Is Michael Bloomberg Trying To Make Donald Trump President Again? You have to be wondering after the New York billionaire launched a supposedly philanthropic climate campaign called Beyond Petrochemicals last month. Their goal is to shut down more than 120 proposed petrochemical projects in the United States. Is destroying tens of thousands of well-paying jobs Mr. Bloomberg’s idea of charity?
Hillary Clinton’s verbal slip at a town hall in March 2016 that “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” fueled Mr. Trump’s base. It wasn’t just the liberal coastal elites who came for their guns; they also shot for their jobs. Mr Bloomberg is now reminding Trump voters that the destruction of the coal industry was just the beginning.
Mr Bloomberg says his Beyond Petrochemicals campaign will build on other anti-fossil fuel campaigns he has helped fund and credited with helping over the last decade to more than 65% of the world’s fossil fuels shutting down US coal-fired power plants. But at least when coal plants have been shut down in the past, utilities have had an alternative in cheap and plentiful natural gas.
Shale fracking has also fueled a boom in petrochemical production in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian Mountains, which has helped the regions’ low-income communities. But there are currently no alternatives to most of the petrochemicals used in plastics, face masks, medicines, building materials, advanced electronics, solar panels and more. Mr. Bloomberg’s alternative is to ship the jobs to China.
President Biden recently launched a government initiative to encourage the manufacture of plant-based materials. Has he or Mr. Bloomberg ever tried drinking from a paper straw?
The same liberal mindset that fueled Mr. Bloomberg’s crusade as mayor of New York City against the big soda is behind his campaign to ban fossil fuels: Big-minded progressives know what’s best for the country, and commoners are too ignorant to to find out .
The Bloomberg campaign plans to spend $85 million lobbying and litigating against these projects. “Beyond Petrochemicals will scale up the work of front groups and aligned organizations leading the fight to end petrochemical pollution in these communities,” the release said. By pollution, Mr. Bloomberg really means production.
The manufacture of petrochemicals naturally produces some pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide. But these are regulated by states and the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr Bloomberg’s press release says petrochemical plants have been linked to cancer, but that link is as tenuous as that between greenhouse gas emissions, rising temperatures and hurricanes.
A meta-analysis of studies of cancer incidence and mortality in communities with petrochemical plants, conducted last year, did not find a consistently positive association. In any case, US petrochemical factories are much cleaner than Chinese solar panel factories that use forced labor. Petrochemical workers in the US make an average of $82,100 compared to $50,710 for solar panel installers.
Mr Bloomberg’s campaign is not about improving public health. It’s about phasing out fossil fuels. “As the world transitions to clean and renewable energy, demand for oil is expected to shift from trucks, planes and ships to petrochemicals,” its press release reads. Ergo, petrochemicals are the next target of extinction.
If the 120 proposed petrochemical projects are built, Bloomberg says, it will be “nearly impossible for the US to meet the Paris Agreement climate targets.” Some progressives disingenuously claim that their net-zero climate agenda does not require phasing out fossil fuels because technology could potentially capture their carbon emissions. But such technologies are currently expensive and difficult to scale, even with government subsidies.
To his credit, Mr. Bloomberg does not pretend that carbon capture can serve as a middle ground towards a net-zero world. He wants a world without fossil fuels, which is as imaginative as a silly experiment described in “Gulliver’s Travels” to extract sunrays from cucumbers to keep them warm.
Mr. Bloomberg is hardly the only rich man who has declared war on working people. Former San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer is spending the fortune he’s made investing in coal mining to wipe out fossil fuel jobs. John Kerry, whose wife is an heiress to the Heinz family fortune, travels the world helping poor people in the United States and abroad.
“No one should make it easy for gas prospects to build 30 or 40 years of infrastructure and then we hold on to it and you know the fight will be, ‘Well, we can’t shut this down because of employment. because of the investors etc.’” Mr Kerry said in April. Translation: keeping jobs and investments in the ground.
The left’s religious crusade against fossil fuels is driving up energy prices and contributing to political instability around the world. Populists thrive amid economic discontent. In 2016, the Democrats justified Donald Trump’s candidacy with their cultural and economic condescension. If Mr. Bloomberg and his climate friends have their way, they could do it again.
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