Bernie Sanders

Sanders Called Out for His Incoherent "War on Clean Energy" by the Washington Post

Trolling for votes by pandering to environmental fundamentalists


Dreamtime: Marion Rush

I've already denounced Democratic Socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders for his ignorant attacks on fracking and natural gas production. Now the editors of the Washington Post join in with a terrific excoriation of Sen. Sanders' opposition to using natural gas and nuclear power to generate electricity. The Post notes that the senator wants to ban all fracking and retire all nuclear power plants in the U.S. As the Post editors observe:

In fact, if we are serious about global warming, we will ignore Mr. Sanders's sloganeering.

When burned, natural gas produces about half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal. The recent fracking boom contributed to a reduction in national carbon dioxide emissions over the past several years, as utilities switched from cheap coal to now-cheaper gas. It is true that some concerns remain. Methane leaks from natural gas wells and pipelines. Many worry about drinking water near fracking operations. But the government can require drillers to address these issues without shutting the industry. It is also true that natural gas is a waystation; though it is cleaner than coal, natural gas still produces carbon dioxide emissions. Yet gas's price and emissions profile is still attractive enough that the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, the most aggressive global warming policy the country has ever had, relies on gas displacing coal to meet medium-term emissions goals.

Mr. Sanders's rhetoric on nuclear power is even more concerning. Nuclear accounts for about a fifth of the country's electricity, and it is practically emissions-free. Shutting down that much clean electricity generation would put the country into a deep emissions hole. Mr. Sanders argues that he will invest heavily in renewables. Yet every dollar spent to replace one carbon-free source with another is a dollar that could have been spent replacing dangerous and dirty coal plants (emphasis added). Under Mr. Sanders's vision, either the country would fail to maximize emissions cuts, or it would waste huge amounts of money unnecessarily replacing nuclear plants. Unsurprisingly, the Clean Power Plan relies on nuclear, too, assuming that the country will get about the same amout of electricity from nuclear in 2030.

Mr. Sanders is right that climate change demands an aggressive response, and he is right to favor a carbon tax. He should leave it at that: put a price on carbon, insist on adequate regulation and let the market find the fastest and most efficient road to slowing the warming of the planet.

Actually, for consistency, the Post's editors might well have further argued that the whole panoply of subsidies for renewables and the Clean Power Plan mandates promoted by the Obama administration and other progressives could be entirely replaced by a revenue neutral carbon tax.

For more background on environmentalist progressives' counterproductive war against nuclear power see my 2009 article, "The Cultural Contradictions of Anti-Nuke Environmentalists."

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  1. “Sanders and his followers are ignorant idiots. Film at 11:00.”

    1. OT: Does anyone pay attention to those promoted comments ? I skip right past them, just like those promoted stories.

      1. I down vote anyone who makes a comment. I’m trying to send a message.

        1. 12 Promoted Comments that got Down Voted.
          Number 9 will Amaze You.

        2. I just told NoScript to block the fucking thing, so I never have to see it.

  2. Mr. Sanders is right that climate change demands an aggressive response, and he is right to favor a carbon tax. He should leave it at that: put a price on carbon, insist on adequate regulation and let the market find the fastest and most efficient road to slowing the warming of the planet.

    Set a goal and let the market decide through competition how best to achieve that goal? Why not just let the market and competition determine what the goal should be? I’m guessing this editorial was published April First.

    1. It does end with a zinger, doesn’t it?

    2. The political and media class really love that Third Way socialism.

    3. “Why not just let the market and competition determine what the goal should be?”

      Because the people who make the sacrifices to get reduced-CO2 air get roughly the same benefit as everyone else. Since you can’t feasibly assign property rights to the end product, no one will bother (except for nominal PR-focused efforts).

      1. Considering that the increase in CO2 has been a net benefit to date, is bailey willing to make that carbon tax a refundable credit?

        Didn’t think so.

