The worldwide battle to get away from the coal and oil industries has been underway for some time. Countries are fighting to gain a share of the new green manufacturing industries with millions of jobs and trillions of dollars on the line. Country after country is executing plans to grab a share of this new industry. But not us. Oil-funded conservatives are trying to keep us from even fighting in that war.
Oil And Coal Are The Problem
Look around you, the climate is changing, the seas are rising, terrible storms are hitting, huge fires are burning, terrible droughts are causing crop failure, and plants, animals and insects are migrating to new areas. (In DC right now you might not be able to turn on a light because of that huge, freak storm you just had, so maybe wait and look around you after the sun comes up.) We have to stop burning oil and coal, and find a way to get that carbon back out of the air.
Aside from the terrible effects of climate change, our country has a trade deficit that is partly about buying oil, and those purchases send money to places that use that money against our country’s interests.
Other countries get all of this. But our country is in the grip of an oil-and-coal-funded propaganda machine that tries to keep us from getting it.
Green Job Opportunities
We are in a worldwide economic competition to build the post-oil economy. This is a competition for millions of jobs and trillions of dollars. Every country wants a share of the design and manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, biofuels, electric cars, high-speed rail, urban and suburban light rail, advanced batteries, smart-grid power transmission systems, and all of the rest. And there is also the fight for the construction, installation and maintenance contracts for all of these systems.
Many countries are fully engaged, and have national plans to capture a share of this new industry. They compete with us as countries, and see us as a country to compete with even if we do not. Because we refuse to act as a country, we send our companies out to compete with countries, and as big as our companies are they cannot compete with the resources of engaged countries.
Conservatives Demand Surrender
Our top competitor is China. Shots have been fired; China is helping their companies compete, and this has cut solar prices. So a few American companies are going under. In response, America’s oil-backed conservatives are demanding immediate surrender. In fact, they don’t just demand surrender, they are giving aid and comfort, even actively helping the other side, running down America’s efforts to fight for a share of the new green economy.
This huge effort by conservatives to keep our country out of the world competition for a share of the new green economy kind of makes you wonder about the secrecy surrounding all of the money that funds the conservative movement, its think tanks, media outlets, and now even funds political campaigns. We don’t even know where the hundreds of millions funding these horrible, negative ads comes from! Does any of it come from our economic competitors? Shouldn’t we at least be able to find out who (or where) is funding the conservative propaganda and political machine that is running down our own government and demanding we surrender the new green economy to China?
Solyndra And Chevy Volt
Conservatives celebrated the fall of Solyndra, declaring that its demise meant that green energy in general is a “bad bet,” or losing technology. They also have been trying to convince people not to purchase hybrids and new technologies like the Chevy Volt. The next time you hear someone of FOX running down our country’s green energy efforts, knocking the Chevy Volt or denying climate change, think abougt this: Fox’s second-largest shareholder is a billionaire Saudi oil prince. Fox might just have an agenda beyond backing conservatives here. Speaking of conservatives, though, keep in mind that the Koch brothers == oil.
Abound Solar Goes Under
Last week solar panel manufacturer Abound Solar filed for bankruptcy. NY Times reports in “A 2nd U.S.-Supported Maker of Solar Panels Will Close,”
Republicans, including Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, seized on Solyndra’s failure as evidence that the Obama administration was wasting taxpayer money by supporting clean energy companies.
… The company said it could have been profitable if it had had large-scale manufacturing under way, but “aggressive pricing actions from Chinese solar panel companies have made it very difficult for an early stage start-up company like Abound to scale in current market conditions.”
Abound Solar was unable to compete with low solar prices resulting from Chinese subsidies for their own solar manufacturers. (Add to that, China’s currency manipulation which keeps the prices of everything made there up to 30% lower, even bore their subsidies, trade barriers, etc.) Federal officials froze their credit line last year, after the Solyndra failure, so Abound was unable to draw on credit to scale its manufacturing to a level that could compete with subsidized Chinese imports.
Conservatives immediately stepped up their drumbeat of demands that we surrender to China. Here are a few examples of conservatives blaming America first, calling America’s efforts a failure, or generally running down efforts to fight for a share of the new green economy:
Hot Air: Yet another DOE-backed solar panel company bites the dust
Good grief. I feel like these ailing Department of Energy-backed loan guarantees are so laughably many that they’re barely even worth noting anymore, but you’re darn tootin’ I’ll continue to do so as long as President Obama keeps acting like it’s the federal government’s divine right to pick and choose winners in the energy market on the taxpayers’ dime.
… This article tries to spin the situation to suggest that the company’s failure is the result of too much unfair competition and global oversupply, and we should therefore direct our ire at China. No — just no. This is the fault of the Obama administration. Maybe if we had just left the decision to develop solar (or not!) up to the private sector, we would’ve quickly figured out that investing in solar energy was a bad idea.
Weekly Standard: Video: Obama Touted $400 Million Loan to Another Solar Company Now Declaring Bankruptcy
Washington Moon Times: Yet another government-backed solar company turns out the lights
News of the company’s demise prompted early criticism from Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and chairman of the House subcommittee on regulatory affairs, stimulus oversight and government spending.
In a statement, Mr. Jordan, among other Republicans, said Abound’s collapse shows that “our government is not good at picking winners and losers in the marketplace but has certainly proved it is good at wasting taxpayer dollars.”
National Legal and Policy Center: Yet Another DOE Green Failure as Abound Solar Goes Bankrupt
And now with failures like Solyndra and Abound Solar, in addition to several others, these crony redistributors leave the political fallout to others and just move on to their next “green” scheme. Unfortunately we won’t find out if the ultimate political price is paid until November, but in the meantime DOE continues with its renewable energy “investments,” which will undoubtedly lead to more pain for taxpayers.
Abound had borrowed about $70 million against these loan guarantees. That would have bought a lot of health care for poor people, but the Obama Administration blew it on solar panel junk instead.
Heritage Foundation: Another Stimulus Backed ‘Green Energy’ Company Goes Bankrupt
Another stimulus-backed green energy company has filed for bankruptcy, further fueling criticism of Energy Department programs that backed highly-risky investments on the taxpayer dime.
Like Solyndra and a number of other green energy investments made under this administration, Abound Solar had a very poor credit rating, but enjoyed a wealth of political connections.
So … should we respond as a country to this economic attack on us by other countries who see us as a country and compete with us as a country? Or should we surrender the new green economy to others?
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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