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Friday, September 16, 2016

David Roberts of Vox, on Exploiting "Clean Energy (whatever that is)" Rifts

Consider this article to be a comment under David's article which has no comment field.

Here's an idea, how about using the term non-fossil fuel energy instead of clean energy?

I can see where this might cause readers to realize you're including nuclear, and yes, I can see why antinuclear bloggers in sheep's clothing might want to avoid doing that. At no point in this article does Roberts say that nuclear is included in his definition of clean energy.

...that he identified as champions of clean energy ... have broken with their party on a few climate or clean energy votes ... the House guarantees inaction on climate and clean energy ... incline the party against climate and clean energy ... it seems to me that clean energy solutions stand or fall together ... no form of clean energy will ever get the support it needs ... part of a growing number of purple and red states with clean energy hubs ... Here is a rift within the party on the subject of clean energy ... Helpfully, the anti–clean energy side is represented by Trump ... while the clean energy side is represented by a longtime, rock-ribbed Republican ... and tying clean energy opposition tightly to Donald Trump ... Conservative opinions on clean energy are still mutable ... this is an opportunity to visibly signal that clean energy support is perfectly consonant ... backs powerful incumbents against clean energy challengers ... institutional stance on climate and clean energy... make mildly supportive noises about clean energy.

It's not easy having an intelligent discussion when words being used have no clear definition. Because readers all have different definitions in their heads, they all walk away with a different interpretation of what has been said, like with David's sixteen instances of the use of the term "clean energy." Now, admittedly, everybody uses that term, so there's safety in numbers. However, it's obvious when a strong nuclear advocate uses it that they are including nuclear. When David uses it, renewable enthusiasts assume he's excluding nuclear, nuclear enthusiasts suspect he may be including it ...but maybe not.

In this article the only definition of clean energy spelled out was by the Republicans in a link Roberts provided: clean coal (whatever that is), natural gas, nuclear, and hydro. So, if you have the Republican definition in mind when you see Roberts use the term "clean energy," consider how that definition would make much of what he says nonsensical.

Note, I'll be using [ ] brackets to insert my own pithy comments inside of quotes.

While briefly touching on the conservative clean energy agenda, Roberts noted:

Insofar as green [whatever that means] lefties overemphasize wind and solar [and are also antinuclear] this [the Conservative Clean Energy Agenda] seems like the same mistake in reverse.

And he's right, the conservative clean energy definition makes no mention of wind and solar, which is every bit as disingenuous as the antinuclear position of "green lefties."

Donald Trump is, notoriously, opposed to wind power. He really seems to hate it, on a personal level.

Hating a power source on a personal level is something Roberts can relate to. A Roberts quote from way back in 2006:

"Nuclear is the "least worst" option that everyone holds their nose to support. It feels wrong, because it is wrong, and a culture that remembered back when it used to have some fucking balls and ambition would throw itself behind what it knows is right ... . What we’re talking about is creating another huge, centralized, politically connected energy cartel forever seeking to increase its take from the public teat. We need more of those?"

Roberts continues:

Helpfully, the anti–clean energy [whatever that is] side is represented by Trump, a figure loathed by many Republicans, while the clean energy [whatever that is] side is represented by a longtime, rock-ribbed Republican. This is one of those crossroads moments when leaders are split and party faithful are genuinely uncertain of how they’re supposed to break.

Similarly, back when antinuclear Bernie was still in the running, a brief discussion flared on Twitter with some of the party faithful wondering if we could vote for an antinuclear president.

Conservative opinions on clean energy [whatever that is] are still mutable; this is an opportunity to visibly signal that clean energy support is perfectly consonant with conservative identity. to find a way to visibly signal that clean nuclear energy support is perfectly consonant with the green lefty identity.

But grassroots conservative groups want the independence that comes with generating their own electricity [talking about conservative support of solar subsidies in Florida].

It has always amused me to watch anti-handout types happily accept government handouts whenever the opportunity arises, be it a $7,500 tax credit for their $80,000 Tesla, or solar net-metering. Energy subsidies are meant to be a temporary government assist to test the marketability of ideas and sometimes they work. Most people who buy solar panels don't realize that net metering is a subsidy, and like all true energy subsidies, it will go away some day.

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