of the above approach and instead must be solved with good engineering.
Few engineers that are not directly tied to the wind or solar industry would agree that a 100% “renewable” energy system is an elegant or efficient way to provide reliable electricity to today’s population and that it is even less suitable for a larger future population.
I suspect that O’Malley still supports nuclear energy, but that he has been given poor advice to remain silent on the issue, even though it could help capture the attention his campaign needs in order to have a hope of getting past the front runners.
Jim Webb confidently asserts that he is a strong supporter of nuclear energy because it is clean and safe. That is a great statement and does not obscure a secret animosity by implying that he would only support some kind of idealized, future development of nuclear that is “safer” than what we have already proven in commercial applications. I’m sure that he would support efforts to improve the technology, but that shouldn’t deter immediate deployment of more of what we already have.
Bernie Sanders has a personal conundrum. He claims that effectively addressing climate change is a moral issue and aligns himself with the Pope. He also claims that the world’s scientists have identified the problem and tell us that we need to address it promptly.
However, he is also proud about his alignment with Senator Barbara Boxer. She successfully pushed San Onofre out of the electricity production business and is working to rid her state of the last remaining nuclear plant. Sanders was opposed to the continued operation of Vermont Yankee and contributed to that state’s disappearance from the top of the list in terms of best per capital CO2 emissions among states in the US.
Sanders demonstrates selective reading skills by appealing to to the work of scientists in identifying the problem and pushing for a solution while also rejecting one of the most effective solutions identified by the IPCC and by independent scientists like James Hansen, Tim Wigley, Ken Caldeira, and Kerry Emanuel.
I’m fine with his call to put a price on carbon, especially if he adheres to his democratic socialist philosophy and returns all proceeds of the tax equally to every citizen except those in the top 1% of income already.
Sanders needs to flop on this issue in the face of his apparent desire to effective address the issue using the best available science. Until he does, I will continue working to expose his illogical and unsupportable stance.
Clinton’s response was, in my opinion, bizarre.
I’m cannot begin to understand why she proudly told a story that gives the impression that the President of the United States and his Secretary of State can only meet with Chinese leaders after a paparazzi-like hunt. Her version of the tale results in the President and the Secretary of State breaking into a private room in a large convention center and demanding an immediate, binding negotiation without any reference to technical advice on an exceedingly technical and far reaching topic.
I would expect that the leader of the free world has better schedulers and staff support than that.
Excellent comments, Rod.
Of course, our next Potus is predetermined. This charade of an electoral process will end exactly as the financial heavy hitters intend it to. Those such as Webb, who might actually institute policies beneficial to our national interest, are non-players, chaffe. They are merely placed in the process to give an illusion of choice.
So, its Trump, Clinton, Bush, or Sanders. Count Sanders out. He was chosen as the delegated geek, lacking a persona that is electable, much like, oh…..what was that guy’s name, (?), the one that looks like s mouse? Doesn’t mstter, you get my point. So, that narrows it down to Bush, Trump, or Hillary. And behind the curtains, all three represent the same interests. So take your choice, if you can call it that. Regretfully, not one of them will benefit NE. Unless, of course, NE suddenly comes up with mountains of million dollar bills to pump into the campaign coffers of these three candidates. And that ain’t likely, is it? So, it looks like NE is going offshore in the forseable future. We will continue to gorge ourselves from the menu of fossil fare, all the time blathering about “energy independence” and the miracle of renewables. And one by one, the gates to our NPPs will get padlocked closed. Its s no-brainer, the handwriting is on the wall.
So basically, I can eliminate all the Dems except Webb when considering who I will vote for. I will look closer at Webb if he is still on the ballot when the primary in my state rolls around (which is very doubtful). How about the Republicans? Anybody know where they stand specifically on nuclear power?
That is not what I wrote. Positions can be changed; despite the notorious risk of being labeled a “flip flopper.”
When information or a situation changes, intelligent people change their mind. I like to think that the people running to be President of the United States are intelligent people.
Those who know these people think differently. I remember Larry Sabato (the political science professor at UVa — you’ve probably seen him on TV providing commentary on elections) once saying that it isn’t his “A” students who go into politics to become politicians. It’s almost always the “C” students.
“I like to think that the people running to be President of the United States are intelligent people”
Back in my hippy days, I once lived on Paramount Ranch in Aqoura, Ca.. Directly caddy corner from Paramount Ranch was then California governor Ronald Reagan’s small horse ranch. (Not to be confused with his Santa Barbara property.)
Reagan did not live on the property, but the caretaker/wrangler, Vince, did. Vince would occassionally come over and shoot the bull with me and ‘ol Dee Cooper, who was leasing Paramount Ranch. (Remember the southern Renasiance Fair? Great high times.)
Anyway, point being, Vince’s pet peeve was Reagan’s extreme forgetfullness. He, Vince, was constantly moaning and groaning about it. He was convinced Reagan was “losing it”, in his words.
