Despite the divisiveness of this election season, Americans from both parties share common ground. Polls show voters want the next president to inject life into our sluggish economy.
To turn around the economy, the next president will need to embrace free-market, consumer-driven, pro-taxpayer, policies. And when it comes to energy, that means the market’s preference for oil, natural gas, and coal. Candidates and voters take heed: the 2016 presidential contest is a referendum on energy.
The next president should promptly undo President Obama’s anti-energy agenda.
A good start would be to reverse the decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. This project would have transported oil from Western Canada to America’s Gulf Coast, creating 42,000 jobs in the process.
Early action is also required to scale back the Obama administration’s costly environmental regulations. That includes the president’s job-killing fiat requiring companies to reduce greenhouse emissions and his “Waters of the U.S.” rules, which greatly expanded the amount of water under federal jurisdiction.
And, the next president should prioritize the development of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are the lynchpin of the American economy. The oil and gas industry supports 9.8 million jobs nationwide and contributes over $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. The recent shale energy revolution has saved American families and businesses an average of $1,200 a year for electricity, and $550 annually at the pump.
It’s no surprise then that the presidential candidates are acknowledging the importance of energy.
Hillary Clinton recently did an about-face on her comments that the growth of clean energy would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” After facing public backlash, she claimed the comment was taken out of context and apologized for giving “folks the reason and the excuse to be so upset with me.”
Donald Trump recently spelled out a reasonable, responsible energy agenda that embraces free-market policies, including the elimination of regulations that, in his words, “impose undue costs on business enterprises.”
Yet environmental activists have ignored the benefits of fossil fuels and unleashed a wave of hysteria over pro-energy policies. Khalid Pitts, the political director for the Sierra Club, described Trump’s ideas as “a profound blow to common sense, the future of the planet, and families across the country.”
Meanwhile, Paul Higgins, the director of the American Meteorological Society’s policy program, said fossil fuels are dangerous because “we cannot know in advance at what point human-caused climate changes will lead to catastrophic societal consequences.”
But evidence now suggests that manmade activities haven’t affected the climate as much as originally thought.
A new study reveals that due to an error in assessing cloud formations before industrialization, many climate warming projections for the coming years are grossly exaggerated. In fact, global warming forecasts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the global authority on climate change — may be four times bigger than the actual figures.
Moreover, current policies from green radicals aren’t helping even by their own criteria for success.
According to a recent statement from former Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Charles McConnell, the president’s Clean Power Plan “will not significantly impact global emissions.” He added: “All of the U.S. annual emissions in 2025 will be offset by three weeks of Chinese emissions. Three weeks… Is this impactful climate regulation? I think not.”
Voters want a stronger economy. The moment is now for an expanded role for oil, gas, and coal in energy-superpower America. Candidates take note.
Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
Institute for Energy Research