Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton supports coal and oil when her party does not

There is so much to take issue with in the Democratic Party it is difficult to know where to start. So why not start with what happened today?

According to the Associated Press report of the new party platform, the dreaded Trans Pacific Partnership might become a reality:
The panel, which is developing the party's platform ahead of next month's Philadelphia convention, instead backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the [investor deal] and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment."
To the well-trained ear this is a symphony of liberal ideals in action. We are considering diversity! We are protecting people! It's also an agreement that in its essence is about protecting investors from governmental regulation, not limiting investor power.

As can be expected, the environmental protection is compromised and flimsy, (via the AP article):
Working into the evening, the panel narrowly rejected amendments offered by environmentalist Bill McKibben, a Sanders supporter, that would have imposed a tax on carbon and imposed a national moratorium on fracking.

What's not mentioned is that the presumed nominee is also interested in subsidizing fossil fuels, and the platform naturally cannot overstep the (next) president too much. In other words, we have to accommodate the interests of the president and her very pro-oil friends before looking at the science. Isn't that horrible?

According to Hillary Clinton's website, we can expect oil companies to largely survive under her administration due to direct intervention from the state. We have to "modernize our pipeline system" and "repair or replace...pipelines," and "ship oil sands crude" so long as they pay a price. We will also institute what is called "capture" -- a strange Christ-like concept whereby fossil fuel companies save the world from their own dirtiness. Another piece of wisdom from is to work on "the deployment of renewable natural gas."

This directly contradicts the advice of the party's own experts who warn this will go nowhere. Probably better to address that now rather than later? Last winter, Democrats put in a lot of work into documenting the serious problems of fossil fuel industry. As they wrote in their findings:

Perhaps the most compelling finding of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project is that governments could easily flub the energy transition by failing to plan far enough ahead. Most countries are setting 10- and 15-year targets that can be met with incremental changes
Yet that almost guarantees that the toughest problems, like perfecting the carbon-capturing technology, will be tackled too late to meet the long-term goal of zero emissions, the researchers found.
Another potential dead end, the research suggests, would be an overreliance on natural gas. Gas is a lower-carbon fuel than coal, and switching power plants to run on gas can achieve big emission reductions in the short run. The Obama administration, with its Clean Power Plan, is trying to lock in such a switch in the United States.
But the deep-decarbonization research suggests that gas has to go away within a few decades, which means that heavy investment in natural gas pipelines and power plants now could wind up undermining the long-term goals.

But as everyone was told this election, it's nice to have these ideals of not dying from preventable dirty energy pollution, but maybe not practical.

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