  3. Bless Bernie Sanders’s heart, but he’s a dumbass.

    1. I agree with 50% of your statement.

  4. Sanders is an unbelievable idiot. As such, I really wish he’d be president, because I could sure use a Zombie Apocalypse about right now.

    1. The outbreak started on college campuses, and quickly moved on to other institutions with weak ideological fortitude… old folks’ homes, knitting clubs, Unitarian churches, labor halls.

      1. There’s a UU seminary near my place. I chortle every time I walk past.

  5. He doesn’t want clean energy, he wants no energy. Feudal serfdom is their objective.

  6. The Washington Post is completely in the Clinton camp . Whatta surprise.

    1. Yes, but it’s handy that Sanders is so utterly stupid.

  7. We’ll have all the energy we’ll need when we’re huddled together sharing warmth while waiting for our daily ration of gruel.

  8. Quality trolling, or quality derp?

    From comments:

    I’m all for doing away with fossil fuels. Seriously. I would be willing to give up comfort, TV, driving, lights for reading, etc. If you only had renewable energy, that is what would happen. But I won’t sacrifice by myself. Everyone must join in.

    1. Sounds to coherent to be derp.

    2. “Everyone must join in.” translates to “We must force everyone to live like this at the barrel of a gun, because giving all of that up voluntarily and living in some shithole commune with my lunatic friends sounds crazy.”


    4. I’ve seen similar comments elsewhere. I saw someone saying that people in the US would have to accept an 80% reduction in quality of life. It’s the way we live that’s causing climate change, you see.

      1. Quality of life needs to go down, but wages need to go up!

    5. That sounds like sarcasm and damn good sarcasm at that.

    6. That guy or gal was trolling especially if you read their other posts.

      The one I was wondering about was the person who sarcastically said let’s put up nuclear plants by schools and create billions of them will be great for the planet.

      Pure emotional drivel which is your typical Bernie supporter

      1. You’re a monster who clearly doesn’t care one bit about all the 0 children killed by nuclear power plants in the history of the United States.

        1. One person claimed to work at three mile island which suffered a melt down

          1. And is still operating.

  9. Those gulags are supposed to be cold.

  10. DU is right there with him

    Environmental groups also issued words of caution. Columbia Riverkeepers, an Oregon-based advocacy organization, said in a statement that the leak is “another reminder of the cost of nuclear waste, and the unexpected outcomes of handling radioactive material.”

    The AY-102 tank “holds some of the most dangerous nuclear waste on Earth,” said the group’s executive director Brett VandenHeuvel. “These tanks were not designed to hold waste for decades. It’s past time to get the waste out of the unsafe tanks.”

    Well, perhaps if they hadn’t consistently and successfully blocked any attempts at building long term waste disposal facilities, we wouldn’t have this problem.

    1. Or we could recycle the nuclear waste and reduce the amount by at least 90% (according to the IEEE Spectrum).

      1. They FLS but they don’t FL reading S.

        1. You don’t read science, you do science. Duh.

          1. Pfft, you don’t read or do science, you just promote it on social media when it confirms your biases. Because that’s how much you Fucking Love Science.

      2. Absolutely. But once again, the anti-nuke nuts prevent any rational actions from occurring, simply so they can point and say “LOOK AT HOW BAD IT IS”

      3. Or we could dump the waste on Monster Island, what’s the worst that could happen?

      4. Costs too much. Need to use something more ‘modern’ to make it cost effective like an MSR.

    2. When it comes to fuel rods it’s not even waste. Only 1% is burned. The government not allowing reprocessing is the problem.

      1. Reprocessing of spent solid fuel isn’t cost effective. That wouldn’t be the case for MSRs.

  11. Nobody needs 900 kWh/mo.

  12. Many worry about drinking water near fracking operations.

    Hasn’t this been debunked enough that it has no place in any serious discussion?

