I hate subjecting readers to pain. But if you read this blog regularly, you’ve probably put your head in a vise more than a few times.
It’s time to get that vise out once again because Media Matters has just put together a compilation of the greatest hits (read: biggest failures) in Fox News “coverage” of the renewable energy industry. I challenge you to get through the whole thing.
Meanwhile, as these pundits sit in their high-chairs and blabber on without any understanding of what they’re talking about, entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies all around the world are implementing innovative ways to reduce energy use and transform our energy system. Any journalist who’s talked to these business leaders understands that it’s one of the most important wealth-creation opportunities (and moral obligations) in history.
I’d love to say it makes me happy to know how foolish these pundits will look in retrospect. But we’re talking about the stability of the world’s climate here, not a sporting match.
Here’s some debunking by Media Matters:
By contrast, 77% of Americans believe that “the U.S. needs to be a clean energy technology leader and it should invest in the research and domestic manufacturing of wind, solar, and energy efficiency technologies,” according to a recent poll by the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute.
The clean energy sector is small but growing rapidly, according to a study by the Brookings Institution, which found that U.S. renewable energy jobs grew at an average annual rate of 11.1 percent between 2003 and 2010. By comparison, the overall economy grew by 4.2 percent annually.
A 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that the “hidden costs” of energy produced by burning fossil fuels, including the impact on public health, amount to $120 billion per year. If these costs were factored in to the cost of energy, coal-fired electricity would cost an additional 3.2 cents per kWh and gasoline would cost .30-.40 cents more per gallon. These numbers would be even greater if they included the impact of climate change, and other environmental consequences of pollution.
Nevertheless, fossil fuel interests protest any new pollution limits – even those that are long overdue and widely considered achievable. And Fox has been a consistent ally in this effort, routinely spreading fear and misinformation about the impact of clean air rules on energy costs and electric reliability.
Fox also perpetuates the false narrative that the Obama administration has stifled domestic oil production. In reality, the number of crude oil rigs in currently in operation is the highest on record. U.S. oil production has risen during each year of the Obama administration, despite the massive Gulf oil spill, and the Energy Information Administration projects that it will continue to increase in 2012. And the hydraulic fracturing techniques that led to the natural gas boom have yet to come under meaningful federal oversight.
The Brookings report stated that China has successfully deployed clean energy technologies because the country has articulated “a comprehensive and long-term state clean energy build out policy that sends clear signals to investors.”
A Deutsche Bank report also stresses the importance of a clear policy framework, contrasting countries like Germany and China, which have built “transparency, longevity and certainty” into their policy strategies, with the United States, which exhibits “climate policy inertia” resulting in “a patchwork of inconsistent state policies.” The report states: “The net effect is that while Congress stumbles, the US stands to fall behind.”