‘THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR INACTION’…. In his Oval Office address in June, President Obama tried, once again, to remind Americans that our approach to energy policy, and our failure to position ourselves for international competition, is costing us dearly. “The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America,” he said.
It’s hard to overstate how true this is. In June, a New Jersey company held the license to technology that “makes solar panels cheaper, more efficient and less toxic to the environment.” The company’s chief executive, an American and retired Marine, decided he had no choice but to move his operation to China, which reached out to the company. “The Chinese have a major, aggressive movement to increase the technology in the photovoltaic area,” Chuck Provini said. “They picked up the phone and called us and said, ‘What do you do?’”
The result: an American company’s technology will be commercialized overseas. The economic boost and the hundreds of new jobs will be in China, not here. As ABC News reported, we’re not only lagging behind China, but Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain all have a national clean energy policy, and are all taking clean-energy investments more seriously than the United States.
And it’s getting worse. Deutsche Bank has making billions of dollars in energy-policy investments. Guess where the money’s going? Western Europe and China. Guess why:
Amid so much political uncertainty in the United States, Parker said Deutsche Bank will focus its “green” investment dollars more and more on opportunities in China and Western Europe, where it sees governments providing a more positive environment.
“They’re asleep at the wheel on climate change, asleep at the wheel on job growth, asleep at the wheel on this industrial revolution taking place in the energy industry,” [Deutsche Bank’s Kevin] Parker said of Washington’s inability to seal a climate-change program and other alternative energy incentives into place.
Every policy challenge need not be seen through a partisan lens, but this one should — America is faltering on energy because the Republican Party demands it. The U.S. is falling behind international competitors because the GOP thinks “drill, baby, drill” is a substantive idea, climate science is a Marxist plot, cap-and-trade (an idea Republicans came up with) is radical and dangerous, and a national clean energy policy is wholly unnecessary.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily matter — the GOP is in the minority — but our political system, for the first time in American history, requires super-majorities just to have a vote. The result is legislative paralysis, and a clean-energy revolution that is leaving the United States behind.
Misguided Republican nonsense is costing the nation dearly, and after the midterm, and expected GOP gains, this is only going to get worse.