Whoppers about “green energy”

Seldom in the history of politics has “truth” been a steadfast policy, but that does not excuse Mitt Romney’s debate performance last Wednesday, which has been dubbed “a field day for fact-checkers” by National Public Radio for the sheer number and depth of extreme distortions he spun for the American people.

Jeremy Bloom of Red, Green and Blue went after one particularly egregious lie told by Romney in the debate, wherein he accused President Obama of wasting money investing in “green energy”. The main lie within Romney’s long, bafflingly inaccurate argument against clean energy was when Romney asserted that half of the companies that received government loans have gone out of business. It’s not only not 50%, it’s about 1%, as reported by the Washington Post. Romney was off by a mere 49%.

The lie was so baldfaced, you wonder how Romney could possibly have thought that fact-checkers wouldn’t skewer him. It might have been a calculated strategy to go for the home run while he had America’s attention, and hope that the fact-checkers wouldn’t get very much press in the days that followed the debate. After all, this is the campaign that said it would not be beholden to the truth, saying, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a panel organized by ABC News.

Regardless, this particular whopper about green energy is particularly telling–as we reported earlier, Romney would replace Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Steven Chu (Obama’s Energy Secretary), with Harold Hamm, an oil executive. It’s also no secret Romney is drawing big money from the oil industry.

By “misspeaking” about the $90 billion in loan guarantees given to finance clean energy startups in the U.S. under the Obama Administration (2/3 of which has *yet* to be spent, by the way), Romney shows that he’s not good at math. But the financial side of the political game is supposed to be Romney’s edge. If he can’t get his numbers right, it’s not because he is not good at math.

Written by Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride.


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