Democratic Convention: Dead wrong on energy

Published 9:11 am Monday, August 29, 2016

By Tom Borelli

The recent Democratic National Convention included a full-fledged assault on one of the central pillars of the American economy: fossil fuels. The official convention platform calls for completely replacing oil and natural gas with renewables by 2050.

This is a delusional, disastrous position. Renewables can’t meet our country’s energy needs. And squeezing the oil and gas sector with onerous regulations could destroy millions of jobs.

Today, the fossil fuel industry is an indispensable part of the American job market, employing about one out of every twenty workers. That’s 9.8 million jobs. And within the next two decades, it’s expected to generate another two million positions.

Unfortunately, Democrats are opting to sacrifice these jobs to the green agenda. Their convention platform promises to “move beyond the ‘all of the above’ energy approach” and “run entirely on clean energy by mid-century.”

That’s a pipe dream. Despite receiving billions in public support, renewables still only constitute a small fraction of America’s energy economy. A decade ago, they generated about 10 percent of U.S. electricity. Today, they generate 13 percent. That’s a miniscule improvement.

Meanwhile, fossil fuels continue to fulfill the vast majority of our energy needs, with gas and oil generating over 67 percent of the country’s electricity.

The Democrat’s crusade against oil and gas shouldn’t come as a surprise. Two of the members of the convention committee are unapologetic environmental extremists: Bill McKibben, a long-time foe of the fossil fuel industry, and Carol Browner, a former official at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Their extremism does not reflect the will of the public. Four out of five Americans favor increased domestic production of gas and oil.

Democrats’ anti-fossil fuel crusade also represents a betrayal of one of their core constituencies: labor unions. Many of the positions created by oil and gas are blue-collar manufacturing jobs covered by the AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, and other major unions. These positions are well-paid, skill-intensive, and largely immune to outsourcing — that is, they’re precisely what the American working class needs. And yet, Democrats are pushing policies that will squash their growth.

Democrats need to halt their misguided mission against oil and gas companies. These firms are helping millions of Americans earn a living while generating huge environmental benefits. Meanwhile, renewables are nowhere near ready for prime time; they can’t be the backbone of our energy economy. As they move toward the election, Democrats should ditch their harmful energy message and own up to the facts.


Tom Borelli, Ph.D. is a contributor with Conservative Review.