Later, when Reagan ran for prez, I was flabbergasted, considering Vince’s constant belly aching about Reagan’s mental accuity. Its when I first began considering whether or not the whole thing, the entire ball of wax, is a charade.
Then, when Dubya showcased his malleable and pathetically slow intellect, it became obvious that we were watching a puppet show, staged in our own White House.
Who REALLY runs the show?
” we do need nuclear energy, and we need a lot of it fast.” Trump 2011 ( http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/your-world-cavuto/transcript/trump-we-do-need-nuclear-energy )
He has the right positions on energy AND immigration, and the dhimmicrats are almost all dead wrong on both. I’m sold.
I didnt like him at first EP – but I went back an read his specific positions and looked at his decision making process when it matters, and I agree. Also hes brought the issue to media manipulation to the forefront. These debates and the various candidate coverage are establishment media steered propagandized jokes.
I think Webb has realized that too.
EP – The mainstream democrats and their media now are dishonest at absolute best. The establishment Republicans and associated media are too. If you don’t have honesty first – you have nothing. Trump is in addition a protest vote against the establishment parties and media. I am looking forward to 2016 now.
I wonder what Trump thinks about Nuclear Power now that’s its been over four years since the Fukushima “disaster”…..which wasn’t really much of a “disaster”.
I have never voted for a President (I care very little about Politics and for the most part, Politics annoy the hell out of me) but if Trump truly is Pro-Nuclear, I just might start.
POA, I have no idea about what was going on in RR’s mind, but this reminds me about my days at Bettis Atomic Power Lab in the 70’s. Bettis Lab was dedicated to Adm. Rickover’s Nuclear Navy. Gone were the days when he lived on the grounds and worked on the Nautilus reactor design and manufacture. He would be escorted to Bettis by various Westinghouse execs with appropriate fanfare.
Anyhow after one such visit one of my co-workers who had somehow been peripherally involved in the proceedings reported that the Admiral was loosing it, forgetting stuff and all. Somehow that was hot air one way or another. I remember an on camera TV the interview after the TMI meltdown. Maybe it was his 1984 60 Minutes interview. No problems.
I always read your posts. Sometimes agree.
“Positions can be changed”
You mean “stated positions”, Rod?
Or do you still entertain the ludicrous notion that these marrionettes walk their talk?
I’d like to be a fly on the wall when you accuse Webb of being a “marriontte” to his face.
You take it wrong, Rod. Webb will never be prez, because he is not the marrionette the REAL candidates are.
And Trump? Its hillarious seeing him bandied forth as not being an establishment politician. What is a high dollar businessman, if not a politician? He, Trump, is about as status quo establishment as a guy can get. Making the deal by crapping on the opposition, knifing backs, bullying people aside, all tactics shared by politicians and businessmen clawing their way to the top. Trump is the ultimate politician, capitalizing on handing the people a convincing schpiel, scripted to to a tee. Whats amazing to me is the insanity and impossibility of some of his stated policy directions being accepted by those taken in by him. The “wall” is a logistical impossibility. And the idea that we are going to march into Iraq, or any country, and simply take the oil is a sure fire path to WWIII. Besides, thats what that blubbering idiot Bush tried when the PNAC had him on a leash. How’d that work out for us?
If this electoral circus has not convinced us just how low we have sunk, nothing will.
Well … you do realize that he’s running for Vice President, don’t you?
“Well … you do realize that he’s running for Vice President, don’t you?”
So, his current campaign efforts, as represented, are a charade?
He’s not really running for President, he just says he is. Is that your assertion, Brian?
He’s earnestly running, but he’s not completely stupid. I’m just looking at history, POA.
Why would a guy with virtually no nation-wide name recognition throw his hat into the ring for a Presidential nomination? I’m familiar with the guy because I’m from Virginia, where he was a US Senator from 2006 to 2012. Other people have commented that they’ve never heard of him. Had you ever heard of him before this debate?
Webb was seriously considered in 2008 to be the VP on the Democratic party ticket. He said that he wasn’t interested at the time (of course he was also a newly minted Senator at the time). In modern history, those stumping for the Presidential nomination have done quite well. Reagan picked Bush in 1980. In 1992, Clinton picked Gore, who had vied for the nomination in 1988. Even when they don’t get the VP spot, candidates often do well. For example, in spite of a bitter contest for the Democratic nomination, Obama picked Clinton to be his Secretary of State for his first term.
The efforts of these “also-rans” are not entirely pointless.
“Had you ever heard of him before this debate?”
Yes. I have heard of, and researched, a multitude of the Washington players. Also, Rod brought Webb up some time ago, which prompted me to dig a bit deeper about the guy, particularly as it applies to foreign policy, positions on Israel and the middle east. And what I found was a follower, who seems to advocate right along party lines, even when the policy being advocated is obviously failing to achieve our stated foreign policy objectives.(Such as peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis through establishing a two state solution. This can never be achieved while we subsidize Israel’s settlement activity, occupation, and racist state policies. And Webb is right on board with continuing that subsidation.)
