I picked up this article from The Daily Green that outlines the situation regarding tax credits for renewable energy. Now, I should say, I agree with much of what is said in the article, including the four main reasons to pass the credits: High oil prices, high U.S. unemployment, the melting Arctic, and Russia’s overwhelming of Georgia. I have a bone to pick with The Daily Green regarding this article.
I disagree with that last point on a technicality because it zeros in on a territorial dispute in the headline and ties it into the crisis too much (IMHO — yes, I know, it’s humble for a reason), when the larger point, the one that is somewhat made in the paragraph in the article, is that petrodictatorships flourish in the current environment. That should have been the main point with perhaps Russia’s influence and ability to ignore the international community as one example of many such countries awash in oil money. They basically did that, but their bolding of that statement (and ignoring the other facts surrounding that debacle) is reason enough for me to point this out.
But that is not my main beef with this article; rather, the way in which this information is framed is problematic. On this first point, I’m rather quibbling over what is a main point and what is a detail, mentioning it only because it is significant to me. Let me explain my main problem with this article.
The main paragraph that troubles me reads thus:
Congress reconvenes today to discuss, among other things, energy policy. All they’ll really be doing is posturing for their respective candidates, however, and that means that the renewable energy tax credits — which both parties and their candidates support (emphasis mine) — may well be held hostage to this battle: Republicans entrenched in support of offshore drilling, and Democrats entrenched in support of taxing oil company profits to fund more renewable energy projects.
Sounds fair, but if you know what I know, meaning, if you have followed this issue, you know that John McCain, the Republican candidate for President, and his Republican colleagues, have passed by the opportunity to extend these valuable tax credits that help to make the renewable energy industry compete on a more equal playing field. After all, we allow huge tax breaks on the oil industry (not to mention dirty nuclear energy — yes, dirty!).
From a Thomas Friedman column,
Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.
Yet, in this article, the author says that both parties and their candidates suppor the tax incentives for renewable energy. Friedman notes that Democratic Presidential Nominee, Barack Obama, also missed some votes on this issue, but they were times when he was out campaigning, and he knows that they don’t have the votes on this issue — because of Republicans and John McCain stonewalling.
We cannot act as if both parties are in favor of this when their actions have not shown that to be the case. If McCain were truly in favor, he would have left his Senate office to go vote. And if he were out campaigning, he would fly his wife’s private jet, of which he has rather unfettered use, back to Washington to cast an important vote in favor of these tax credits. I am angered that such gross misrepresentations persist. The Republicans are behind the oil industry all the way and that includes John McCain — Mr. Drill Here, Drill Now.
Maybe McCain should follow his own advice, “Tell them to come back and get to work!” Senator, your “Drill here! Drill now!” mantra is old hat. Get back to work and go vote on this measure. It’s time to get past all of that partisanship you say you are past and work toward a green energy future. And Mr. Obama should get back to Washington every time and cast a symbolic vote every time, even if they know they don’t have enough votes to pass the measure. No excuses — our country needs real leadership.
Offshore drilling cannot and will not address America’s energy or climate crises now, in three years, five years, or ten. We have about 3% of the world’s reserves of oil and use about 25%. Go ahead and argue with that reality. Feel the wind and sun on your face and realize the solution is smacking you in the face every time you go outside. Wind and solar are the energy of now. Today. Blow here! Shine now!
The Daily Green, thanks for highlighting this important issue. But we have to call out those who are dragging their feet forward — or, in the Republicans’ case on this issue, pulling the country down into an almost dry oil well — and tell it like it is. Don’t be afraid to call Regressives by name. John McCain is a Regressive. The Republicans are not even close to being on equal footing with Democrats on what is best for the country regarding this issue. We gain nothing by throwing them a bone — and that’s the bone I’ve picked with you!