Debra J. Saunders

The worst part: McCain and Clinton have said that they want to sharply reduce greenhouse gases and decrease America's dependence on foreign oil. You don't get there with cheap gasoline. You get there by curbing energy use, which higher prices will do.

Or you get there by increasing supply. Instead, McCain and Obama support Congress' refusal to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as well as bans on new drilling off the coasts of California and Florida. They say they support energy independence -- while they support policies that guarantee more importation of foreign oil.

If there has been some progress, then it is with nuclear power, which can generate cheap energy without emitting greenhouse gases. McCain understands that: "We're never going to really significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions unless nuclear power is a major component" of America's energy supply. And McCain is right. Obama says he wants to explore nuclear power -- which, I suppose, beats an outright rejection.

All is not rosy on the other side of the Atlantic. Global demand may increase prices to a point that forces European countries to give consumers a break by lowering taxes.

Also, most European Union nations will not reduce greenhouse-gas emissions enough to meet the target they agreed to in the 1997 Kyoto global warming pact. Instead, they are calling new meetings and agreeing to tougher goals, like cutting emissions in half by 2050 -- and then patting themselves on the back for setting harder goals, which they won't meet.

Of course, you can't just pass a pact to reduce energy consumption years into the future. And you can't reduce energy consumption by fiat, and without any sacrifice. Fiats and feckless pacts don't reduce energy use, people do.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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