Sanders' energy policies would increase global warming

Irony of ironies, Bernie Sanders has championed climate change for his entire campaign, saying he will do more to address the issue than any other candidate.

But an analysis of his energy policies at Foreign Policy magazine shows that if implemented, Sanders' plans would increase emissions substantially, contributing to an increase in global warming.

His call to ban fracking and to phase out nuclear power, in particular, could throw U.S. progress on climate change into reverse.

“Wouldn’t those proposals drive the country back to coal and oil, and actually undermine your fight against global warming?” Errol Louis, one of the debate moderators, asked Sanders during Thursday’s debate in Brooklyn, New York.

“No, they wouldn’t,” Sanders shot back. He called for a massive increase in the use of renewable energy, especially solar power, and said that if the United States took the climate threat as seriously as it did the Nazis in World War II, the country could in a few years radically transform its entire energy system.

Energy analysts, if not Sanders supporters, view askance his proposals that could undermine the twin pillars of the progress that the United States has made. Fracking for natural gas has helped utilities mothball dirty coal plants. And nuclear power provides 20 percent of U.S. electricity — and all of it is emissions free. Both energy sources would be targeted by Sanders, yet very hard to replace.

“There is a basic reality here, which is that nuclear energy is the single-largest source of zero-emissions electricity in the United States,” Josh Freed, vice president of clean energy at Third Way, a centrist think tank, told Foreign Policy. “If you care about climate change, that should be a very significant influence on your policy.”

Third Way crunched the numbers and found that getting rid of nuclear power means U.S. carbon emissions would “go up dramatically,” and in the worst-case scenario, could “wipe out a decade’s worth of progress” and return U.S. carbon emissions to levels last seen in 2005. That’s because retired nuclear plants would almost always be replaced by natural gas or coal. Freed said that when the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was shuttered in 2014, the electricity shortfall was largely made up by burning more coal.

So Sanders wants to spend "massive" amounts on "renewable" energy? Where have we heard that before? Candidate Obama in 2008 promised that 15% of US electrical output would come from solar, wind, and other renewable sources by 2020. To accomplish that, he spent $150 billion the last 5 years on loans and grants to green companies. 

Not "massive" enough for Bernie, I guess.

Obama will fall dramatically short of that 15% goal, as solar's flaws as a way to generate electricity continue to impede its use on an industrial scale. Huge subsidies are necessary for these solar powered electrial generating plants to operate. That's not going to change in the near future.

Sanders believes, like many liberals, in "vending machine science" where you put your money in and out comes whatever you desire. We can invest 10 times as much in solar power as we are spending today and still not make solar more efficient and cheaper than fossil fuels. 

And Bernie should recalibrate his positions on climate change and energy.

Irony of ironies, Bernie Sanders has championed climate change for his entire campaign, saying he will do more to address the issue than any other candidate.

But an analysis of his energy policies at Foreign Policy magazine shows that if implemented, Sanders' plans would increase emissions substantially, contributing to an increase in global warming.

His call to ban fracking and to phase out nuclear power, in particular, could throw U.S. progress on climate change into reverse.

“Wouldn’t those proposals drive the country back to coal and oil, and actually undermine your fight against global warming?” Errol Louis, one of the debate moderators, asked Sanders during Thursday’s debate in Brooklyn, New York.

“No, they wouldn’t,” Sanders shot back. He called for a massive increase in the use of renewable energy, especially solar power, and said that if the United States took the climate threat as seriously as it did the Nazis in World War II, the country could in a few years radically transform its entire energy system.

Energy analysts, if not Sanders supporters, view askance his proposals that could undermine the twin pillars of the progress that the United States has made. Fracking for natural gas has helped utilities mothball dirty coal plants. And nuclear power provides 20 percent of U.S. electricity — and all of it is emissions free. Both energy sources would be targeted by Sanders, yet very hard to replace.

“There is a basic reality here, which is that nuclear energy is the single-largest source of zero-emissions electricity in the United States,” Josh Freed, vice president of clean energy at Third Way, a centrist think tank, told Foreign Policy. “If you care about climate change, that should be a very significant influence on your policy.”

Third Way crunched the numbers and found that getting rid of nuclear power means U.S. carbon emissions would “go up dramatically,” and in the worst-case scenario, could “wipe out a decade’s worth of progress” and return U.S. carbon emissions to levels last seen in 2005. That’s because retired nuclear plants would almost always be replaced by natural gas or coal. Freed said that when the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was shuttered in 2014, the electricity shortfall was largely made up by burning more coal.

So Sanders wants to spend "massive" amounts on "renewable" energy? Where have we heard that before? Candidate Obama in 2008 promised that 15% of US electrical output would come from solar, wind, and other renewable sources by 2020. To accomplish that, he spent $150 billion the last 5 years on loans and grants to green companies. 

Not "massive" enough for Bernie, I guess.

Obama will fall dramatically short of that 15% goal, as solar's flaws as a way to generate electricity continue to impede its use on an industrial scale. Huge subsidies are necessary for these solar powered electrial generating plants to operate. That's not going to change in the near future.

Sanders believes, like many liberals, in "vending machine science" where you put your money in and out comes whatever you desire. We can invest 10 times as much in solar power as we are spending today and still not make solar more efficient and cheaper than fossil fuels. 

And Bernie should recalibrate his positions on climate change and energy.