Ky. Sen. Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the Republican Party, won big in yesterday’s elections. In large measure it’s been the Democrats who have pushed for things like renewable energy and electric cars, with the Republicans fighting these ideas tooth and nail. The Republican stance is two-fold, first they’re on record of wanting to destroy Obama’s Presidency in any way they can even if it means grievously hurting the country, and second they seem bought-off-paid-for by the Coal/Oil Industry and intent on doing whatever the fossil fuel industry wants them to do.
Today, McConnell gave a speech in Louisville Kentucky talking about his plans as Senator and as presumed Majority Leader of the Senate. His re-election as Senator, now that Republicans will hold a majority in the Senate, makes him an almost shoe-in for the role of Senate Majority Leader, putting him in the top tier of the U.S. Government. That speech isn’t just any ol’ Senator talking about his plans, this is the top-ranking Republican elected official talking about the direction he’s going to steer the Republican Party.
The tone of the speech was conciliatory towards President Obama, and showed an interest in partisan cooperation. Coming as it did from the man who vowed Obama would be a one-term President, with the Republican Party doing all it could to destroy anything Obama tried to do, that was refreshing. Maybe the future really will turn out that way, that the Republicans will put aside their hatred of anything that Obama does or said. That’s not what I’m here to talk about.
Among all the nicey nicey words said by McConnell, he said some things about “Energy Policy” that make it clear the Republicans will redouble their efforts to ensure fossil fuels remain the primary form of “Energy” that we have access to.
Remember that McConnell is from a coal state – Kentucky. I lived in that state for nearly 20 years and remember McConnell as a leading politician in Jefferson County, where Louisville is located. I also remember on the television machine the most common Public Service Announcement was an advertisement saying “Coal: Kentucky’s Ace In The Hole”.
McConnell clearly said the Obama Administrations efforts to undermine Coal consumption in the U.S. is “bad for the economy” and he’ll act to undermine those efforts.
He described the Obama Presidency as having not done anything serious “on the energy front” in that Congress has not seen an “energy bill” in over seven years. Uh.. a lot depends on how you define “Energy”. McConnell made it clear he’ll push for Keystone XL pipeline approval, encourage other “domestic energy” production, and said “We need to embrace the energy revolution that’s going on in our country and promote it. It’s hugely advantageous, not only in the area of energy independence, but employment.”
When he says “Energy Bill” or “energy revolution” this isn’t talking about the renewable energy revolution where wind and solar power prices are falling rapidly, and within a few short years should be at price parity with fossil fuels. No.. he’s not talking about anything wonderful like that.
The revolution he speaks of is Fracking, the Oil Boom underway in the Bakken and the Natural Gas boom underway in other shale deposits around the country. He’s speaking of reinvigorating the Coal Industry. In another section of the speech he called for tax reform legislation, saying there’s a desperate need to further reduce taxes on corporations.
Does “Energy” always have to mean “Fossil Fuels”?
Continued Fossil Fuel production and consumption is leading us, our planet, humanity, into dangerous territory of climate change and other negative environmental effects. We simply cannot continue Business As Usual with fossil fuel consumption – the UN IPCC released a report the other day on climate change, saying that we (all of humanity) must eliminate fossil fuel consumption by 2100. We can’t wait until 2099 and then pull an all-nighter, we have to start now and keep making efforts over the intervening years to eliminate fossil fuels.
Therefore we have a battle ahead of us. The Republicans (and others) will keep on keeping on with the idea that fossil fuel consumption is good for the economy, is not a problem with the climate or other environmental issues, and that keeping “the economy” rolling is of overriding importance.
Another result of the election is that Sen. Inhofe and his insane denial of climate change will be in charge of the Senate Environment Committee.
We who care about the future of humanity must keep on with our agenda, of making it clear fossil fuel consumption is a death trap.
We can’t trust that technology alone will “save” us. There’s plenty of clean energy technology right now, on the shelves, already designed, ready to be deployed, that would make a huge difference in climate and the environment. The problem is the willingness to do so.
What’s needed is sociological change in that enough people must recognize the danger, and must recognize technological solutions are already available, and have the willingness to adopt those solutions.
If the Republicans succeed at gutting the clean energy policies already in place it will set us back considerably.
Conservatives ought to love renewable energy technology. Fossil fuels, in addition to being a death trap, are a huge economic problem for the U.S. in particular. Despite that fracking boom and resurgence of domestic oil and natural gas production, the U.S. is still highly highly highly dependent on foreign fossil fuels. That dependency leaves us in a bad national energy security situation, and a bad economic situation of shipping zillions of dollars overseas to buy oil. Conservatives ought to hate that fact.
Another thing Conservatives ought to love about renewable energy is that widespread deployment would mean Conserving the environment. Conservatives ought to love Conservation, that is.
Fossil fuel consumption is a death trap.
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