Policy 2004statemapredblueversion2

Published on May 27th, 2009 | by Scott Cooney

13

Hey Red States, Get With the Freaking Program!


Republicans are not just talking about slowing progress on clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate change, they’re doing it…by doing nothing about it.

I’m over it.  There’s a lot of phooey balooey about compromising, reaching across the aisle, Republicans and Democrats working together, a spirit of bipartisanship, a ‘new kind of politics’…

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I’m done.  Republicans have made it clear they don’t care.  Nope.  Not one iota. And they won’t compromise, even though they’re an ever-shrinking minority with no leadership, national vision, unified agenda, or interesting alternatives to Obama’s progressive agenda.  No way they’re going to let us wacko, socialist lefties have our way.  Ain’t gonna happen, Bubba.

We have to move on.  We don’t need the few dwindling hangers-on of Rush Limbaugh’s angry white man culture of hate, mistrust, and relentless pursuit of global environmental destruction.

“But wait, Scott,” you say, “we’ve worked so hard to get them to buy in, and now everyone’s paying attention to environmental issues.”  Phooey, I say.  It’s a ruse.  Let’s look at the facts.

When Bush needed allies in his desperate search to discredit climate change (arguing in his debate against Al Gore that there was not consensus in the scientific community on whether climate change was real), Exxon Mobil offered money (through an NGO front group) to scientists who would cast a shadow of a doubt on global climate change science.  Never mind that climate change is accepted by 99% of the world.  It was enough to delay action for 8 very costly years.

So the Mayors of left-leaning cities took it upon themselves.  The US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement has been signed on to by Mayors across the country.  This map shows the current participation by city.  Let’s see:  lots of cities in California, Oregon, Washington, the Northeast, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan…little or no participation in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota…what is this reminding me of?  Gosh, I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Let’s look at some more facts and maybe it’ll help me remember.

Ah.  Here’s another map of Regional climate change Initiatives.  They include the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the RGGI Observer, the Midwestern Regional GHG Reduction Accord (MRGHGRA), the MRGHGRA Observer, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), and the WCI Observer.  Looks like we have strong participation and accords in the Northeast, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Kansas…and no participation from North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, heck, the whole southeast and most of the middle of the country.  This also vaguely reminds me of another map…I, hmm…still can’t quite place it.  Maybe some more data and facts will help jog my memory.

How about states that are concerned about vehicle pollution in terms of greenhouse gases?  California took the lead and decided it wanted to regulate tailpipes of vehicles not just for smog, particulates, and other pollutants, but also of greenhouse gases.  This is truly groundbreaking, because there is no way for a car company to produce a gas-guzzler and get tax credits for it just because it’s a flex-fuel vehicle.  Did you know that thanks to our willingness to compromise with conservatives, our watered down clean air laws make it such that we’re using tax dollars to subsidize purchases of vehicles that get 20 miles per gallon, simply because they’re “hybrid”?  It’s true.  Here’s the map of states that are adopting this very progressive policy with California:

This is starting to look familiar.  I’m almost getting where I’ve seen this pattern before.  Let’s see, the Northeast, the west coast, Florida…and no participation from the middle of the country, Texas, the southeast.  *Note that this policy has since been adopted by the Obama Administration, making the policy moot, but reinforces the point that these progressive states are leading the nation forward.

What about renewable energy?  The mix of energy that we use in this country contains a paltry 3.1% clean, renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.), unless you count large hydro facilities, which brings the total up to 10%.  We can do better, right?  Last week, we compromised with conservatives in Congress, who weigh in with such a minority (somewhere between bean-pole and featherweight class) right now, and moved toward a national standard that would require a “whopping” 15% of our renewable energy to come from clean, renewable energy by 2025.  Sounds good, I guess, until you consider that we abandoned a much more ambitious 25% (the 25 by ’25 movement) so that conservatives would stop their belly-aching.  So, once again, with lack of federal movement on the subject, I guess it’s up to the states.  So which states have mandated Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)?  Let’s look at the map:

OK, now we’re talking.  First, let’s acknowledge that Texas has stopped talking about seceding from the nation long enough to get in the renewable energy game.  But wait, what’s this?  Texas’ RPS is not a statewide mandate of a certain percentage (for example, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oregon all have RPS’s above 20% by 2025) of their total power use, but is a meager goal of 5,880 MW of power by 2015?!  Well shucks.  For the state that consumes 12% of ALL THE POWER CONSUMED IN THE U.S., you’d think they’d want to be a little more aggressive than making less than 1% of their power clean and renewable.  I mean, this creates non-exportable jobs for a state that has incredible wind and solar resources.  You’d think they’d be all over that action.

But I digress.  So if you also remove Iowa (similarly wuss-ish mandate of 105 MW), and Utah, Virginia, and Missouri, all of whom have ‘voluntary’ RPS, what are we left with from this map?  Hmmm…west coast, northeast, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Hawaii, Colorado, New Mexico… with LITTLE OR NO PARTICIPATION FROM THE SOUTHEAST, ALASKA, OR THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY.