    1. If you repeat it often enough, it becomes science.

      1. And many worry about it, so there must be something to it. Right? I mean “many” of these people that I can’t or won’t name are really worried about it.

      2. And we fucking love science!

    2. There have been pond spills and leaking casings.

      1. What do you want to bet that swift compensatory remedies have been thwarted in the name of targeting the fracking industry rather than offending frackers?

        1. Property Owner: “Damn you Frack Co., you poisoned my land! I ought to be compensated.”

          Bureaucrat: “Fear not, citizen. I will make sure Frack Co. pays a penalty for what they’ve done.”

          Property Owner: “Great, when do I get my check?”

          Bureaucrat: “You will be paid by the satisfaction you get from knowing that we have fined the offending party and those fines will go into our budget. And to make sure this never happens again, we shall sell the offending party a permit to violate the property rights of others with near impunity, so there’s no future crimes.”

          Property Owner: “But what about my compensation?”

          Bureaucrat: “My colleagues at the Bureau of A, B and C will see to that, once you fill out the required paperwork and properly grovel before them.”

      2. From all the data i’ve seen, the environmental impact of fracking is actually LOWER than that of any other means used to extract natural gas or oil.

        People cite leaks and contamination rates, but almost never in the context of “And here’s how it compares to all the other methods for energy-resource extraction“.

        1. I live adjacent to fracking operation, and when I turn on my kitchen faucet a methane fireball shoots out. I have lost at least three sets of eyebrows and two cats because of fracking.

          1. Why not just run a flare line to your chimney? That way any gases could preignite.

          2. So you’re down to your last couple sets of eyebrows, huh? I bet you never thought your hypertrichosis would get cured THAT way.

          3. You could hook up your faucet to a micro turbine connected to an A/C generator and solve your power and flammable water problems in one fell swoop.

    3. Hasn’t this been debunked enough that it has no place in any serious discussion?

      So has the 1 in 5 rape statistic and the 73 cents per dollar women’s pay statistic, but nothing will stop the promotion of the narrative.

    4. Yes. About a million times. And if you don’t believe me, look no further than the complete bullshit weasel words the Post uses. “Many worry”? What the hell does that mean. Many people worry that the planet is being secretly run by aliens. Should we base our energy policy off of that assumption as well?

      There is no evidence of it affecting drinking water. If there were, the post would state it as fact. Since there isn’t and the post writer is a mendacious twat, they fall back on the “many worry” weasel word. That implies that there is some truth to it without actually saying there is.

        1. Many worry that the dangers of global warming are either overblown or non existent.

          Many worry that gun bans do more harm than good

          Many worry that minimum wage laws harm the poor

          Sentences you will never see in the Washington Post

    5. A GMO corn farm adjacent to a fracking operation killed my family.

      1. + the internets.

    6. How close is the nearest fracking operation to Flint, MI’s water supply?

      1. Give it time. In a few years Progs will be convinced that franking destroyed the Flint water supply and polluted the Colorado River.

        1. If those horrid capitalists hadn’t put the heroic EPA in such terrible situations, there wouldn’t have been any problem. But now I have to get out my soapbox, because I’m going to rant now that the fucking EPA, of all people needs to either follow all of their own regulations or have a variance with remediation plan on file.

        2. Nah, they’re already convinced it was a libertarian plot to add lead to Flint’s water.

        3. Franking? I fail to see how the Postal Service is involved.

  13. Global Warming is awesome though because Naomi Klein says it gives us our best chance to impose global Communist hegemony

    1. Naomi Klein thinks she’ll be part of the 0.01% in the Coming Communist State.

      1. She’ll be among the leading 0.01% edge of lefty ideologues put up against the wall.

        1. If only Comrade Sanders knew!

  14. Bernie might not care about the environment at all. He might just care about votes.

  15. I had a Bernie supporters show me a Peanuts cartoon with Lucy, Charlie Brown and the football. Lucy was the capitalists promising that if we lower taxes and deregulate, the economy would improve.

