Renewable Energy Enjoys Broad Support Across All Political Groups

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The US government is shoveling money out the door to stabilize the economy faster than a sailor on 24-hour shore leave. The money is supposed to be going to small businesses struggling to keep their employees working during the pandemic crisis, but of course, the big boys are bellying up to the feeding trough and gorging themselves on federal dollars as much as they can, leaving little left over for those most in need.

clean renewable energy
Image credit: Clean Energy Forward via YouTube

These are, of course, the same folks who stamp their feet and shake their fists at people who benefit from Social Security, Medicare, Head Start, school lunches, and other programs. They rail constantly about “takers” and “socialism,” but if there are taxpayer dollars on offer, they have no compunction about shoving their way to the head of the line no matter who gets trampled in the process. Dollars for big business, good. Dollars for people, bad. Doesn’t get much more hypocritical than that.

The Trump maladministration is deeply concerned about the oil and gas companies who are getting hammered by a combination of low energy prices and low energy demand. Why, some of them may be forced to declare bankruptcy if the government doesn’t pull their chestnuts out of the fire. Despicable Mitch McConnell may think it’s OK for states to go bankrupt, but he trembles at the thought of an oil or gas company going belly up.

It would be fair to say McConnell and his colleagues consider any money that goes to help out renewable energy companies a waste of precious resources. Yet a recent survey conducted by The Conversation finds broad support for renewables by both Democrats and Republicans, although for very different reasons.

Of course, a lot depends on  how you define “renewables.” Nuclear gets lumped in because it creates no carbon emissions. It has plenty of other negatives attached to it but at least there is no smokestack pumping toxins into the atmosphere at a nuclear generator. Many include biofuels as well, arguing that their carbon emissions are somehow “greener” than carbon emissions from petroleum and natural gas.

Putting all concerns about definitions aside, the survey found that a majority of all respondents — Democrats, moderates, and Republicans — supported an energy mix in which at least 77% of overall energy came from low-carbon energy sources, including renewable fuels and nuclear power, by 2050. In general, Democrats support renewables because it’s a good thing not to destroy the planet just so everyone can chat online. Republicans support renewables because they are cheaper than other forms of energy, which means we don’t need heavy-handed mandates and incentives from the big bad government. Just let market forces work their magic.

“Realizing the shared vision of an energy system dominated by renewable energy will mean reconciling partisan differences over how to achieve that future. While there is no single rationale that will convince all Americans to support a transition to low-carbon energy sources, our results are encouraging because we find consensus on the U.S. energy future – everyone agrees that it should be green,” The Conversation concludes.

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions bills itself as a conservative advocacy group that promotes free market-based strategies to address the issue of a warming planet. Among its other activities, it pressed the Trump maladministration not to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords. It has now created a new organization called Clean Energy Forward that is pushing to include renewable energy projects in the economic stimulus packages being considered by Congress.

It stresses that the clean energy sector (including nuclear) is a major creator of new jobs, with 40% of all jobs in the energy sector now held by clean energy workers. In all, it says clean energy employs 3.3 million Americans. Its plea for federal assistance is buttressed by its projection that wind turbine technicians and solar energy installers will be two of the jobs most in demand by 2028.

In a new video, it claims clean energy investments will help stabilize the economy while contributing to a more sustainable environment. It also points out that the United States needs to be competitive in the global energy market, something that is not likely to happen if clean energy initiatives are not included in the stimulus packages being considered by Congress.

The Trump maladministration cares not one whit what people think about renewables. It has been captured from top to bottom by the fossil fuel industry, a situation that will make America a pariah nation going forward. It is vital that renewable energy be included in all stimulus packages if for no other reason than clean energy costs less. There’s no reason to cling to the outdated technologies of the past, especially when they have caused so much damage to the environment. It might be nice if Clean Energy Forward didn’t feature a pipeline on its website, but in the game of politics, renewable energy needs all the friends it can get.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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