Oh, NOW I remember, these are all looking a lot like the electoral college maps I lamented in 04 and celebrated in 08. Here’s Barack Obama’s victory map in 2008:

And here’s George W. Bush’s victory map in 2004:

Global warming is real.  Climate change threatens our existence as we know it.  Peak oil is going to wreak havoc on world economies.  Global water shortages are a ginormous threat few people are even thinking about, and yet, here we are, with the same old Texas two-step.  Conservatives sticking to their guns, by gum.  Denying climate change.  Republican National Chair Michael Steele arguing that, in fact, our earth is cooling, not warming.  Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) truly believing that he outsmarted Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize Winning scientist.   Just this week, red state belle Georgia announced perhaps the stupidest use of  stimulus money intended for modernizing our energy infrastructure and curbing Greenhouse Gas emissions.  Red state Kansas regresses to the stone age, approving a new coal fired power plant as soon as their Democratic governor leaves to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Red state Utah regresses to the stone age, with a new governor who doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change, as soon as their progressive Republican governor Jon Huntsman goes to DC as another Obama appointee.

Thomas Friedman, in Hot, Flat and Crowded, noted that America is in a heap of trouble and needs to stop our obsession with being as ‘dumb as we wanna be’.  We simply can’t afford it.  But somehow, this high-brow, ivory tower, elitist, liberal argument isn’t resonating with the red states.  We need a new approach.  Let’s see, what would work?…

Ooh.  I’ve got it…

[Ahem.]

“Hey Red States!  What are you, wimps?  We pounded you in November and now you’re too much of a sore-loser to get on board and try to save the world that you’re screwing up for your children?  We’re crushing you in clean energy.  I mean, we practically invented green business to create a profit motive for environmental protection JUST TO GET YOU INVOLVED, because we figure that’s all you care about.   You stink!  Look at those maps up there.  You’re pathetic and weak.  You’re letting a bunch of left coast sissies whoop you?  I know spotted newts with stronger backbones and more comprehension for science than you all.  You make me sick.  Stop making excuses, be a freaking man, and get with the freaking PROGRAM, you turd-burgling cow-tippers!!”

[If this is what it takes, taunting you like a bully on a playground, to get your juvenile attention, than that is what I will do.]

*Disclaimer:  I have a lot of very intelligent Republican friends.  No, really, I do.  And for the most part, they are very frustrated with their party’s lack of action on issues that are no longer dividing the country.  In fact, several of them feel that unless they do get with the freaking program, their party stands a very good chance of being a tiny minority for a very long time.

Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business:  Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and would like to also mention that when interviewing several hundred green business owners for the research for his book, he asked each one their political orientation.  Not one right-winger.  Not one.

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About the Author

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. Find Scott on



13 Responses to Hey Red States, Get With the Freaking Program!

  1. nemov says:

    This probably worth my time since you seem to be in the religion of "consensus" even though over the past two years that has fallen apart. As a conservative there are a lot of environmental issues I care about; the theory of Global Warming isn't one of them. Even if you accept the theory, even the most liberal carbon reducing strategy doesn't prevent more "global warming" according to the "consensus models."

    What sense does it make to hurt economies around the world with restrictions that don't prevent global warming. Even if you accept global warming there's much economic evidence to suggest adapting would be cheaper than prevention. Personally since the there's a ten year trend of cooler weather, increasing ice caps, and doomsday predictions I would rather spend money on cleaner water.

  2. I am in Alabama and am ashamed to see all the maps. This much is true many of us down here are now looking at the profitable ways to get with the 'green' business but it's not because of the reality of how the rapid climate change is affecting our world. Am from Kenya and it pains me to know that the parts of the world that have least contributed to the rapid warming through greenhouse gas emissions suffer more that developed countries and their state of poverty does not warrant them a nice chunk of stimulus dollars to try and make a difference.

  3. boubekeur says:

    good article!!! yes the US needs to lead the way for a global environment policy!!!

  4. Shannon says:

    WoooHooo! You tell them! It's insane to think that there are still some people who don't believe in human-caused climate change! You don't have to be a brainiac to realize that we f***in up the earth. It's sad because it seems that the red states aren't budging on issues that should be important to everyone. I won't travel to any of these states until they do something about the environment and climate change!

  5. cposi says:

    "nemov" summed it up well, even if we spend the trillions of dollars that enviromentalist want we might effect the temperature by 0.3 degrees. I think our chances would be better place by hoping the sun calms down slightly. I was in a red state, until last November and I am all for being good stewards of this planet, but there is no reason make everyone homeless to do it!

  6. CW says:

    Yes, yes.. let's use the ignorance that they are not on board for 1 purely simple reason, and that is because they're republican. Nevermind their ideals and opinions and their own research as a person. Brand them all into 1 lump sum, and use their 'political party' affiliation as the basis to back your own, ignorant and highly subjective opinion. Disgusting at best. Being enviromentally savvy has nothing to do with politics.. the sooner you get that, the more proactive and helpful you can be. It always comes down to the individual's mindset. As for statistics, Bush wasn't the first person arguing the science of climate change. And the ascertion that climate change is accepted by 99% of the world, is as subjective as saying UFO's fly over our sky nightly in plain view for everyone to see. BTW, it wasn't climate change until this last year.. that's a new coined term.. up till a year ago, it was always "Global Warming".

