It’s been said that political promises are like babies; easy to make but hell to deliver. If that’s true, the Democratic National Committee’s platform promise that the nation will run “entirely on clean energy by midcentury” is an 18-pounder. And it’s breech.
The platform, which is expected to be approved this week during the convention, also includes the goal of “getting 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade.”
But perhaps the most troubling plank in this platform is the fact that the Democratic Party has dropped its long-standing commitment to an “All of the Above” energy strategy. As recently as 2014, President Obama credited the “All of the Above” strategy with having “substantial economic and energy security benefits [while] helping to reduce carbon emissions.”
“We need an energy strategy for the future, an ‘All of the Above’ strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy,” he said.
But it appears the anti-oil-and-natural-gas activists, led by 350.org founder
and platform committee member Bill McKibben, aren’t interested in the future. “No more all of the above. No more bridge to the future,” McKibben tweeted. “Sun and wind are now above natural gas.”
Well, if he means sun and wind are above natural gas in cost, technical difficulties and unreliability, he’s right. Just ask the 22 New York state lawmakers who, in a recent letter to Governor Cuomo seeking a moratorium on fossil fuel infrastructure projects, admitted, “Despite New York's best efforts, new sustainable energy generation remains very low due to high costs and technical hurdles.” As a result of the high costs and technical challenges, they wrote, “it will be extremely challenging to achieve our state’s climate goals of 50% renewable energy by 2030.”
But if he thinks that sun and wind power can meet all of our nation’s energy needs any time soon, he’s got another think coming. Setting aside the $16.5 trillion that the International Energy Agency estimates it will cost to develop enough wind and solar capacity to substantially impact global warming, the fact is wind and solar technology depend on oil and natural gas.
The most critical elements of renewable technology, from the sleek blades on a wind turbine to the energy cells in a solar panel, are made from oil and natural gas. The literally couldn’t exist without it.