Has environmental energy policy become conservative policy? I bet you’re thinking: of course this blogger will say yes to that question – she writes an environmental blog; she has an agenda. And well, you’re right on both counts: I DO have an agenda, and yes, environmentally-sound energy policy IS conservative policy.
Economists, consumer groups and government agencies continue to publish reports that confirm: policies that support renewable energy create jobs and opportunities for small businesses, enhance consumer choice, support innovation and energy independence, and they reduce health costs and clean-up costs from spills and storms. Reminder, the thing that swung conservative votes to Bill Clinton in ‘92: it’s the economy, stupid.
According the U.S. Energy Department, wind-farm developers and suppliers employed more than 100,000 workers by the end of last year, and the solar industry created more than 200,000 jobs in the past decade, supporting more than 9,000 mostly small businesses. Coal mining, on the other hand, supported 66,000 jobs at the beginning of 2016.
A recent report on financial losses caused by climate change found that effects from climate change could cut the value of the world’s financial assets by $2.5 trillion at minimum, with the worst-case scenario estimating $24 trillion in asset damages. The report suggested that dislocation, droughts, floods, heatwaves, storms etc., will slow global economic growth and damage performance of stocks and bonds. Moreover, the study found that if action is taken to combat climate change (including leaving remaining oil and gas reserves underground), financial losses would be reduced overall; of course, fossil fuel companies would lose value. But, U.S. politicians are opting to support the $2.5 – $24 trillion global loss, rather than force Exxon to inform its stakeholders that it’s time to get out of the kitchen (because, you know, we can’t stand the heat – sorry, couldn’t resist!).
According to American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan, the top ten congressional districts supporting wind energy are in conservative (red) states, meaning folks in these states voted against the policies being peddled by their elected officials and their president.
So, did Trump and other republicans towing the so-called party-line miss a memo? If not, why are conservative politicians supporting policies that do NOT support three primary pieces of their party’s platform: jobs, consumer choice and energy independence? I’d venture to say they’re all well-versed in the facts; it’s the lobby industry that’s lagging.
Many, if not most of our elected officials are voting not with their conscience, but based on debts owed to special interests, who are represented by lobbyists. Without Bernie in the Oval Office, and with a Supreme Court nominee who thinks corporations are people, this is not likely to change any time soon. So, it’s time for the alternative energy lobbyists to up their game!
According to OpenSecrets.org, the 720 reported lobbies for oil and gas corporations contributed $117, 516,956 in campaign financing to our elected officials in 2016. Compare that to contributions totaling just $20,350,490 from ALL alternative energy sectors combined for the same year.
Our elected officials are puppets; they’re just waiting for the puppet-masters to get the new script. I never thought I’d say this, but, we need more lobbyists!
(But, of course, the alternative energy companies need more money to pay the lobbyists, so buy solar, buy wind!)