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NY Times: Renewable Energy Faring Well in States, Not So Well in Congress

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The Sunday New York Times has an excellent editorial which we encourage everyone to read. The main points are as follows:

  • "Renewable energy is faring well across the country, thanks partly to aggressive state governments and timely — but now imperiled — subsidies."
  • "Clean energy sources would do even better if the Republicans would end their hostility to any form of energy other than fossil fuels"
  • Much of the progress on renewable energy at the state level has been bipartisan.
  • "The Defense Department, historically an incubator of energy technologies, has made efforts to 'green' the military, allocating nearly $1.4 billion this fiscal year for energy efficiency, solar and wind power on military bases and development of advanced biofuels."
  • Unfortunately, there's "bad news, mostly emanating from Congress," specifically that "a range of important subsidies expire this year and next, federal support for renewables will plummet from $44 billion in 2009 to $11 billion in 2014."
  • The opposition to clean energy appears to stem from two factors: 1) "an unwillingness to do anything that could challenge the dominance of fossil fuels"; and 2) "budgetary concerns."

In the end, the bottom line is that there has been, and continues to be, a massive bias by Congress towards fossil fuels, and against clean energy. For instance, between 2002 and 2008, "71 percent of federal subsidies went to oil, natural gas and coal, while only 12 percent went to renewables." Meanwhile, solar jobs are growing at a rapid rate in the United States, and renewables in general were the fastest-growing U.S. industry between 2007 and 2011, and as we also noted recently, “green goods and services” actually employ several times more people (3.1 million) than the oil and gas industry (743,825-1.12 million jobs), according to U.S. government statistics. That Congress could consider doing anything to mess up this great American success story is mind boggling, and utterly unacceptable.