For the past decade or so, the corporate world has been pushing heavily to go green. FedEx, for instance, has been blanketing the roofs of their shipping centers and other properties with solar panels, as have numerous other businesses in other sectors; pharmaceutical companies, like Allergan, and tech companies, like Adobe, have also been leading the charge in adopting green energy.
These companies love green energy, not only because it bolsters their marketing efforts and allows them to pitch themselves as environmentally-friendly, but because going green saves these companies tremendous amounts of money annually. Whether they’re doing it to save our planet or to convince eco-conscious shoppers to trust their brands, there’s one motivation here that simply can’t be denied: green energy puts green in your wallet, too.
You’d imagine, then, that self-touted “fiscal conservatives” would be huge fans of green energy and green technology in general, right? As people who claim to want to cut government spending and reduce government waste, supporting green technology should be a no-brainer. Of course, you probably already know that fiscal conservatives tend to be the last people outside of big oil or big coal employees who would ever promote green energy policies.
The US military alone spent over $20 billion on energy costs in 2012, while the federal government uses nearly one quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy each year. That probably sounds like a lot… that’s because it is.
If the US government and State governments used solar, wind, and hydroelectric power for all government buildings, and transitioned into using electric vehicles instead of gasoline and diesel vehicles, the initial costs would be heavy, but the long-term savings would be astronomical. The US could save tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars annually. That should appease spending-conscious Republicans and environmentally-conscious Democrats alike, right?
But that’s not at all what fiscal conservatives focus on. They aren’t at all interested in practical, realistic budget cuts that could improve the quality of life for every American. Instead, fiscal conservatives deny climate change entirely while railing against helping America’s poor, promoting ideas that realistically couldn’t save even one-tenth as much money as going green could.
Why are fiscal conservatives so keen on exploratory oil drilling and coal mining that destroys the environment and puts workers at risk? Why are they trying to claim natural gas is “green” or “safe” when hydrofracking makes tap water flammable and causes earthquakes? Why do they push for nuclear power, even after so many massive nuclear plant disasters around the globe?
I know it would be outlandish for a typical fiscal conservative to admit that humans are causing climate change, and that climate change is a very serious dilemma that is putting billions of humans around the globe at risk. But surely they can relate to the immense savings green energy could bring about, couldn’t they? Why aren’t they drawn to the prospect of cutting billions upon billions of dollars from the federal government, all while creating countless jobs? Why isn’t there a major bipartisan effort underway to make our government go green?
I wish that were a rhetorical question, but it really isn’t. America needs green energy, and there’s no sensible excuse for any American to argue to the contrary, shy of those who work in the filthy oil, coal, and natural gas industries, anyway. Green energy saves money, Republicans. Lots of money. So you can either get onboard with adopting green energy policy, or you can surrender this notion that you’re fiscally conservative. You can’t be both.