Lies, damned lies and politicians
Lies, damned lies and politicians
Anne B. Butterfield, October 7, 2012 (Boulder Daily Camera)
From the sparring at the first presidential debate, it's pretty sure that energy has become a divisive as well as a competitive issue. Both President Obama and Governor Romney want to be the triumphal producer of energy.
However Romney likes to smear climate change concerns and clean energy investments, as if all of them go like Solyndra, where a half a billion in loan guarantees went down with the company, as he crowed that 50 percent of clean energy investments supported by the stimulus bill had gone belly up. This was dubbed the "lie of the night" by Michael Grunwald, author of a book about the stimulus bill, citing that maybe one percent of government backed clean energy ventures failed.
Try getting that rate of safety in your investing. According to a new poll by Hart for the solar industry, voters seem to know that loan guarantees are a steadfast service of government and highly safe, as the Solyndra debacle was deemed unimportant by respondents. Ninety-two percent of registered voters found it important that solar be more widespread, with 70 percent believing that the federal government should be doing more to promote it with incentives (with 71 percent of swing voters feeling this way).
And, sigh, with tens of thousands of wind power jobs on the chopping block already, Mitt Romney opposes the renewal of the Production Tax Credit. This, even as red states need it renewed, putting him in the dog house with GOP politicians such as Senator Chuck Grassely of Iowa whose state produces 20 percent of its power from wind, and Governor Brownback of Kansas who has made vigorous pleas for the extension of the credit, due to expire this at the end of this year.
Didn't Romney get the memo? Republican governors are making hay with clean energy such as Haley Barbour and Chris Christie. To Mississippi, Barbour brought four solar sector firms to Mississippi along with two in biofuels plus a clean tech car venture with China. Christie made New Jersey a leading solar market in the nation, this year contending with California for first place.
But Romney and other high priests of the GOP act as though the only real energy is the type that can be burned, and somehow, Obama has nibbled at this hemlock by constantly touting his success with fracking and his openness to the XL pipeline.
A truly strange specter is that pipeline; it lets our heartland be used as a byway for tar sands products (which sink rather than float when spilled), so they can go straight to international markets. We get the downsides and none of the upsides -- even as the pipeline could increase gasoline prices in the Midwest, which would lose its existing access to tar sands products.
One plausible upside of the pipeline being routed through the United States (where it might be built quickly, as would not happen in the alternative route through western Canada) is that it could strengthen the hand of President Obama in his suite of sanctions against Iran, including a worldwide boycott of Iranian oil. Our recent frack-mania allows our nation to resume oil production levels not seen for 15 years and thus strengthens our hand. Three weeks ago Iran admitted having problems selling oil due to U.S. and European sanctions; now the nation's currency is in free fall.
One certainly hopes that tar sands will thrive mightily as a "psy-ops" against Iran and not as a chemical weapon against our climate, as Dr. James Hansen has sternly warned.
Never bounded by his prior convictions about the climate, Romney crows that he would authorize the pipeline on day one and build it himself if need be (as if he in his wingtips could "John Wayne" his way around an oil field). It's all such a sham he-man rodeo.
And no one mentioned the climate -- in spite of hundreds of thousands of petition signatures demanding the topic. Neither candidate pushed clean energy as the vote winner that poll after poll have shown it to be. Authors for DBL Investors in their study of green energy exclaim, "We all need to understand that green jobs are not the idle dreaming of a small group of partisan activists and insiders, but a source of livelihood for millions, literally in all parts of the country." The light shines in the darkness but the darkness of our politics has not understood it. Tweet