Pollak: The Craziest Things Said at the CNN Climate Town Hall

CNN President Jeffrey Adam "Jeff" Zucker gives a press conference on the first day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) on February 26, 2018 in Barcelona. The Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile fair, is held in Barcelona from February 26 to March 1. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS …

Call the Federal Elections Commission: CNN made an enormous in-kind contribution to President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign on Wednesday evening.

Over the course of seven hours, the top ten Democratic candidates for president in 2020 committed to radical solutions to “climate change” — a problem that, assuming the worst-case scenarios are true, will result in our grandchildren being much richer than we are, instead of much much richer.

Set aside, for the moment, the appalling wastefulness of devoting seven hours — seven consecutive hours — of prime time programming to the subject.

(Theoretically, since economic inefficiency means society wastes resources that otherwise would have been allocated to more valuable uses, CNN can be accused of destroying the planet.)

Clearly, CNN wanted to make a political statement about how important it thinks climate change ought to be in the election.

Good. Given that the United States is the only country in the world that has reduced emissions over the past decade-and-a-half while growing its economy, and that the main reason is the growth of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), which Trump has supported and almost every Democratic candidate promises to ban, the only choice is to vote for the Republicans. That is, if you really care about climate change. (Otherwise you’re just putting party before planet).

That wasn’t the point CNN wanted to make. Nor was it CNN’s goal to expose the ignorance and extremism of the Democratic field.

Yet that is exactly what happened. Given 40 minutes apiece, the aspiring Democratic contenders showed that they are willing to de-industrialize the U.S. economy, put millions of people out of work, and lower the standard of living for tens of millions more, all for the sake of “science” they cannot explain and do not understand.

It wasn’t all the candidates’ fault. CNN kept making “scientific” claims that ranged from half-truths to pure baloney. Again and again, for instance, moderators suggested that Hurricane Dorian was caused by climate change, or a sign of things to come. (It isn’t.)

But give the network partial credit for noting that plans like the “Green New Deal” will hurt mining and agricultural communities. Some of the candidates barely seemed to care.

Among the worst ideas:

1. Taxing “carbon pollution.” Some called it a “carbon fee”; others called it a “carbon tax.” Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) was the only one offering a “cap-and-trade” system as an alternative. All believe that you should be paying more for fuel. None suggested making it revenue-neutral — say, by lowering payroll taxes — though South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg would redistribute the money to the poor. (Learn from California: that’s not happening.)

2. Banning fracking. With the possible exception of former vice president Joe Biden (who agreed last month at the second debate that he would “eliminate” fracking) and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (who would back bans at state and local levels), all of the Democrats want to ban the one innovation that has made the greatest difference for our planet in the last twenty years, powered the economic recovery, and made us less dependent on the Mideast.

3. Ending oil and gas exploration and extraction on public lands. The Obama administration tried it, too. Never mind that some public lands have been specifically set aside for oil and gas development. There seems to be little thought about the impact that would have on the U.S. economy, on fuel prices, and on national security. Nor is any credit given for industry advances in environmentally-friendly technology (except as a warrant for more regulation).

4. Banning nuclear energy. Perhaps with Nevada — the fourth state in the 2020 primary contests — in mind, most of the candidates objected to nuclear energy because of challenges around nuclear waste storage. Only businessman Andrew Yang and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) offered defenses of nuclear power as a zero-emissions alternative, with Booker making the obvious argument: if you believe we need to reduce emissions quickly, nuclear is the only way.

5. Banning plastic straws, discouraging meat, eliminating incandescent light bulbs. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) admitted that paper straws are useless, but wants to ban the plastic ones anyway, based on pseudoscience. Booker, a vegan, says you can eat what you want — thanks! — but the rest want you to find another source of protein. And the candidates mocked Trump for halting the imposition of energy-efficient bulbs — seemingly ignorant of health risks.

The craziness didn’t end there. Biden blamed climate change for the cancer and the genocide in Darfur (previously thought to be the fault of Arab militias slaughtering, raping, and displacing black African civilians). Buttigieg said he would explain climate change to folks in the heartland by telling them God thought greenhouse gases were a sin. Bernie Sanders suggested global population control, encouraged by organizations that promote abortion abroad.
They all want to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords; none wants to submit them to the Senate for ratification, but several want to eliminate or evade the filibuster to pass the “Green New Deal” — the “green” socialist manifesto written by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

No compromises on the road to utopia. And plenty new material for Trump’s campaign ads.

Send a receipt to Jeff Zucker and file a form with the FEC. This one will leave a mark.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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