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He Left the Truth in San Francisco

November 4, 2008
The Heritage Foundation

For all of Barack Obama's trouble telling the truth, he always feels free to speak his mind whenever he is in San Francisco. In April, Obama told a room full of wealthy San Franciscans what he thought of rural Americans, calling them bitter people who cling to guns and religion. Now, in a recently discovered audiotape from his meeting with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, Obama admits he wants to bankrupt the coal industry, and that his energy policies will cause consumers' electricity rates to "skyrocket."

Here are the exact quotes from the audiotape: (YouTube added by RightSideNews.com)

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted. ... You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know - Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it - whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.

We don't get the chance to say this very often, but Obama is 100% correct: his cap-and-trade program would end thousands of coal-related jobs throughout the country and send electricity costs soaring. But the damage would not end there. This summer Heritage's Center for Data Analysis studied Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-CT) much more lenient cap-and-trade plan and found it would kill 1 million American jobs and cause a loss of $4.8 trillion in our gross domestic product by 2030. The economic costs of Obama's more stringent plan can only be worse.

One need only look to Europe to see both why America still needs coal, and how cap-and-trade policies are doomed for failure. The European Union's cap-and-trade program is in complete collapse as much of Eastern Europe, Italy, and Germany are all demanding exemptions from their carbon limits. Not only has the EU's cap-and-trade failed to actually reduce carbon emissions , but even if the reductions were met, they would have no impact on world temperatures. Meanwhile, Germany plans to build 27 coal-fired plants by 2020. Italy plans to increase its reliance on coal from 14% today to 33% in just five years. In all of Europe, 40 new major coal power plants are set to be built in the next five years.

While the rest of the world is adding power supply, we are subtracting it. Obama's allies at the National Resources Defense Council have stopped construction on 65 coal plants and 13 natural gas plants nationwide. Right now, the U.S. has 760 gigawatts of power to meet consumption. We will need 135 gigawatts of new capacity over the next decade to keep the lights on, but right now only 57 gigawatts of power are planned . Coal supplies almost half of our nation's electricity and more than 20% of our nation's total energy consumption. We need more coal plants, not less. Despite decades of subsidies, alternative energies such as wind and solar power contribute only 1% of our nation's energy needs.

No matter what Barack Obama and Al Gore tell you, alternative energy sources cannot meet demand. You can trust Obama when he tells you his policies will cause energy prices to "skyrocket." In this case, he's telling the truth.

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