Presidential candidate Joseph Biden describes the Green New Deal espoused by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats as a “crucial framework” for his climate plan. Biden proposes a carbon tax on fossil fuels, which will be detrimental to America’s world-leading oil and natural gas production and continue to destroy America’s coal industry. Now that America is energy independent for the first time in 75 years, Biden proposes to return America’s energy production to oblivion, thereby affecting our national security, making the United States again dependent on Middle East oil. His new energy taxes would increase prices at the gasoline pump and raise utility bills, hurting American families just when President Trump has lowered taxes and produced a prosperous economy before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Clearly, Biden’s energy and climate plans would set American energy production back decades and other countries would reap the benefits—China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia to name a few. China is building new coal plants to spur its economy to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. With U.S. preeminence reduced, Saudi Arabia and Russia will raise billions for their budgets with their exports of oil and gas. The United States would be the sole loser, as is recognized by President Trump’s energy dominance platform.
Biden’s Climate Plan
“Establish an enforcement mechanism to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050, including a target no later than the end of President Biden’s first term in 2025 to ensure we get to the finish line. This enforcement mechanism will be based on the principles that polluters must bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting and that our economy must achieve ambitious reductions in emissions economy-wide instead of having just a few sectors carry the burden of change. The enforcement mechanism will achieve clear, legally-binding emissions reductions with environmental integrity.”
Further, Biden will:
“Work with Congress to enact in 2021, President Biden’s first year in office, legislation that, by the end of his first term, puts us on an irreversible path to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The legislation must require polluters to bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting.”
The “carbon pollution” he refers to is the emission of carbon dioxide, 96 percent of which comes from natural non-man-made sources. The mechanism would most likely be a carbon tax, which Biden said he would support, or a cap and trade program, which is essentially a carbon tax, and in fact previously became known as the “cap and tax” program when it was dismissed by Congress during the Obama Administration. In either case, a Biden tax on greenhouse gas emissions would significantly increase household costs such as cooling and heating, transportation, and groceries. Agriculture is especially affected because of the need for heavy energy and petroleum inputs necessary to produce more food on the least amount of land possible. In addition to actual food production, energy is used to pump water, as a feedstock for fertilizers, and for the transport of food from the field to the grocery store.
Carbon taxes also saddle state and local governments with huge costs. A school district in Canada was forced to kick 400 kids off the school bus program in order to pay a $3.3 million carbon tax bill. The Calgary Board of Education pays about $300,000 in a given school year for the carbon tax on transportation fuel, including school buses, about $1.4 million a year for natural gas to heat its buildings, and a rough estimate of about $1.5 million for electricity, totaling up to about $3.3 million a year.
Carbon Taxes are Unpopular
Carbon taxes are politically unpopular and have failed even where they have been enacted. In Australia, voters rejected a carbon tax that was passed earlier by ensuring the carbon tax politicians were not reelected. Despite opposing a carbon tax during her 2010 campaign, Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced a carbon tax after she was elected. In 2013, Tony Abbott repealed the carbon tax after campaigning against Gillard and promising that legislation to abolish the carbon tax would be before Parliament within 100 days of his victory.
In November 2016, Washington state voters rejected a carbon tax on a ballot measure known as Initiative 732. In November 2018, Washington State voters rejected a carbon tax again on ballot measure Initiative 1631.
In December 2018, France suspended a carbon tax increase that was supposed to take place on January 1, 2019. A steep increase in the fuel and diesel tax was set to take effect as part of President Emmanuel Macron’s stated goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The diesel tax was set to rise by 6.5 cents per liter, and the fuel tax was set to rise by 2.9 cents per liter, which was on top of the carbon tax hikes that took effect on January 1, 2018–a tax hike of 7.6 cents per liter on diesel and a hike of 3.9 cents per liter of fuel. The carbon tax increases sparked the Yellow Vest movement, which led to Macron’s suspension of the 2019 tax hikes.
Biden’s plan to reach economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 is a non-starter. While his website isn’t advertising that the mechanism would be a tax on fossil fuels, that is precisely what it would be, which will increase the cost of transportation, raise electricity rates, increase the cost of cooling and heating homes, and generally increase the cost of living. Americans are facing economic hardships now because of the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Planning and campaigning on increasing energy costs during this period of economic harm should set off alarm bells. But the Biden campaign hides the details from the public. Americans should be aware of what the Australians went through a decade ago and what Canadians are facing today.