You’re apparently a one issue voter as well. Though your issue is important, it’s not the only measure by which I judge a candidate.
“He’s earnestly running, but he’s not completely stupid”
So lets examine your statement, Brian. To expect to win, he would have to be “completely stupid”? So, if we attribute intelligence to the man, your statement negates the possibility of any “earnest” intent, right? For he must be smart enough to realize that he cannot, will not, win?
So, he’s either an earnest idiot, or a smart deceptionist. That about sum it up?
Well, Rod, considering what is happening in the middle east, all other issues pale. We are headed for global war, and if we get there, our domestic energy policies become a non-issue. And unfortunately, all the prospective candidates are willing to maintain this disastrous, corrupt, immoral, inept, and costly direction we are taking in regards to Israeland the middle east. I am not a “one issue” voter normally. But these are extraordinary times, and it is obvious there IS only one issue right now. And that ONE ISSUE is how are we going to avoid an out of control escalation of global hostilities? It ain’t looking good.
POA – I’m sorry that Webb doesn’t hate Israelis as much as you do.
Brian. I don’t “hate Israelis”. And I defy you to find a statement of mine that justifies your assertion. Of course, you can’t. I do, however, have an extreme dislike of Israeli state policy. But in the past you have adequately demonstrated your remarkable ignorance on the topic, so there’s no point in going around with you about it again. It seems rather than defend Israel’s policies, or even inform yourself about them, you’d rather level the timeworn and tragically misapplied accusation of anti-semitism. Or now, having previously been exposed as misapplying the slur, due to your sheer ignorance about what actual anti-semitism looks like, you resort to this absurd accusation that I “hate israelis”.
The truth, Brian, is that in order to make an informed decision to support Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, one has to be an unabashed bigot. One cannot inform themselves about the situation in Gaza, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem, and form a moral opinion in support of Israeli occupation, settlement activity, and the continued state mandated oppression of the Palestinian people. So, you are either remarkably ignorant of the facts on the ground. Or you are the textbook example of the kind of racist bigot you are so fond of accusing me of being. In your case its pretty obvious the latter choice compliments the former.
I get that you think this is the most important issue. However, you are overlooking a whole pallet of other important issues in your single minded focus. Please stop derailing conversations.
POA – Now look who’s calling names. 🙂
I understand that isn’t what you wrote. That is my own assessment of the field – or the Democratic half of it anyway. Sadly, I do not share your optimism about them suddenly seeing the light on nuclear power, but I sincerely hope you are right and I am wrong.
For all the good it will do, I intend to write a letter about economic policy to Mr Sanders, in the hopes of getting someone in his campaign to read it. Somewhere down the page, I will make the case that access to reliable, cheap energy is not only economically but morally vital, and that a “wind&solar” system would involve massive reductions in living standards, leading to suffering & death for millions, land-use effects to rival those arising from climate change, & engineering works on the scale of a new Panama Canal every year for a century. I will also point out that these technologies have not reduced fossil-fuel usage in any meaningful way where they have been implemented, making the whole idea questionable at best.
I honestly think that fission is a far better fit for his other policy positions, & the problem is to make him see that, because he seems like the candidate most receptive to such a message. We need candidates, especially ones people pay attention to, who will speak up for atomic energy. Kudos for Mr Webb for doing that, in any case.
O’Malley needs to have this graph put in his face and asked pointed questions, like “generating 100% of our electricity from wind and solar would require 3000 to 5000 watts of capacity per capita, are you willing to extend that line upwards to the 65¢/kWh or more that it would take to do it?”
I’m frustrated that, there really seems to be NO *viable* (that is, well known, polling good) candidate who is pro-nuclear. On the Republican side, NOBODY is talking about Nuclear, though they probably wouldn’t be opposed to nuclear, but nobody’s advocating it. On the Democratic side, Webb, who before this debate I hadn’t even heard about and, whether he’s a good candidate or not, just comes off I think like a political snake-oil salesman, is the only person who even mentioned Nuclear.
The two Dem front-runners, Hillary, and Sanders, both seem to be soft-anti’s. By which I mean, they don’t actively talk down Nuclear, mostly, but they just ignore it and keep talking about wind and solar.
Webb was a pretty good senator. He’s one of the few remaining true moderates out there and has pretty much remained consistent as the ebbs and flows of the political environment have shifted between left and right.
For example, he served as Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, but six years later endorsed the Democratic candidate for the US Senate. Six years after that, he endorsed the Republican candidate against the Democratic incumbent whom he had endorsed earlier. Six years later, he ran against the Republican he had earlier endorsed and won his Senate seat.
