John Edwards' plan calls for "Setting a goal of freezing electricity demand in the next decade and calling for 25 percent of the nation's electricity to be from renewable energy sources."
How does he want to "freeze demand"? Does he have some magical economic tool which can do that?
According to the article, apparently John Edwards believes that it is possible to cap energy usage, "limit demand", force the use of renewable energy, raise taxes, force conservation...and benefit the economy.
How would Edwards "freeze demand" for electricity? He must be smarter than I am, because there is only one way I can think of to limit demand for something: raise its price.
Make electricity more expensive, and you will limit demand for it. Make it expensive enough and you will "freeze" demand. But that will not benefit the economy, because money spent on paying for electricity will not be available for buying other things. This will produce a net negative effect on the economy, because some electicity use is non-volitional.
He wants to set a cap on greenhouse emissions in 2010, and then reduce emissions by 15% of that level by 2020. Barring new technology (like fusion, which isn't going to be commercially viable for 50 years, we are told) that'll be flatly impossible without choking the economy. Kyoto is already doing that to Europe; they can't meet the requirements and they're killing their economy trying.
He also supports raising the Corporate Average Fuel Economy limit to 40 MPG. That basically means any car which doesn't get 40 MPG must have an added "gas guzzler" tax.
Earth to Edwards: There are very few cars on the road which actually get 40 MPG, and you wouldn't be caught dead driving any of them, sir. I've seen pictures of your mansion, Mr. "Two Americas".
As a matter of fact, with current technology, you can have any two of inexpensive, efficient, and comfortable. Saying, "Manufacturers will simply have to build more hybrids!" won't fix the problem. First off, hybrids are very expensive, especially considering that the real-world gains in fuel economy over a conventional car are not really exceptional. (My 1995 Ford Escort LX gets 36 MPG and is rated at 42; a 2007 Toyota Prius gets 45 and is rated at 55.) Second, the manufacture of hybrid cars is a horrendous source of pollution, particularly since most hybrids use Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries, and those batteries have a service life of about 100,000 miles.
Most cars average an EPA fuel economy rating of around 28-32 MPG. Raising the requirement to 40 MPG would eliminate all trucks and SUVs, and nearly all of the most popular passenger cars. Foreign automakers would benefit the most from this, which--again--would not help the American economy one whit.
It may be possible that Edwards' "new energy economy" would produce "1,000,000 jobs"--but it would cost many times that number of jobs to implement. It would not be good for the American economy, and it would do nothing but hurt the average American citizen.
But John Edwards doesn't have to worry about that; he's rich enough to go on living the way he does, regardless of how much energy costs.