There’s something deceptively appealing about ultimatums, the black-and-white totality of a “Just Say No” or “Keep it in the Ground” campaign.
But despite their simplistic appeal, every parent of a teenager will tell you ultimatums rarely work unless the proper supports are in place. Studies show former first lady Nancy Reagan’s zero-tolerance anti-drug campaign failed in part because teens lacked the social skills to stand up to peer pressure; instead, the incarcerations of young people, especially poor, minority young people, skyrocketed.
And the math shows the United States gets 40 percent of all its electricity generation and 21 percent of all of its energy from coal. Just saying no to coal and natural gas ignores the realities that new technologies have made processing coal today much cleaner, that natural gas is a much cleaner fuel than coal, and when compared to renewables, both are much cheaper, can reliably produce electricity 24/7, and can be transmitted almost universally in the United States on existing infrastructure.
Then, there’s that little issue of folks expecting the lights, air conditioning, heat and ignition to work when they flip a switch or turn a key.