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Why not first look for ways to reduce fossil fuel impact before ditching them?

We Americans are renowned worldwide for our ingenuity and resourcefulness. When we encounter challenges, we find ways to overcome them.

That makes proposals by several Democratic candidates for president quite puzzling. Where, pray tell, is the can-do American spirit?

Five of the candidates — Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, along with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro — this week released proposals for dealing with climate change.

All five call for drastic reductions or outright elimination of fossil fuels. Warren, D-Mass., wants to eliminate vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, by 2030. By 2035, all electricity would be generated by solar, wind and other “renewable” methods, she says.

All five, as well as other Democratic candidates for president, want to phase out fossil fuels. To judge by initial reports on their proposals, only Buttigieg sees any future for them. He wants more investment in carbon-capture technology to allow continued use of some fossil fuels.

Of course, there are hefty price tags, ranging up to the $10 trillion Castro wants to spend during an unspecified period of time.

And where would the money come from? Partly from penalties paid by users of fossil fuels, such as the tens of millions of Americans who rely on electricity from coal-fired power plants. No doubt motorists would be prodded toward electric vehicles by incentives for their purchase — covered by penalties paid for using gasoline or diesel cars and trucks.

With the exception of Buttigieg, none of the candidates has room for coal, oil and natural gas. They want fossil fuels gone, and the sooner, the better.

Never mind the enormous cost to consumers in higher utility and transportation costs. Never mind the gigantic disadvantage their plans would be to the U.S. economy.

Ours has become a throwaway society, it has been observed. But throwing away relatively inexpensive, abundant, versatile sources of energy such as coal, oil and natural gas simply because they are no longer the fashion makes no sense.

That is what most of the Democratic candidates for president advocate.

Instead, we ought to be putting that good old American know-how to work finding ways to benefit from fossil fuels without harming the environment. Failure to at least try that is, in effect, throwing up our hands and surrendering. That is contrary to our character as a people.

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