  7. Carolyn says:

    Let's start walking 75% of the trips we take. Forget the hybrids and the electric cars. They all require massive natural resources to manufacture and recycle when we're done with them. Let's reclaim our neighborhoods and walk to the store, church, friends, etc. You might be surprised how far you can walk in the 30 minutes it takes you to drive the same distance with all the traffic jams. Burning petroleum in any form is about as timely as buggy whips…time to retire a failed product line. :-)

  8. Don T says:

    The attitude of the author and those like him is doing far more harm to the environmental cause than the attitude of those in the red states. It turns people off, more importantly, the unthinking support of every government program, so long as it is sold as "green", robs resources that really could make a difference to the environment if they would just be used efficiently. Most conservatives do support attacking environmental problems, but most government programs do far less to attack the environmental issues than they do to attack the pocketbook of the average american. Let's see, the Hydrogen Economy, Ethanol, paying paper mills 6 billion dollars to blend diesel they otherwise would not have burnt into their black liquor byproduct. All examples of ways the government succesfully pulled down our standard of living while generally harming the environment.

    Tha author assumes evil intentions in conservatives, thus justifying his blind hate, when in general most people, conservatives included have good intentions, just disagreements on the best way to go forward.

    Why don't we look at results instead of intentions in environmentalism. How about evil Bush, the year he took office, around 1% of new electrical generation capacity installed was renewable. The year he left office it was more than half. How can someone so envirnmentally evil get such good results, must be the devils work(which the author likely doesn't believe in unless you count Cheney). Or big, bad, red Texas, leaping to the forefront of wind power by huge margins. Maybe if we spread some of the red state policy to cape cod we could get windmills put in over the objections of environment heroes like the Kennedys.

  9. AnthonyIac says:

    Sometimes ignorance is not bliss. Know what I mean?

  10. Virginia isn't a red state anymore … but its leaders (both Democratic and Republican) haven't yet gotten wind (no pun intended) of this whole clean energy thing.

  11. Chris says:

    There is no true science proving Global warming.99% is this is what our computer models show. The earth goes through all types of cold and hot cycles. Look into Richard Lindzen one of the top atmospheric physicist in the world or you can watch one movie(put together by a dumb politician) and think you know it all.

  12. Scott Cooney says:

    I appreciate all the feedback on the article, thanks to all who have contributed so far. The point of the article was not to be derisive to the right, but to point out that political affiliation seems to be strongly correlated with ignorance, inaction, and disrespect for the rest of the world. These attitudes, in general, may sum up the Republican party…or they may not. James Watt wasn't the first to tell alarmists over the depleting ozone layer to just wear more sunscreen, but he was the Secretary of the Interior, appointed by Ronald Reagan, and was responsible for the stewardship of all natural resources. He was also one of the growing number of right wing nutjobs that believe in the end of days. If those people dominate your party, than yes, let's destroy that party. I do believe in building consensus, but when people like Bush call themselves uniters not dividers, and when people like Spencer Abraham are appointed to be Secretary of Energy when they've gone on record saying they want to dismantle that exact Department, well, all I can say is, "You started it."

    You don't like the fact that you're behind the curve? You don't like the fact that climate change is real and we're causing it, and it's really screwing up everything?

    Go F&%K yourself. Get with the freaking program and stop bellyaching about how we can't do this that or the other.

    We can, we are and we will convert our economy to clean and green. With or without you.

    You're on the wrong side of history and your position is indefensible. So I say again, get with the FREAKING PROGRAM!

  13. JB says:

    Seems to me that you are the one who is ignorant and disrespectful. Like all liberals, you preach your side like its fact and have no respect if others have differing opinions (especially if they are conservative). People like you are ruining our country and causing ideological divides rather than fostering compromise. You completely ignored every conservative response here and instead used foul language and nasty tones to tell us how "stupid" we are. Hmmmmm….

    I'm all for being "green." But did you ever consider that other countries (namely CHINA and INDIA) create more polution in a month than the U.S. does in an entire year???!!! Why don't you go over to that communist country and try to preach your political rhetoric to them! See what kind of response you get. Feel lucky that you can express your opinions here, however erroneous they may be, and stop dogging on Republicans because they are not the ones to blame for climate change – we all are. And on that note, if climate change is such an impending doom, why hasn't Obama created any kind of tax incentives for people to invent new technology or expand on new ones? He's aware of the issue…right? I bet you didn't know that he actually suspended tax incentives for wind farms indefinitely. Don't you understand that going green costs billions of dollars. States don't have that money just hanging around. They are trying to just keep the state rolling, especially in this financial climate.

    Anyway, I'm so done here. I shouldn't have even wasted my time typing this because I know you're not going to listen to anything I say and will probably just write something about how stupid and ignorant I am. You have actually confirmed my belief that all liberals are crazy quacks who preach of compromise, but don't actually want it. You just want everyone to think like you. :)

    P.S. Did you drive your car to work today? POLLUTER!!

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