Planet Gore

The Planet: Biden to the Rescue!

Vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Barack Obama may disagree on “the most important national security question since the Cold War,” as Mr. Obama refers to the invasion of Iraq. But at least they are equally hysterical when it comes to what the Illinois senator calls “the defining moment for our nation”: the war on global warming.

In fact, when asked in an interview with Salon last September what one problem he could solve “if I could wave a wand,” Biden said he’d solve the “energy crisis.” Not AIDS, not cancer, not terrorism, but the “energy crisis.”
Clearly this man has the right priorities to be America’s second-in-command.
Biden, noteworthy for bold pronouncements, then boldly pronounced that global warming is more important than independence from foreign oil because “if we do not do something about global warming, drastically and soon, (it) is going to initiate major new conflicts relating to war.”
So what tools (in addition to a magic wand) would Biden call upon to alter the coming apocalypse? Fluorescent light bulbs and federal mileage standards.
If every American used fluorescents, he says, the U.S. would reduce carbon emissions by 7 million tons a year, for a whopping savings of 0.1 percent of America’s 6-billion-ton emissions total. A “gigantic change” Biden told Salon.
As for transportation, Biden would issue an executive order upon taking office in January, 2008 that the federal government “not purchase one single automobile for its fleet that gets less than 40 miles to a gallon.” Currently, the Secret Service prefers SUVs to ferry government officials like Biden, and there isn’t a sport ute on the market within striking distance of 40 mpg. Which means, come next January, the Secret Service will either have to ditch Chevy Suburbans for armored Toyota Priuses — or VP Biden will be walking everywhere.
Biden also claims that all U.S. vehicles “should be able to get to 40 miles per gallon by 2017.” Though Biden famously takes a federally subsidized train from his Delaware home to Capitol Hill every day, he still might have noticed the fury of American drivers this summer as gas prices hit $4 a gallon. This resulted in a record 26.8 mpg average for America’s vehicle fleet, yet there is no evidence that Biden was cheering the fact.
In Europe, meanwhile, gas prices are taxed to twice U.S. rates (currently over $8 a gallon) which has resulted in Biden’s desired 40-mpg fleet average. Yet Europe remains almost 100-percent dependent on oil as its transportation fuel. So how does fuel-efficiency cars solve our oil dependency problem, exactly?
But don’t slow down Smokin’ Joe down with details when he’s building a good head of steam.
He says corn-based ethanol is a good start, not because it saves in CO2 emissions (he admits it doesn’t), but because it allows him to wave his wand and declare “we can produce 86 billion gallons of ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks” someday. Give or take 86 billion gallons.
Coal-fired plants? Biden says “all plants should be built with carbon capture” though no viable model exists. Nuclear power? “I would not invest in growing nuclear power capacity in its current form.” Liquefied coal? He wouldn’t support its use in the U.S. because of its carbon content, but “we could invest in technologies for export” to China.
Huh? you say. Good question, as it brings us to Biden’s ultimate energy solution: unilateral disarmament.
“To deal with global warming, you have to change the attitude of the world,” says Obama’s nominee, “particularly China and India.” Therefore, to “put us in a position to be able to actually attempt to lead the world,” the U.S. must unilaterally “cap emissions at 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.”
At which point a crippled U.S. economy would no longer be leading China and India in anything. But maybe a wave of Mr. Biden’s wand could fix that too.

Clearly this man has the right priorities to be America’s second-in-command.

Biden, noteworthy for bold pronouncements, then boldly pronounced that global warming is more important than independence from foreign oil because “if we do not do something about global warming, drastically and soon, (it) is going to initiate major new conflicts relating to war.”
 

So what tools (in addition to a magic wand) would Biden call upon to alter the coming apocalypse? Fluorescent light bulbs and federal mileage standards.

 

If every American used fluorescents, he says, the U.S. would reduce carbon emissions by 7 million tons a year, for a whopping savings of .0016 percent of America’s 6-billion-ton emissions total. A “gigantic change” Biden told Salon.

 

As for transportation, Biden would issue an executive order upon taking office in January, 2008 that the federal government “not purchase one single automobile for its fleet that gets less than 40 miles to a gallon.” Currently, the Secret Service prefers SUVs to ferry government officials like Biden, and there isn’t a sport ute on the market within striking distance of 40 mpg. Which means, come next January, the Secret Service will either have to ditch Chevy Suburbans for armored Toyota Priuses – or VP Biden will be walking everywhere.

Biden also claims that all U.S. vehicles “should be able to get to 40 miles per gallon by 2017.” Though Biden famously takes a federally subsidized train from his Delaware home to Capitol Hill every day, he still might have noticed the fury of American drivers this summer as gas prices hit $4 a gallon. This resulted in a record 26.8 mpg average for America’s vehicle fleet, yet there is no evidence that Biden was cheering the fact.
 

In Europe, meanwhile, gas prices taxed to twice U.S. rates (currently over $8 a gallon) have resulted in Biden’s desired 40 mpg fleet average. Yet Europe remains almost 100 percent dependent on oil as its transportation fuel.

 

But don’t slow down Smokin’ Joe down with details when he’s building a good head of steam.

 

He says corn-based ethanol is a good start, not because it saves in CO2 emissions (he admits it doesn’t), but because it allows him to wave his wand and declare “we can produce 86 billion gallons of ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks” someday. Give or take 86 billion gallons.

 

Coal-fired plants? Biden says ”all plants should be built with carbon capture” even though no viable model exists. Nuclear power? “I would not invest in growing nuclear power capacity in its current form.” Liquefied coal? He wouldn’t support its use in the U.S. because of its carbon content, but “we could invest in technologies for export” to China.

 

Huh? you say. Good question, as it brings us to Biden’s ultimate energy solution: unilateral disarmament.

 

“To deal with global warming, you have to change the attitude of the world,” says Obama’s nominee, “particularly China and India.” Therefore, to “put us in a position to be able to actually attempt to lead the world,” the U.S. must unilaterally “cap emissions at 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.”

At which point a crippled U.S. economy would no longer be leading China and India in anything. But maybe a wave of Mr. Biden’s wand could fix that too.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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