All of this probably sounds like Webb is some sort of opportunist who is all over the political map, but it makes sense if you consider the general political trends in the US at the time.
I should add that Webb doesn’t make a good Presidential candidate because he is not willing to pivot to accommodate the whims of any particular group. For example, he is not willing to pivot like Sanders has done on gun control or like Clinton and Trump have done on … well … just about everything.
oops, screwed up the blocktext. this was to be my comentary on the statement “Few engineers that are not directly tied to the wind or solar industry would agree that a 100% “renewable” energy system is an elegant or efficient way to provide reliable electricity to today’s population and that it is even less suitable for a larger future population.”
Well, it’s easy to avoid someone these days when you can read all of her emails.
Biden (as he is going to probably jump in it) :
Voted NO on approving a nuclear waste repository.
“I see a role for nuclear, but first you’ve got to deal with the security as well as the safety concerns.”
Also after his bizarre comments on “semi automatic weapons” recently I think Biden is a total flake. Just parroting party line and whatever he last was exposed to. Not even being cohesive within his own stated beliefs -which are usually questionable. To put it nicely.
Well, such people DO make good teleprompter-readers.
Gee, why not?
I mean hey, whats another clown when you’ve got a circus tent full of ’em.
I like Webb. Trump is looking a lot better. It disturbs me that Biden is considered “safe” by anyone. If nothing else over the years hes proved to be more comic relief than anything profound or reasonable, Then all of a sudden hes the “best option?” Sorry, no. Also hes playing hard to get and on sympathy like hes some kind of reluctant outsider. Which he is most definitely not.
My pet peeve is the wars in the Middle East. That’s why I’d love anyone who’d introduce a massive synfuel program to make the US the new Saudi Arabia and drive OPEC out of business. Of course this wouldn’t do much for nukes unless a SMR was added to each coal refinery to provide the power and generate the hydrogen, and thereby double the oil produced per ton of coal. But this is all fantasy, since I’m a foreigner and don’t have a vote anyway.
That’s a losing game. OPEC has more cheap easily-refined hydrocarbons than the rest of the world. Pitting high-cost synfuels against their natural petroleum is downright stupid… what they WANT you to do.
Carbon taxes would put OPEC out of business. Nuclear power would pay no carbon taxes. Neither would ammonia fuel.
You may not need synfuel. If there were policies in place to help our oil shale developers (& maybe the tar sands guys), this may be enough to disrupt the supply-demand curve to remove OPEC’s domination. It has already been happening the last year or so, but they are letting the price drop to a point where it doesn’t pay to drill for the more expensive American oil. Then,……well payback may be a real bear when prices go back up.
How does that help nuclear power? The money stays here. More money means more chances of infrastructure projects including nukes. It means more money in everyone’s pockets and fewer oil wars.
Carbon taxes would increase the influential advocacy for fossil combustion. The extra cash will *not* go to the powerless, clearly. The extra wealth will further fund the plutocratic elite. Carbon taxes will simply further “lock in” the current state of affairs. Even more cash will end up in the coffers of NRDC, Sierra Club, FOE, and other combustion advocates. The masses, the “grind stoners”, the dollar a minute wealth builders, will take the burden, and their efforts for change will be further inhibited.
Please review the tax and dividend proposal from the Citizens Climate Lobby.
I suggest a simple tax policy for the USA.
Payroll taxes = 15%
Capital Gain Taxes = 15%
Import Taxes = 15%
Corporate rate Taxes = 15%
Estate Tax = 15%
And the shortfall is the carbon tax.
But you must get rid of all breaks, subsidies and loopholes along with it.
And lets not forget EVs.
It used to be you needed a US$ 75k – US$ 140k Tesla to get decent range.
2016 Nissan LEAF has affordable 155 mile range.
And there’s no reason not to expect Nissan to break 200 mile for the 2018 model.
Tesla coming with the Model 3 at US$ 35k before subsidies.
On one hand EVs are expensive, but on the other hand, electricity is cheap and efficient.
Toyota Mirai FCV = 66mpg E
Tesla Model S average = 90 mpg E
Nissan LEAF = 110+ mpg E
If you drive above average for USA standards you can save US$ 500/month in fuel+maintenance.
massive synfuel program
You mean something like this Carter Administration program?
Strange how our wars in the middle east have not really resulted in any more oil for us. Is this typical government planning or could our actions in the middle east serve another purpose, say securing the only democracy in the region and our best ally ever?
Let’s just say that, were Machiavelli alive today, he would be appalled by US foreign policy over the past 20 years. It’s a prime example of how not to do foreign policy.
Fermi, if you consider Israel a democratic state, you haven’t bothered to inform yourself.
“Fermi, if you consider Israel a democratic state, you haven’t bothered to inform yourself.”
Perhaps my sarcasm was too subtle. I will be explicit: Our foreign policy in the middle east is to do what ever Israeli-centric thinkers believe is necessary to secure Israel, even if contrary to the interests of the American people. This policy continues regardless of which political party is in office.
