Why is Clean Energy so Politically Divisive in the US?

2

Frequent commenter Gary Tulie from the UK joins me in musing why the subject of clean energy is so politically divisive in the U.S. He offers the following:

I think it must only be in America that there is such an entrenched degree of animosity between the two camps. In Europe, it is not unusual for major traditional energy companies to also invest substantially in wind farms and other renewable energy opportunities. Why is this?

Mostly I would say it is because European energy companies are more technology-neutral in their approach and looking to be involved in whichever energy plays are good for their balance sheets regardless of any ideological preference or position.

As a secondary reason, European energy companies are responding to the expectations and demands of the marketplace where being involved in green technologies is good for the company’s image and standing in the community.

Finally, there are regulatory demands from the European Union for energy companies to reduce their carbon intensity and price signals however flawed driving them in this direction through their compulsory involvement in the carbon markets.

Excellent points, Gary. Thank you. And you’re absolutely right that, shamefully, we in the U.S. have not applied the social economic pressure that you have over there.

Here is another point to be considered: litigation, which, as you may know is absolutely huge, a veritable way of life, here in the U.S. I expect we’re getting close to the point in time when you’ll begin to see class-action law suits of biblical proportion aimed at reparations for the destruction done to human health and the natural environment by the obscenely wealthy purveyors of fossil fuels.

And what’s the first step to diffuse such litigation? Deny that there’s a problem.

The tobacco companies set the stage for this, artfully denying that smoking caused cancer – a position to which they held tenaciously for decades on end. I do not expect the fossil fuel industry to do anything at all with respect to dealing with the dangers of their wares – simply because they’ll be denying that such dangers exist – that is, of course, until this position becomes as untenable as denying the link between smoking and cancer.

Thanks again for your insights.

Share.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

2 Comments

  1. Wow, you are writing tongue in cheek I hope. I read the article hoping to hear something useful in the green energy discussion. Was I disappointed? You bettcha. Rail against the system is an interesting past time in college but here in the real world it is less useful. I will note that in US State that require energy companies to supply “green energy” it is being done as it is being done in Europe – under threat. Maybe our European cousins are more enlightened in expecting “green energy” but that is just the way it is. Maybe we should just follow their lead – oh wait – what is the percentage of atomic energy in France and Germany? Maybe we should follow the model of China which by all press releases is following a wonderful Green Energy model. Give me NYC air over the Chinesse stuff anyday. Just saying. Lou Gage

  2. Let’s face it people….the capitalism in this country is at the crimminal level…not the free market level….there is more anti-humanity activity going on in America than anywhere else on the planet….only terrorist groups pose more threat to humanity that the American companies who are involved in such filth as fracking, GMO foods, poisonous chemicals in our food and other ingested products like toothpaste…and of coiurse…the oil companies.

    So, what do we do? Nuttin honey…we voted in a president that knowingly allow all this to continue, and infact appointed people to make it worse…Obama, in january of 2012, appointed a top monsanto attorney to the board of the dept. of agriculture….that’s like appointing a wolf to guard the henhouse….what? are we crazy? Have we been lulled into complete submission? We, the American public….overrun by takers and lazy slobs, immigrants escaping hell hole countries like Mexico…are only out for one thing…what they can get…but someone also needs to help henny penny BAKE the bread….you see…even THAT simple little childhood story, is what is missing from our government’s thinking….everyone’s just out for what they can get, while playing the part of a stuffed shirt talking head….period….we could easily pay the entire amount of interest on the national debt, buy lowering the amount of money we use for foreign aid, military involvement in other people’s battles, and funds spent on people like immigrants….to the same level that the other countries in the UN spend…..which is most likely about 1/20th of what we do..which is absolutely 100% fair.why should we give away more than every other country? That’s just showing off and buying presteige….as Dr. Phil says:”And how’s that workin’ fer ya”? None of those issues are the business of a country in our terrible shape….but no, Obama, who thinks he’s so smart, chooses to cannibalize our country, it’s citizens, and our children’s future….the guy, like all our politicians, is WAY too stupid to have any say so in anything…

Join the Conversation