by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts promises that if she is elected president, she will issue an immediate unilateral prohibition — based on some presidential power that she’ll invent as soon as she gets around to it — on the method of natural-gas production known colloquially as “fracking.” Other Democratic contenders, including Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris of California, have made similar promises.
Another way of saying this is that the Democrats promise to induce artificial scarcity in the energy market. Yet another way of saying this is that the Democrats promise to create effective subsidies for such relatively high-pollution energy sources as coal and diesel at the expense of a relatively low-pollution energy source in the form of natural gas. …
… The fundamental issue here isn’t methane or carbon dioxide or climate modeling: It is gullibility. On the one hand, the Democrats offer a pie-in-the-sky “Green New Deal” through which greenhouse-gas emissions might be radically reduced at no real cost to anybody and no meaningful economic disturbance . . . at some point in the future . . . by giving today’s Democrats a great deal of money and power and by implementing a bunch of things that look for all the world like the longstanding Democratic policy wish-list, many of them only remotely connected to energy or climate change. On the other hand, we have the opportunity to substitute — right here and right now — relatively clean sources of energy for relatively dirty ones, and to do so mainly by relying on the fact that producers and industry will do so on their own simply by responding to ordinary economic incentives.