I only used the “democracy” of Israel because that is the selling point the Israel lobby uses to justify American subservience. Somehow, the idea came along since Woodrow Wilson that supporting democracy should be a primary goal of US foreign policy (as sold to the masses).
The focus on oil, WMDs or human rights abuses is a useful distraction to divert attention away from the machinations of the Israeli lobby.
Note, if oil were our concern, we would not embargo Iran.
Fermi….sorry for misreading your sentiments. Its all to rare here for someone to actually express an understanding about how corrosive our relationship with Israel is. Of course, you must realize that you risk being branded as anti-semitic by daring to challenge the script that AIPAC has written about our relationship with “our most trusted ally”? Or maybe its not jews you are targeting, but “israelis” as a whole, as one poster here maintains.
Regardless, its impossible to discuss middle eastern politics, oil, unrest, terrorism, war, and culture without bringing Israel into the discussion. Even wedding NE with weapons proliferation brings Israel to the forefront of the discussion, considering how they are framing Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy. And here we are discussing the candidate’s stances on energy policy, and we are to leave their stances in regards to Israel out of the conversation? Uh huh. Yeah, right.
Our efforts in the Middle East have not been aimed at providing more “oil for us.” They have been aimed at protecting the “rights” of multinational petroleum corporations and their hangers-on in finance, media, transportation, defense industrial establishment and politics. They have also been aimed at ensuring American influence in the world’s economy when monetary standards shifted from gold to petrodollars.
Our “best ally ever” is probably Canada and/or the UK.
It would be easier to just buy the oil rather than risk possible damage/sabotage to the oil fields during a military conflict. If the oil fields are damaged or out of operation, this helps Russian and Iranian oil exports.
The problem with the petrodollar theory is that dollars/euros/yuan etc. ultimately have to be exchanged in any transaction.
The Israel angle is the only consistent explanation for US middle eastern policy.
Oil transactions are always made in dollars. That results in a steady demand for dollars. Has been that way since 1970s.
Buying oil is not the same as controlling it. Ask Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell and BP.
The Republicans are slaves of the fossil fuel interests, every bit as much as the supposibly pro-environmentalists Democrats are. The Greens are in the pay of the fossil fuel lobby, even though they pretend opposition. As far as the Greens are concerned, natural gas is a clean energfy source, ethat emitts less CO2 than nuclear power. There are many rank and file liberals who recognize that both both the Republicans and the Green Democrats who are opposed to nuclear power, are under the influance of anti science lobbies, financed by fossil fuel interests.
You’re right, but you are overlooking the growth in wealthy people who have no ties to the fossil fuel industry and few ties to the Eastern Establishment that has ridden on oil for the past 150 years.
In my opinion, the Saudi led price war in the petroleum industry might have come at just the right time to move some political money out of the way of making a big change in US politics in 2016. Voters and new media people must notice the opportunities and seize the advantages offered.
Here Rod writes a great blog about something I was thinking a few weeks ago. My thought was, what really shapes my politics these days is energy policy. Specifically pro-nuclear, but also the aspects of R&D and production and investment tax credits too. This is a big deal and very important to me as a voter.
Rod, Thank you for your summary of the Democratic candidates response to a question regarding climate change and also an analysis of their record on this issue. However, I am concerned about the claim of some that nuclear power is the sole answer. Nuclear, solar, wind, clean coal and population control may all be needed and different solutions may be needed for different countries. The intermittent nature of solar and wind may make solar and wind less suitable for Japan than other sources of power. However, large earthquakes, tsunami risks raise questions about the suitability of nuclear power for Japan. As for China they have already made a contribution to addressing climate change with their one child policy and should be given credit for this effort.
Of the tools that you mention, all but nuclear get plenty of press. They don’t need any additional help from me.
I personally believe that China’s one child policy is a tragic mistake that might end up destabilizing that country and result in dire consequences for the rest of the world. This is a topic that might be uncomfortable for some, but the behavior that has resulted from the policy has led to a large shift in the natural balance between male and female babies for a long period of time. There is a huge overabundance of marriage age men without any matching women. That is a mix that can lead to war.
No wonder I think that the China policy is a great policy!. For most of world history man-made wars have resulted in a shortage of men.
I assume that’s sarcasm or humor. I’m not a population worrier. People are valuable and should make their own family size decisions.
If we had large cities on the moon and Mars supporting vibrant populations, Earth energy directions would be obvious. Since we don’t have such cities, we should use such cities in a gedanken process to still point the best directions for energy policy.
We should shoot for 100 billion happy actualizing people between here and the farthest reaches of Oort.
Some girls in China will not even date a man unless he owns a house!
That might sound good to you, but I worry about all of the frustrated young men.
What if they decide that becoming mercenaries or joining in an army to capture and control other countries is a quicker way to alleviate their frustration than getting a good paying job and saving for years to purchase a house on the off chance that they might get a date?
