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Behind the Wing-Nut Attacks on Clean Energy

Pete Altman

Posted July 30, 2009 in Solving Global Warming

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National Journal recently reported that Dick Armey's Freedomworks, Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families and the civil-rights-opposing John Birch Society staged e-mail campaigns to defeat the climate change bill, and are now using the issue to build thier email lists.

Ideological organizations like these have now eclipsed the US Chamber of Commerce as the noisiest voices opposing clean energy.

So what is driving the wing-nut agendas? Equal parts extreme ideology and dirty-energy funding:

Thank goodness that some of our elected are not going snowed under by this dirty-energy, ideologically-driven blitz.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats are "going on the offensive to blunt Republican attacks over their support for the controversial cap-and-trade bill that passed the House late last month. 'I'm ready to take it head-on,' said Rep John Boccieri (D-Ohio), a freshman member who last year became the first Democrat to win the seat in his district in almost 20 years."

Congressman Boccieri is not alone.   At the state level, governors are talking about the benefits of more green jobs and taking action on climate change:

Three Democratic governors told a Senate panel Tuesday that efforts to curb global warming and spur the development of cleaner sources of energy have created jobs and new businesses in their states, a trend that could expand nationwide if Congress passes federal legislation. 

'If there is a lesson...for other states and the nation as a whole, it is that good energy policy and climate policy can energize the economy and help create good-paying private sector jobs,' said Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr. ... To illustrate his point, Ritter described the transformation of Pueblo, Colo., from an old steel town to a center of wind turbine production.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said her state has already created in two years nearly twice the 25,000 new 'green' jobs it set as a goal to reach by 2020. Those workers include architects who design energy-efficient buildings, venture capitalists investing in new technology, and farmers growing the next generation of biofuels, she said.

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said the state has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and is looking to construct wind farms offshore. He told the panel national leadership was needed to create the energy future the country needs.

Even the some news outlets have stood up to the right-wing lies about green jobs and clean energy:

WDBJ-TV, a Roanoke (Virginia) television station, will not air a National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) ad attacking freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), citing factual inaccuracies, according to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee communications director Jen Crider. A source familiar with the station's decision confirmed Crider's account; WDBJ general manager Jeff Marks confirmed that the ad would not run, but declined to say why.

Why are the right-wing lies falling short of their marks?  It could be that Americans and their elected officials are fed up with energy companies creating and then paying the bill for one bogus "tea bagger"-style backlash after another.

It may also be because most Americans want action on green jobs and clean energy.

On June 26, 2009, the Pew Environment Group reported:  "Our new polling clearly demonstrates that Americans of all political stripes and from all regions of the country unmistakably support action on global warming. They believe that addressing global warming will mean more jobs, less pollution and a healthier economy that is more reliant upon sustainable forms of energy:

  • A supermajority, 78%, want the U.S. to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide that cause global warming. By a ratio of 4-to-1, voters support the core principles of the energy plan being considered by the U.S. Congress;
  • 72% favor the two-part plan to reduce emissions and require use of clean energy sources. Overall, two thirds, 65%, believe efforts to reduce global warming will either help create new jobs or have no effect on jobs. 

So dirty energy-driven and ideological efforts might produce a lot of hot air, but they aren't coming close to blowing away Americans' support for clean energy.

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