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No wonder the race is close: Even Apollo Alliance is suckered by McCain’s lies and doubletalk

By Joe Romm  

"No wonder the race is close: Even Apollo Alliance is suckered by McCain’s lies and doubletalk"

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The Rove/Bush/McCain/Palin strategy of simply lying and lying and lying works. As Mark Twain said 140 years ago, “The most outrageous lies that can be invented will find believers if a man only tells them with all his might.” And while McCain is not a great speaker, he did tell his 10 convention-night energy lies with all his might.

apollo-alliance-logo-web.gifYou might think that people actually working on the clean energy transition like the Apollo Alliance could not possibly think McCain’s blather about clean energy represented a reversal from years of very strong opposition (see “Anti-wind McCain“).

McCain is a eco-Luddite who said late last year, “The truly clean technologies don’t work” and who found a VP/soulmate in a global-warming denier, Big Oil shill, and fellow eco-Luddite (see “Palin is an earmark expert, NOT energy expert“). And while the best thing about the Alliance is that they get energy efficiency, one of the worst things about McCain is that he doesn’t (see “McCain is Cheney’s third term!” and “McCain’s cynical efficiency lies“).

So I was stunned when an “Apollo Weekly Update” titled “With McCain Speech Clean Energy Consensus Gets Clearer” appeared in my mailbox. It’s a fawning review of McCain’s speech — with a credulous take on a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing that rivals Little Red Riding Hood:

The Republican National Convention concluded last night with presidential nominee John McCain declaring these priorities for the nation’s economic, energy, and climate crisis:

“We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we’ll drill them now. We will build more nuclear power plants. We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.”

He added: “We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet. It’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we have faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead. This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity; jobs that will be there when your children enter the work force.”

Though some of the details and nuances differ — with offshore drilling and nuclear power quite substantially – it also is true that the core of the energy strategies proposed by both major presidential candidates this year are steadfastly consistent. Both … view scaling up wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other renewable energy sources as a path to solving climate change.

No, no, a gazillion times, no. If this is what a relatively sophisticated group like the Apollo Alliance not only believes but actually broadcasts to the world, no wonder the presidential race is as close as it is.

That said, I have long had mixed feelings about the Apollo Alliance. They are doing a very good job promoting the need for “a clean energy revolution in America” and getting key groups like labor unions involved. But their original Ten-Point plan was a bit too technology-centric, included “plan for a hydrogen future” [not!] as one of the 10 points, glossed over climate change, and thus downplayed (0r ignored) key regulatory solutions. Their very recently announced New Apollo Program, however, addresses many of the problems, and specifically endorses a “carbon emission cap and invest program.”

But this recent mailing suggests that they don’t understand where their bread is going to be buttered — and maybe that they don’t even understand who wants to take both their bread and butter away from them forever.

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10 Responses to No wonder the race is close: Even Apollo Alliance is suckered by McCain’s lies and doubletalk

  1. Russ says:

    Though some of the details and nuances differ — with offshore drilling and nuclear power quite substantially – it also is true that the core of the energy strategies proposed by both major presidential candidates this year are steadfastly consistent. Both … view scaling up wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other renewable energy sources as a path to solving climate change.

    Yes – for Mccain, drilling and especially nukes are not “details”, but the core, while he not only disparages renewables but has been in full backpedal mode regarding climate change.

    As for Obama, I hope it’s the other way around – that he’s just paying lip service to drilling, as a political detail, while he really intends to tackle climate change and the energy crises with efficiency and renewables.

    I don’t know much about the Apollo Alliance, except that in S&N’s 2004 Death of Environmentalism they heavily implied a close relationship with and endorsement from the Alliance, but then one of its directors denied any such relationship.

  2. Greg N says:

    Off topic, but there’s an interesting piece about the beginning of climate-denying in the UK Sunday Times today:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4690900.ece

  3. Rich says:

    In your post on Gov. Palin being an energy expert it was noted that she said that drilling would get us out of our problem. The context that follows had here saying:

    “We never would have thought oil would reach $140.”

    Many of the experts I have been listening to have been screaming this for years. So much for being an expert on oil let alone energy in general. Even the oil company CEOs admit that despite what Gov. Palin imagines peak oil is real. For example the Shell CEO said in January,

    “Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand.”

  4. john says:

    I’ve never been impressed with the Apollo crowd — distilled down, their message has been very similar to the S&N technology meme, with a little efficiency thrown in.

    This take on McCain’s energy positions is disturbingly similar to what I’m hearing on NPR, and in the print media.

    I have an abiding faith that Americans make the right choices when given the right information. We’ve never been presented with a crisis which demands action and sacrifice before obvious consequences appear as is the case with climate change, but I’ve clung to the hope that we would demonstrate collective wisdom in this challenge as well.

    No more.

    The plain fact is the media is failing us at a fundamental level about an issue which — quite literally — will define the nature of our future more than any other force ever has in the history of humanity.

    People are not getting the information they need to make informed decisions about energy policy and global warming and our nation and our world will suffer irrevocable and catastrophic consequences because of it.

  5. roger says:

    good post John.

    The media is such an essential part of the problem because: garbage in, garbage out. If we can’t get the truth to people (most people still get their info from the MSM) then it is unlikely they will make wise and difficult choices.