History and statistics show that the best way to reduce population growth is to make a society prosperous and support women’s rights (easy access to birth control and abortion, equal pay or close to it, equal education opportunities).
The “green” camp that wants to destroy prosperity and snears at the western standard of living as wasteful would, if its policies were implemented, do more harm to the environment than all the the things they complain about multiplied by ten. Poverty is devastatingly destructive of ecology. Society must be prosperous before people even begin to care about ecological conservation.
The current policies designed to make electricity scarce and expensive will not only devastate the consumer, if taken too far they will also lead to folks devastating the environment. In Vermont there’s not a stick of unburnable wood to be found on the ground and air quality is suffering from so much wood smoke, because of expensive heating energy.
Opposing nuclear electricity generation and the prosperity and plenty it delivers is ultimately detrimental to the environment and leads to more population growth.
I think Japan has a nuclear future. They learned a lot about their nuclear culture and design as a result of the 2011 incident. Just a short list of things Japan needs to do: better siting of diesel backup and hardening of diesel fuel supplies, instrumentation for spent fuel pool level and temperature, and better training (such as mock disaster drills) to have personnel ready for similar situations. Additionally, generation four designs that handle station black out indefinitely with no offsite power or human intervention will handle most of the situations that could occur.
I believe most of us that are pro-nuclear do not see it as the only solution. But we do see danger with a 100% renewable future and believe that a highly reliable, clean air source, such as nuclear, should not be ignored.
I guess I’ll chime in here.
First, I do not like Webb’s pro-coal position.
One of the major reasons that nuclear plants keep getting shut down is that fossil fuel burners are not charged anything for the pollution they emit In energy parlance, this is called an externality cost.
We have to start assessing a price on fossil fuel pollution.
Regarding some of the other candidates, some more general remarks:
1). JEB Bush and Hillary Clinton. Hereditary and familial candidates are anathema to any concept germane to a democratic republic. I very strongly dislike both.
2). Bobby Jindal is a clone of Scott Walker who fortunately has dropped out of the race. Both of these governors have as their hallmarks massive cuts to their respective state university systems. Nuclear power, more than other forms of energy, relies on well-educated people to make it run safely and reliably. Any candidate who is a university-cutter should automatically be rejected for this reason.
3). Carly Fiorina is thoroughly disliked by her former employees at HP as an outsourcer and a job-cutter. She lacks the quality of empathy that might only show rarely, but is vital to good leadership.
That is enough candidates for now. I think there is still time to evaluate the others.
There’s a huge difference between somebody with a university education in the hard sciences, and somebody with a university education in racial, ethnic or gender grievance studies. Anyone who’s NOT for cutting the latter is part of the cancer eating away at this country.
You left out a large universe of university education programs in the middle. Like political opinions, education comes in a wide spectrum with fuzzy boundaries, not in black or white on two opposite sides of a chasm.
But even you have to admit, Rod, that there are quite a few academic programs out there of very dubious value.
Who gets to determine that, Brian? You and EP? Fox News or Brietbart going to coach ya through it?
Yes, it’s called an opinion, you feckless troll.
If someone wants to study “postmodern basketweaving” on his own dime, then more power to him. It’s a free country. But if you’re asking me, the taxpayer, to fit the bill for such worthless stuff, then it is my right — indeed, my obligation — to complain about it.
So, I assume the arts get your ax, eh, Brian?
So the student gifted in arts, or basketweaving, is unable to partake of the education coffers, but the kid gifted in adding 2 +2 gets to pull pennies out of the bank. Is that your proposal? We doll out the money to certain talents, while discarding the talents of others? Thats a fine way to develop a society, Brian. Crafted to exclude. Sheer genious. You really are mensa quality, aren’t you?
“But if you’re asking me, the taxpayer, to fit the bill for such worthless stuff…….”
Brian, I’m a little curious. I wonder if your wife may have a few baskets scattered around. Or does she decorate with test tubes and microscopes?
Trust POA to insist that universities need to grant degrees in a craft that is worked very successfully by illiterates around the world. It’s this sort of self-parody that I have come to look for from him.
I don’t know. The study of ancient art or crafts traditions seems to me to be something deep enough and rich enough for several years worth of formal, mentored education.
There is no doubt that many university educations are wasted, but it is not clear to me that you can draw sharp lines between different areas of study. The determination of whether or not learning is wasted depends on what the individual does with what they learned and the connections that they make between specific topics and a more general understanding of the world in which we live or the humanity that has shaped our current environment/history.
The purpose of public-funded education is to produce better citizens who provide benefits to society as a whole. It’s not an entitlement and it certainly isn’t a right.
Would you care to rephrase that?
Are you actually saying that no one is entitled to even a beginning of an education at public expense?
