Obama: We’ll bankrupt any new coal plants

posted at 10:40 am on November 2, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The folks at Naked Emperor News have unearthed another interesting nugget from a Barack Obama interview from months ago. In January 2008, Obama spoke about his approach to global warming and cap-and-trade systems, and he had a warning for anyone foolish enough to invest in coal:

So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

Yesterday, we looked at Obama’s notions of government sending “price signals” to change behavior that it finds objectionable, especially on energy.  This is the way Obama intends to do it.  Coal provides 49% of domestic electrical power, and any rise in the cost of producing that energy will raise its cost to consumers and reduce the amount produced.

This comes as no great shock, pun intended.  Obama already called for a 15% reduction in demand for electricity — at the same time he and his allies want transportation to switch from gasoline to electricity.  Obama never explained this particular contradiction.  How does one switch tens of millions of vehicles from gasoline to electricity while not Increasing demand, let alone by cutting it 15%?  And when trying to break free from a recession, the nation will need greater production in energy, not a reduction.

The coal-based economics of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and other states will be the first to feel this new policy.  Let’s hope the voters there pay attention.

Addendum: If anyone has a transcript from this interview, let me know.

Update: Free Republic transcribed this video (via Gateway Pundit):

Let me sort of describe my overall policy.

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

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.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

The only thing I’ve said with respect to coal, I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

It’s just that it will bankrupt them.

I’d still like to get a transcript of the entire interview.  I believe that the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Obama in January of this year, but they have no transcript on their site.  That seems very odd for a newspaper interview, especially one in which they’ve posted video.


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