    The corruption in the mainstream media needs to be addressed and rectified before we can expect the truth to make more of a difference.

  6. Donald B says:

    It is clear that McCain will say anything and the MSM will just repeat it and NEVER question it. After the bullying they received from Palin, you would think it would get their dander up. If they finally get on the AGW bandwagon, it would be good, but they feel they are incompetent to educate the public (and, unfortunately, they are!). Not knowing the first thing about science, they just find someone to counter the real scientists and leave it to the unscientific public to judge. It will take some Climate organizations to go to the publishers of the papers and try to educate them to what they are doing with the future of this world.

    Note another real McCain zinger for inaccuracy! His statement that he would cut the $700 billion dollars in foreign aid to countries that don’t like us much. Since the TOTAL foreign aid is around $22.8 billion (2006) that should be a good trick! I wonder how Israel will like losing it’s share (1/3 of the annual foreign aid is split between Israel and Egypt). Maybe the MSM will take this one on.

  7. red says:

    Donald B: “Note another real McCain zinger for inaccuracy! His statement that he would cut the $700 billion dollars in foreign aid to countries that don’t like us much. Since the TOTAL foreign aid is around $22.8 billion (2006) that should be a good trick!”

    McCain said: “We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much.”

    He’s wasn’t talking about foreign aid, he was talking about buying foreign oil.

  8. Mark Shapiro says:

    Joe:

    For what it’s worth, Newsweek’s economist, Robert Samuelson, had the same problem in the Aug. 9 issue, claiming that the differences in the energy plans were minor, and not enough to differentiate the candidates! Seems like willful blindness on Samuelson’s part.

    Donald B. :

    The $700 Billion that McCain says he’ll save is what we spend on foreign oil, not foreign aid. You are right that it’s a zinger though — as Joe and every oil expert has said, drilling here and now just won’t come close. It’s a fantasy, and the MSM lets them get away with it. Incredibly, the only journalist to call them on it was Jon Stewart!
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=178663&title=Indecision-2008—To-Drill-or-Not-to-Drill

    Nobody connects the dots like Jon Stewart. Nobody.

  9. red says:

    As a “space” person, I find the name of the “New Apollo Program” and “Apollo Alliance” to be pretty lame. The Apollo Moon program was nothing whatsoever like what’s needed for energy or environmental policy. Apollo had some good side effects, like a generation of technical students inspired by the program (and, earlier, reacting to Sputnik), and a lot of useful robotic space technologies and businesses. However, Apollo was cancelled because of the high costs of the government program. The U.S. government manned space program has floundered since the Saturn V’s ended. Even today, a sustainable commercial manned space industry is mostly a hope hanging on a thread, ready to be cut with the slightest regulatory or NASA whim, or business downturn. This is not the model you want to follow with energy and environment policy.

    Now, if you want to create a new space policy with strong environmental and energy components, you might call it the “New Apollo Program” for Energy and Environment. It probably would involve more traditional NASA and NOAA robotic efforts like implementing the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences SSB on Earth Science and Applications, as well as solar system robotic probes and sun observations that complement the Earth environment observations. Improved sun-related observations would be essential because they affect not only Earth science but also power grids. The effort would also probably include R&D on more efficient space power generation and use systems (hoping for better space systems and terrestrial spin-offs), closed life support systems (recycling), and energy-related Earth observations (winds, geology, etc).

    For sustainability and cost-effectiveness, unlike the original Apollo program, there would be a predominant role in use of commercial space systems (hosted science payloads on commercial comsats, use of suborbital vehicles for observations, smallsats, etc). With the term “commercial space”, the idea is for the government to use commercial services that can also be used in non-government business – not government contracts.

    If you needed to include astronauts in the effort, they could accomplish a lot doing satellite services akin to the Hubble retrofits. New capabilities like satellite refueling and space tugs would allow a much more significant Earth observation infrastructure that would be a huge leap beyond what now provides the data used by places like GISS and NSIDC.

    Environmental data analysis would of course be well funded and non-political.

    Perhaps some small demos of solar power satellite techniques or lunar helium 3 extraction would be made, but at least now these are niche areas (like beaming or relaying power to military bases in hostile territory, or to disaster areas sites). They can’t contribute to solving national-level climate or energy problems without solving some big engineering and economic problems (like CATS – cheap access to space) first.

    For NASA’s part, of course a strong role in energy efficient aeronautics and environmental observations using planes would be a part of the effort.

    A “New Apollo” space program could contribute a lot to energy, environment, security and defense, transportation, health/medicine/biology, education, and telecommunications problems and opportunities, while also doing exploration. It could happen simply by changing the way NASA in particular spends its current budget away from the expensive Shuttle and new Ares rockets, and towards small satellites, suborbital rockets, using commercial services, using existing or new commercial rockets, and solving Earth-oriented problems with an eye towards commercializing these solutions. I don’t claim it would make wedge-scale contributions, but it could be useful to all of these areas.

  10. Beowolf says:

    RED,

    The Apollo Alliance was named in the spirit of our effort to go to the Moon and not to drag along the bloated bureaucracy that NASA has become. It is highlighting the idea that once this country decides to do something with resolve it does it. Just like the goal was to go to the Moon in a decade, we may only have a decade to change things as Al Gore states.