Clean Energy Funding: Truth vs. Truthiness

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Former Governor and republican presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney knows how to rile up his base.  “Do you know how much money he (President Obama) invested in so-called green energy companies?” asked Romney of his carefully selected crowd of supporters at a campaign speech in New Hampshire. “Ninety billion. Ninety billion!”

Oh, how could he?  How could he “waste” more than 7/10 of 1% of government expenditures over the last 3.5 years on a growing industry with the potential to employ hundreds of thousands of workers and slow the negative effects of climate change?  For shame, Mr. President, for shame!!

Yet, as the New York Times points out, even this depiction of Obama’s despicable re-allocation of a miniscule portion of the federal budget has some…truthiness…to it.  For example, $9 billion allocated to the Department of Energy remains unspent.  And lest we forget, some of the stimulus funding actually supported initiatives signed into law by that radical environmentalist, George W. Bush.

And then there’s that staggering allotment of $29 billion for “energy efficiency”.  Romney and Ryan ask the simple question:  what possible purpose is served by using less of something both expensive AND hazardous to our health?  Energy efficiency is the single most cost-effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and has been estimated to generate annual returns ranging from an extremely healthy 17% to a staggering 32% in cost savings.

By far the most scandalous part of the whole sordid affair is the bankruptcy of Solyndra, who received nearly 6/10 of 1% of the $90 billion as a loan guarantee for their innovative solar array design company.  As you know, success has nothing to do with taking risk, and the bankruptcy of a single company clearly demonstrates the frivolity of the entire industry as a whole (I’m looking at you, PG&E, US Airways, Trump Entertainment, Lehman Brothers…).  Clearly, we need to immediately dismantle the airline, entertainment, financial, and conventional energy industries…

In a particularly painful scene of clean energy brain-twisting, Republicans hate government spending, except on the military, EXCEPT if that military spending is for investing in cleaner fuels for military vehicles.

Exhausting, promoting less government spending while increasing spending as long as its not used for investing in anything that might save money and lives over the long-term…

Good luck, republicans!

Photo courtesy of Adam Glanzman.

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