1. This is a good excuse to finally try to articulate what I think about the politics of fracking. (I got tired of people saying nice things about my geothermal article and want to resume getting yelled at.) https://twitter.com/thenation/status/1318965276893941761
2. The obvious implication of the poll results described in the article, IMO, is that public opinion on fracking, as on most issues, is quite *shallow*. Most people are happy to take cues from elites. "Oh, we hate fracking? Fine. Oh, but we don't wanna ban it? Fine."
3. On the other hand, there are a few constituencies, in PA & other fracking states, that DO care passionately about fracking. Enviros are passionately against, but they're voting D regardless. Then there are frack workers & communities that have jobs/money on the line.
4. Those latter, passionately pro (or at least anti-banning) fracking folk are a minority, even within PA, but they are more likely to be from important swing constituencies, which matters in an election that will be whisker close. Their votes are needed more.
5. You might worry, "you're turning all these other people against fracking just to appeal to a small constituency!" But remember, for the vast majority of people, opinion on this is shallow & easily swayed. It can be swayed back. It's not a constraint on reg/leg action.
6. The substantive truth is A) Biden's not going to ban fracking, because, among other things, he *can't* -- the president has no such power; however B) a combo of Biden's regs on frack pollution, ban of frack on public land, & pro-clean energy policies *will kill fracking*.
7. They won't totally eliminate it -- the industry will try to pivot to exports & plastics -- but realistically, for an industry already on the ropes, it's gonna hasten the demise.
8. So, when he's talking to audiences that might contain intensely pro-fracking constituencies, Biden emphasizes A. To greens, he emphasizes B. This is known in the business as "trying to get elected," or more succinctly, politics.
9. My general take is that America's ongoing viability as a democracy is on the line & if Biden needed to strangle puppies on stage to get elected, I will hand him the rope. I do not undrstand how anyone could think otherwise. That said, it's just not the case ...
10. ... that the way he's spinning this will in any way constrain what he can or will do in office. Nor will shallow public opinion. What determines his actions in office will be circumstances, events, personnel, etc. No one will remember any of this campaign junk.
11. I guess to summarize, let the man say whatever the F he needs to say to get elected. Quit trying to force him to say things his team has determined will hurt his chances. None of it matters except the winning. If he wins, then the real fighting over fracking can start. </fin>
Oh, one other thought: I still don't feel like I have a full understanding of the dynamics whereby climate activists came to be so much more fixated on fracking than on coal, which is worse on every conceivable metric and still very much around.
You can follow @drvolts.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: