Covid is what got Joe Biden elected as president of the US. The American economy is in free fall. The situation is eerily similar to what Obama inherited in 2008. Obama tried to stimulate the economy with cash but he also invested in the green energy sector.
Many Democrats are attracted to green energy like moths to a flame. Obama’s efforts in making green energy happen failed miserably. I had written about this in Fortune in 2012. Obama then let green energy go and concentrated on fracking, which revived the economy, slowly but surely. Obama even promoted America’s fracking technology to Poland and China.
In came Donald Trump, a climate denier. He let fracking go fullbore and lit up the economy with oil and natural gas. If Covid had not struck, Trump would probably have won reelection. Now Biden intends to revive the economy with green energy technologies.
His favourite is electric cars. Show me an objective study (not an industry- or government-funded one) that shows that EVs result in zero emissions. EVs, even in the US, are powered by dirty coal and gas power plants. EVs from Tesla and GM and Volkswagen and others are getting to be so big now that they have become power guzzlers. They have enormous battery capacity, which requires a lot of dirty power to charge them. Are you telling me that these EVs cause zero emissions?
The economy needs to be desperately resuscitated and this cannot be done by conflating an aspirational but misguided climate agenda with appropriate solutions. One of the appropriate solutions is what Trump accomplished, which is that he let fracking go full-blast. That’s what Biden needs to do. Instead he’s installed a senior man like John Kerry as his climate envoy, who will poke his green Pinocchio-like nose into every aspect of Biden’s administration and derail it.
The state government of California is running TV ads with a cute kid (Why they use kids in these ads beats me). The kid says, I know that solar and wind energy are not available all the time, so I implore people to use less power when they are not available. Now solar is down on average by 6 pm. 6 pm is when people come home from work and switch on their air conditioners and heaters and other devices. From 6 pm to 11 pm is when people need power the most. That is precisely when solar is not available. The kid is cute but his reasoning is flawed. Somebody in the state of California is not thinking straight.
Over 74 million people voted for Trump. Sixty-six percent of the votingeligible population cast a ballot, the highest in over a century. That means that over 110 million of all voters should support Trump. More than 120 million of all voters should support Biden. Outlier candidates should have got close to 4 million votes if everyone had voted. So Trump’s share of the voting population is 110 million divided by 234 million, which is 47 percent.
Trump has already indicated that he’ll run in 2024. He knows he’s lost now and only refuses to concede because he wants his fan base to believe that the 2020 election was rigged, which clearly it was not, but 85 per cent of his supporters believe it was. Trump reportedly also plans to torpedo Biden’s presidency by announcing his own candidacy for presidency on 20 January 2021, the very same day that Biden is going to be inaugurated as the 46th president of the republic.
Because of his hard-core support base, the Republican party is in hock to Trump. It is unlikely that any other Republican will contest him for the Republican presidential nomination for 2024. The Senate will probably be in the control of the Republicans in the upcoming cycle. The Democrats have lost significant seats in the House of Representatives, although they still control the House by a narrow margin. Moderate Democratic Congressmen and Congresswomen don’t want climate to define Biden’s presidency.
But it is. Both Biden and Kamala Harris seem enthralled by cleaning the planet, even when people are dying of hunger in the United States. People have always died of hunger in the US because it has never been a welfare state, but millions facing hunger pangs because the biggest epidemic in a century hit the country is a travesty of justice. In 2010, I wrote an article in the Washington Post, The green jobs myth, which was cited by David Brooks in his column in 2011 in the New York Times called Where the Jobs Aren’t. Since then, shale oil and gas have trumped renewables. See How shale is trumping renewables in the Financial Post, published in 2012.
Greenwashing breathed life into the careers of has-been politicians like Al Gore and Arnold Schwarznegger. But Biden is no has-been politician. He is about to assume the most important job in the world. He must know that he was elected because of Trump’s mishandling of Covid, and not because of any climate agenda of his own. Americans were perfectly happy with the pathbreaking economy that Trump gave them from 2017 to early 2020. Yes, Trump inherited a robust economy from Obama, but he took it to new heights.
If Biden persists in his climate activism, he will only derail his presidency. Obama got so wed to Obamacare early on in his first term that he only received shellacking upon shellacking from the electorate thereafter, which resulted in part in the rise of Trump. Please, Joe Biden, don’t make the same mistake as Obama. Let fracking go unimpeded, restore the economy, and then you can tinker with your green energy.
If you mess the economy up by trying to make it recover with socalled green technologies like EVs, Trump will most likely be back in the White House in 2025.
The writer is an expert on energy and contributes regularly to publications in India and overseas.