Barack Obama, speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, January 2008:
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.
It’s just that it will bankrupt them.
1)Would he also bankrupt those who already operate coal-fired plants, which produce about 40% of the nation’s electricity? Presumably, yes, although he might give them a few years’ grace period.
2)Would he also charge carbon taxes on coal *exports*? For one who believes that CO2-based global warming is among the most critical world issues, it would be irrational to suppress the use of coal at home while still permitting its transfer abroad. Expect the carbon fees to eventually be applied at the mine mouth, not just the point of use.
3)What about the integrated steel companies, which use coke (made from coal) in their blast furnaces? Does he want to bankrupt them, too?
Note also that Obama and other key Democrats are not going to support nuclear energy in any realistic way, even though it is irrational–indeed almost insane–to identify CO2 as a dominant concern and also to continue to suppress nuclear power.
Obama’s energy plan, if implemented, would greatly increase the cost of electricity for households and industries. Don’t kid yourself that solar and wind would fill the gap in any near-term time frame. There are no practical means to store electricity, and sun and wind do not always make themselves available when the power is needed. Increased energy costs for manufacturers would result in many plant closings and job losses; increased energy costs for consumers would reduce discretionary incomes and squeeze the entire economy.
The plan would of course directly harm the coal industry; it would also harm other industries, particularly railroads, which get a lot of their revenue from moving coal. If the carbon charges were extended to the mine mouth, thereby cutting off the coal export market, the impact on the railroads would be devastating, probably resulting in bankruptcies in that industry too…not to mention the effect on the balance of trade.
Obama likes to talk about the middle class. The existence of a broadly-affluent middle class is dependent on broadly-available and reasonably-priced energy, and the Democratic plans are a serious threat to that.
Update: Note well–in the same talk with the S.F. Chronicle, Obama explicitly stated that, under his plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Link here.