“The purpose of public-funded education is to produce better citizens who provide benefits to society as a whole”
It can easily be argued that science has wrought far more destruction on mankind than art has.
Both art and science has benefitted mankind. But can you think of an instance when art has damaged mankind? What about science? In unison with its benefits, hasn’t it consistently developed more and more advanced technologies with to harm mankind?
So, Brian, be careful how you word your ignorant advocations, you might just be closing the science classes, instead of the campus studios.
“Trust POA to insist that universities need to grant degrees in a craft that is worked very successfully by illiterates around the world”
Some of the wealthiest people I know were schooled in one or another aspect of the arts. Personally, I do not know any highly successful people that are sholled or degreed in any kind of science. The ones I do know are struggling, either teaching, or unemployed. Not to say there aren’t lots of successful scientists, and as many starving artists. But who are you to decide which individual gets to develop their talents through a formal education? When I went to Art Center College of Design, I didn’t meet any “illiterates”, EP. And yes, some students worked in textiles and weaving.
In my particular field my talent in the mechanics of my craft would not have allowed me to reach the point in my career that I have. It is my sense of design, combined with my technical skill, that has allowed me to enjoy doing high end work. And a good portion of that sense of design was acquired through education. It doesn’t matter if that education taught me how to design a fine coffee table, or a beautiful hand woven basket. There is a market for both. Would you deprive the consumer of such luxury?
Certainly, I must say I am not suprised by your and Brian’s stance on this issue. It fits you both like a glove. Too bad one of the car manufacturers doesn’t simply put wheels and a motor on a square box. You are proof that there would be a market for such an ugly, (but functional), piece of crap.
No, Rod. I definitely would not.
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. The purpose of public education is to benefit society, not the individual. That we, as a society, choose to provide education that is funded by the taxpayer is because we believe that it is in everyone’s best interest, not just the best interest of the student, to have an educated populace. Such a populace is an asset in a representative-democratic society, since it is the populace that chooses (at least in theory) the people who run the government.
I’m saying this as someone with a classical Liberal-Arts education and someone who is entirely a product of Virginia’s public education system, from kindergarten to PhD (with a little hard-earned help from NASA during my graduate school years). I never once assumed that I was “entitled” to any of this. On the contrary, I always considered it my responsibility to do as much as I could with what I received to give back to the state that was wise enough to provide me with such opportunities.
I like to think that I’ve lived up to my obligations.
Has it been so long that we have forgotten Kennedy?
“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
That was a time when America was great, when we had the will to put a man on the moon within a decade — not because it was easy, but because it was hard.
These days, it seems that college students are asking for nothing more than a free ride and “trigger warnings” to avoid having their sensibilities hurt. Everybody is asking “what’s in it for me?” This is how bad things have become.
Exactly what is it hat you think a 5 year old should do to earn his entrance into kindergarten if it’s not an entitlement?
Rod – You still don’t understand. A five-year-old is put into school because it is better to have a literate society than an illiterate society. The particular merits of the five-year-old in question have nothing to do with it.
Do not concur. Public education systems are good for society, but they are also designed to provide individuals with access to learning.
There was a time in this fine country when some believed it was better for society to pick and choose which 5 year olds should be allowed to learn to read. Fortunately, that time was long ago.
There is still a time when this fine country believes that it is better for society to pick and choose which 18-year-olds should be allowed to attend the US Naval Academy. Apparently, they should have been more selective on which ones they let in to study English.
(Sorry, Rod, but you have been a (deleted) in the past on one or two typos of mine — one of which was not actually a typo, but was a misunderstanding on your part. Turnabout is fair play.) 🙂
Thank you for the proofreading. I have no idea what I was trying to say with the word “need” in there. No excuse.
On the other hand, I have edited your comment to remove the slur. There is no reason to use such language in polite, publicly accessible conversation.
I wonder if EP has a clue about the irony of his screen name as it applies to this conversation, and his argument.
“There was a time in this fine country when some believed it was better for society to pick and choose which 5 year olds should be allowed to learn to read”
Sometimes, Rod, I suspect you of having a naivete that surprises me.
One only need tour a few inner city schools in most major metropolitan areas to realize that such policies are NOT a thing of the past.
And getting past the basic educational systems, which are failing our children, higher education is being priced beyond the reach of our young adults. Education in the United States, as well as quality health care, is rapidly becoming a luxury of wealth, beyond the reach of a majority of our citizens.
I’m sure Brian and EP have a rationale for this destructive trend. And they will rationalize it all the way to us becoming a third world country, uneducated, and sickly.
One only need tour a few inner city schools in most major metropolitan areas to realize that such policies are NOT a thing of the past.
Though there are huge problems in education that need to be addressed, I don’t think there are many who believe that the failing schools are “better for society.” If the parents of the individuals attending those schools could afford to move to better districts, the students would not be forcibly excluded from attending the way that they were in the not too distant past.
