The Democratic National Convention concluded after four evenings and made history by nominating the oldest presidential candidate in the country’s history, Joe Biden, and the first woman of color for Vice President, Sen. Kamala Harris.

Congratulations to former Vice President Biden, who has sought the presidency for more than 30 years, having first run unsuccessfully in 1988 and again in 2008. The third time was a charm, at least as far as securing the nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Mr. Biden will turn 78 in late November. It will be historic, indeed, if a person that old gets elected president.

Night after night, speakers at the Party’s convention sought to convey moderation on policy, with heavy doses of identity politics and excoriation of President Donald Trump. The exception to this pattern of moderation was Sen. Bernie Sanders and Cong. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom spoke as proud socialists. They are incapable of pretension.

The issue of “climate change” got plenty of cursory mention during the week, and only briefly in Mr. Biden’s speech on Thursday evening. In total, he said:

We can and we will deal with climate change. It’s not only a crisis, it’s an enormous opportunity, an opportunity for America to lead the world in clean energy and create millions of new good paying jobs in the process.

While Biden’s nomination acceptance speech was not primarily a policy speech, the passing mention of climate may have had the purpose of downplaying the harmful implications of his policies. He called it a “crisis,” without the doomsday rhetoric of passing-the-point-of-no-return in 12 years. There was no mention of the price tag of trillions of taxpayer dollars Biden would commit to mandate “clean energy,” nor did he explain how he would create “millions of new good paying jobs.” I’m not sure I ever saw the juxtaposition of dealing with climate change as “an enormous opportunity.”

High profile political speeches are drafted with great care. Every word is carefully chosen and many are focus group tested. Everyone is in favor of creating jobs; everyone supports opportunity. However, dealing with climate change does neither; rather, it would be extremely costly, economically detrimental and unnecessary.

Climate change policies actually proposed by the Biden-Harris campaign are not benign and moderate. They are spelled out in the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations. The Task Force climate panel was co-chaired by AOC. Among the plans are to eliminate carbon “pollution” in power plants by 2035 and net greenhouse gases from the entire economy by 2050.

This agenda will destroy jobs in fossil fuel industries and raise the cost of energy with enormous negative ripple effects for the economy and Americans’ standard of living. So-called “clean energy,” as repeatedly documented by CFACT and far-left activist filmmaker, Michael Moore, is a cruel fallacy. Wind turbines and solar panels are heavily reliant on fossil fuels for both their manufacture and operation. Similarly, fossil fuel-powered equipment is necessary to wipe out forests to produce “biomass” energy.

In Kamala Harris’ home state of California, during the very week of this convention, we have a glimpse of this “green energy” future for America, with rolling blackouts due to the banning of fossil fuel sources in favor of “renewable” energy.

Interestingly, Biden’s climate plans contradict the centrality of his plan to “rebuild the economy,” which got larger mention in the speech. For example, there is no way to build “modern roads, bridges, highways, broadband, ports and airports,” and create 5 million new manufacturing jobs without lots and lots of traditional energy sources from natural gas, coal and oil. As in California right now, “clean” or “renewable” energy won’t cut it.

Assuming any of this Task Force climate agenda were possible, it will be extremely costly and dislocating. Most of all, it will be ineffective. The United States cannot “eliminate” enough carbon emissions to affect the planet’s temperature, and politicians should stop pretending otherwise.

Joe Biden was careful to mention climate change in an abstract, sanguine way. But the devil is in the details, which are extreme and dubious with major downside ramifications for our economy and living standards.

That is why Bernie, normally a cantankerous personality, has been uncharacteristically smiling often recently, and why shouldn’t he? His and AOC’s climate plans for the country are one election from reality. Should Biden win in November, it’s full speed ahead on their climate policies.


  • CFACT Ed

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  • Peter Murphy

    Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: