At last Wednesday’s Climate Town Hall, hosted by CNN, Elizabeth Warren tried to distinguish herself from the other nine participating candidates racing for the Democratic nomination by honing in on her climate change policies, as well as her proposals for a comprehensive energy plan. Both before and after the Town Hall, her campaign established and publicized new plans on those environmental issues, such as investing $3 trillion over the next decade to combat global warming.
One of the main environmental issues touched upon during the debate was the issue of fracking, or the process of extracting gas or oil from pre-existing fissures by injecting high pressure into the ground. Elizabeth Warren never commented on it during the debate itself, but last Friday she tweeted:
On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking—everywhere.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 6, 2019
Warren’s plan to totally ban hydraulic fracking and refuse to grant leases for fossil fuel drilling is reckless and misguided, and it’s another case where it doesn’t matter how good one’s intentions are if the policy outcomes are harmful. A total ban on fracking will hurt our country’s supply of needed supply of energy, in addition to hurting any administration’s efforts to combat climate change.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), hydraulic fracking contributes to around 66% of America’s natural gas production. The advanced technologies that come with fracking have been probably the biggest driver behind America’s energy independence from foreign energy. It was only last year that we became the world’s largest oil producer and exporter in the world.
With energy dominance comes the ability to fight off Russia’s influence in struggling countries like Ukraine. If Warren wants to take a strong stance against Russia and wants America to be geopolitically powerful, as she claims, then her plans to kill fracking only serve our foes.
The demand for oil and gas wouldn’t rapidly vanish on January 20, 2021, either. For better or worse, our economy and our way of living relies on oil, and the demand will stay the same while our supply will rapidly plummet, where we would need to import more oil. Her climate change policies want to make America less dependent on fossil fuels; this is a good intention, as we can’t reasonably fight climate change while increasing our use of fossil fuels. However, Warren has no comprehensive plan for a transition into renewable energies; many Americans would lose their jobs and our economy would suffer with one stroke of a pen without any compensation or realistic plan to alter our way of living.
A gradual transition into renewable or nuclear energy will be much better than an executive order of questionable constitutionality. Warren, who has been acclaimed for her detailed policies, needs to plan to confront those who would lose their jobs and explain how she wants our country to reduce our emissions while not destroying the economy and our political stability. Her refusal to acknowledge nuclear power as the future is also very alarming. During the debate she agreed with Bernie’s refusal to allow nuclear power in our country, saying, “We won’t be building new nuclear plants. We will start weaning ourselves off nuclear and replace it with renewables.”
Nuclear power is a viable option if we are going to rely less on fossil fuels, as they produce very few emissions and have the potential to be a major source of safe energy. Nuclear power already constitutes around a fifth of America’s energy, so it makes zero practical sense to dismantle nuclear plants in addition to the fracking industry.
Replacing nuclear energy with renewables isn’t a good solution either; Germany phased out nuclear energy and focused on renewable energy, now constituting 30% of their power, but they’re now burning more coal while their carbon emissions aren’t significantly changing. It’s irresponsible to ban nuclear power and natural gas in such a short time frame while trying to increase the dominance of renewable energy.
It’s important to note that nuclear power isn’t a perfect model for the future. Nuclear plants are expensive and difficult to establish, and the amount of regulations stranglehold its full capabilities. The complexity of setting up nuclear plants could be dangerous if climate change is as serious as scientists portray it to be. Nuclear accidents can be catastrophic, as history suggests, but it’s a good way to lower our emissions, and banning nuclear energy will inevitably hurt our capacity to fight climate change.
Elizabeth Warren’s intentions to fight off climate change are good, and any presidential candidate should have a strong plan to address this threat. However, her actual policies are misguided, as a ban on fracking and nuclear energy are impractical and unmistakably harmful to our economy and our way of living.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.