There was a time in this country when there were manifold avenues to learning to read, most of them having nothing to do with formal schooling. I recall reading a tale of Abraham Lincoln in his youth, learning to read, write and figure by scribbling with charcoal on a piece of wood in a log cabin far from any building that could be called a school.
This is a time in this country when parents have to teach their own children to read because they can’t rely on schools to do it, and by the time the schools officially recognize the problem it is too late to catch up. The methods touted by schools of education, taught to ed students and sometimes required by school systems to the exclusion of others are provably ineffective, yet nobody has even had to pay out on malpractice awards (let alone spend time in jail, as is appropriate for gross misconduct on this massive scale).
Perhaps I was being too obtuse. I was referring to the enslaved people who were legally prevented from learning to read and whose parents were unable to teach them because they had also been prevented from learning.
People who taught slaves to read could, in some states, be imprisoned.
That’s a case of identity. Webb identifies strongly with the people of Appalachia.
The problems with the pro-fossil fuels position are two:
1) Failure to cost the externalities of pollution that cause health and environmental problems.
2) Number 1) causes the playing field to be tilted unfavorably against nuclear.
Unlike the right-wingers here, I accept the scientific observations regarding climate change.
Unlike the renewables-can-do it alone crowd (who are mainly antinuclearists and left-wing proponents of heavy subsidies for solar and wind) I see the mathematical impossibility of replacing fossil fuel (coal) generation with anything except a mixture of nuclear, some natural gas, and some renewables.
The US is so polarized politically that very few people understand a logically consistent position like this that weighs science over ideology.
In conclusion, I cannot call myself a single-issue voter. The US has many other issues happening other than energy. However, it has one overriding problem which is ideological polarization. This board reflects that.
Back to the main topic! We may need to consider a variety of energy sources, conservation methods, lifestyle changes as well as population control incentives to deal with climate change. I am disturbed that supporters of one source of cleaner energy attack other sources of clean energy and oppose subsidies for anything other than their favorite source of clean energy. A certain amount of redundancy makes the energy supply more robust. This is one of the strengths of the Manhattan Project.. It developed production of two types of fissionable material U-235 and Pu-239. U-235 was used in the Hiroshima bomb and Pu-239 in the Nagasaki bomb. Several methods of producing U-235 were used. Uniform compression was used to the Plutonium bomb while the Uranium bomb involved achieving criticality by shooting uranium into a less than critical mass of uranium . It seems to some supporters of nuclear that it is a waste of money to subsidize wind power but other souces of clean energy should be developed just in case nuclear loses public acceptance.
I’m all for redundancy. That’s why I like thorium, uranium and plutonium; molten salt, sodium, nitrogen, helium, CO2, lead, heavy water and light water; extra large, large, medium, small, extra small, and single home sized; graphite, light water, zirconium hydride, and heavy water.
The provisions I make for nuclear not losing public acceptance is telling the truth about risks and rewards.
Wind is great for kites, sailboats, and hang gliders. Sun is great for daylight, tanning, and growing plants.
I’m actually quite consistent about wanting no subsidies for energy suppliers. Their fuels should be rather heavily, but consistently taxed since it comes from the natural endowments of the planet on which we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Pretty good examples of nuclear reactor redundancy.
Susanne and Rod, I don’t think enough distinction is being made in this “subsidy” discussion. The government sure subsidized the development of the LWR PWR. Along with a few other reactor types. If the government chooses to develop (and fund) other energy producing tech, so be it as long as the normal congressional budget process is used. Once a tech is mature, which I think wind and solar are, then there is a pinch point in the subsidy discussion. Why should buyers of that tech get government “kick back” (tax benefit) as incentive to buy? Some will say a government guaranteed loan for a new nuke is a subsidy, but it is not that at all, and it should not be called one.
But what is really economically killing some nukes in some markets today is the preferential treatment of wind and solar generation; when they produce they must be bought. I don’t know how that fits into a subsidy discussion. But there are distinctions that need to be made, rather than lump every form of “what-ever-they-should-be -called”. Forcing grid operators to buy wind and solar first when they produce, is what is upsetting the electricity pricing market. But people tend to force all these things into the “subsidy” category when discussing. And that can cause communication problems.
I have always considered it government insurance against government incompetence.
Why would a new nuclear plant need a loan guarantee except for the possibility that the excessive and clumsy regulation by the NRC delays schedules and overruns budgets?
This is a bit of a side issue from the government loan. I think one of the responsibilities of government is to help provide for the needs of the people. This can be done via free enterprise or socialized endeavors. I like libraries, parks and public roads. I do not like toll roads.
It’s been my experience that a well managed public utility often sells power or water for less than their for profit counterpart. Money well spent by government entities on such infrastructure are an investment in the public which includes me.
I’m all for some form of public help in building electrical infrastructure providing it’s not a subsidy to a private company. Done correctly, it provides for the common good. It is a promotion of the the public welfare.
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