Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has managed to position himself as the tree hugger’s best choice for president this election, but his environmental platform reflects some remarkably shallow thinking on some important green issues. The Breakthrough Institute’s Ted Nordhaus writes for USAToday:
He proposes to retire the nation’s nuclear reactors, which are the nation’s largest source of zero-carbon energy and generate 20% of the nation’s electricity and 60% of its zero-carbon power. Doing so would result in power sector emissions rising over 20% by 2050.
Sanders has vowed if elected to rewrite the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (which primarily restricts coal use) to make it tougher on natural gas. Doing so would gut the rule. Regulation of carbon emissions from the power sector under provisions of the Clean Air Act depends almost entirely on the Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that cheap natural gas generation is the “best available” alternative to coal power plants.
Pandering is par for the course for a presidential campaign, but the content of the pander can tell us something instructive about the constituency that’s being courted. In this case, it sheds light on just how hollowed out and delusional the modern green movement has become.
Take the time to read Nordhaus’s piece in full this weekend. It’s both an excellent run-down of the follies of one candidate’s eco-platform and an indictment of mainstream green thinking. We need a better environmental movement.