    I said that maybe Lucy should be saying “vote socialist, and this time we won’t screw up the economy or kill anyone!”

    Nobody appreciates my humor.

    1. But Sweden!!

    2. Do you ever ask them where lower taxes and deregulation has been implemented recently?

      1. Is… is the answer Hitler?

  16. could be entirely replaced by a revenue neutral carbon tax

    It could also be replaced by revenue raised by selling unicorn farts which counteract global warming! Two things that are equally real!

    1. Isn’t a carbon tax a regressive tax?

    2. Don’t you know our problems can be solved by putting a completely artificial price on a set of commodities to account for a theoretical cost that cannot possibly be known?

  17. Not a Spot The Not:

    I’ve been told before that calling Donald Trump’s supporters stupid is a poor way to convince people they shouldn’t support Donald Trump so I’ve come up with a little matching game we can play to match each candidate with their base supporters. See how well you can do on this little test.

    1. Donald Trump
    2. Hillary Clinton
    3. Ted Cruz
    4. Bernie Sanders
    5. John Kasich
    6. Joe Biden
    7. Paul Ryan
    8. Almanian/Nikki/Cthulhu/SMOD
    9. Gary Johnson

    A. Morons
    B. Retards
    C. Idiots
    D. Thoughtful Realists
    E. Brain-damaged
    F. Mouth-breathers
    G. Shit-for-brains
    H. Hopelessly Romantic Idealists
    I. Frequently-Outwitted-By-Inanimate-Objects

    Note: One or more category of supporter(s) may apply to one or more candidate(s).

    1. Trump – Mouth breathers
      Hillary Clinton – Brain Damaged
      Ted Cruz – Shit for brains
      Bernie – Retards
      Kasich – Thoughtful realists (and that is very sad)
      Biden – Idiots
      Ryan – Frequently outwitted by inanimate objects
      Nikki SMOD ect – Hopeless Romantic Idealists
      Johnson – Morons.

  18. So our left leaning urban populations are supporting a candidate who proposes to eliminate the abundant energy that makes modern urban living possible.

    I wonder if they play giant jenga while sitting on the tower?

    1. Most people don’t realize that most of the manufacturing machinery that made the industrial revolution possible was already invented and in use by the 13th century. So why did it take 900 years to take off? Because the number of sites that you can run a mill from wind/water is incredibly tiny and in fact, many European skirmishes were started because of dam building for power generation cutting off down stream users. It was the invention of the steam engine that allowed a mill to be put just about anywhere that spurred the Industrial revolution. I personally don’t want to return to the 13th century.

  19. I’ve already denounced Democratic Socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders for his ignorant attacks on fracking and natural gas production.

    They’re not ignorant. They’re willfully dishonest. Sanders wants to have the government control energy production; you can be sure if the government controlled energy production, the government would frack our brains out.

    Mr. Sanders’s rhetoric on nuclear power is even more concerning.

    It should be concerning, only because Sanders’ objection is not coming from ignorance but from the desire to have the government control all power production.

  20. By far the funniest (/saddest/most pathetic) thing about the Democratic race from the perspective of me, an oil guy, is watching the far left pretend that Hillary Clinton is in bed with Oil because she only kissed the ring of the environmentalists instead of giving them an all-out blowjob like Bernie.

  21. …”that the whole panoply of subsidies for renewables and the Clean Power Plan mandates promoted by the Obama administration and other progressives could be entirely replaced by a revenue neutral carbon tax.”

    Stop the presses. Are we breaking some news here Ronald? Are you saying you are in favor of a carbon tax? You kinda danced around it in the past…are you in favor of such a method to reduce emissions?

  22. “are you in favor of such a method to reduce emissions?”

    Because if you are, you are a moron, just like jack-an-ass.

  23. It’s nice to know that Reason is against taxes. Except for carbon taxes, that is. Surely you guys can do more to promote free market solutions for global warming!

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