GOOD

Red Governors, Green Jobs: Could 2013 be the Turning Point for Clean Energy?

If it seems like you can’t open a newspaper anymore without reading about some terrible, weather-related calamity, don’t worry. It’s not all...

If it seems like you can’t open a newspaper anymore without reading about some terrible, weather-related calamity, don’t worry. It’s not all in your head. Between reports that 2012 was the hottest year in U.S. history (and somehow still one of the coldest worldwide in the 21st century), photos of a lightless post-Sandy lower Manhattan, and a heat wave that killed 32 senior citizens in Sao Paulo, Brazil, it is getting harder and harder for citizens, lawmakers, and businesses to ignore the impact of an ever-warming planet. And while companies large and small have begun to embrace sustainability as part of their business model, it seems like there is always a fight to enact legislation to protect the environment.


But despite the rhetoric during the national election (see, for instance, Mitt Romney’s statement that climate science “does not dictate a particular policy response” or his energy plan that doesn't even address clean energy sources like wind and solar), clean technology is not the partisan issue it was framed to be. In fact, some of our country’s most well known Republican politicians are also the most vocal supporters of green energy. Below are three totally red, but still super green, governors who are working towards creating a viable, sustainable, clean energy future.

Rick Perry, Texas.

He may publicly disavow global warming science, but former Republican presidential contender Rick Perry’s support for wind power, biorefineries, and nuclear energy helped create Texas’s more than 144,000 green jobsthat’s more than any other states besides New York and California. Under Perry’s leadership, the state has already met the renewable energy targets it set for 2025. Other Texas lawmakers see the urgency to be environmentally conscious as well. After enduring a devastating drought, the state legislature has built bipartisan support to revamp the state’s water infrastructure to handle a booming population and a lagging water supply.

Sam Brownback, Kansas.

He might have made himself a conservative darling in the 2008 presidential election, but as Governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback has tirelessly supported the wind industry, whether by penning Op-Eds touting wind energy’s growth opportunities, addressing the WINDPOWER 2012 Conference, or urging Congress to extend the wind-energy tax credit during the fiscal cliff talks. And his efforts have certainly paid off: last year Kansas saw more wind farm construction than any other state, adding 1,000 megawatts of capacity (enough to power 300,000+ homes), and creating more than 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Bobby Jindal, Louisiana.

Another Republican star (and potential 2016 presidential candidate), Bobby Jindal has made himself a true friend of clean energy technology. Under his leadership the Louisiana Workforce Commission predicted a surge in green jobs over the next decade, with the growth far outperforming other industries (13.8 percent in green jobs compared to 8 percent overall). “Green fever” has spread beyond the governor’s office. Jindal has welcomed a range of clean energy jobs, from manufacturing wind turbines with Blade Dynamics in Michoud, Louisiana to producing biomass pellets made from sustainably managed forests with Drax Biomass in Baton Rouge.

So will we see our country’s red states turn green in 2013? The greenest states are undoubtedly still also the bluest—with California, Oregon, and Massachusetts rounding out the top three, according to clean-tech research and advisory firm Clean Edge’s 2012 State Clean Energy Index. But the tides may be turning. Ron Pernick, Managing Director of Clean Edge and co-author of Clean Tech Nation: How the U.S. Can Lead in the New Global Economy, considers the strong Republican support for extending the wind industry Production Tax Credit—which Mitt Romney wanted to eliminate—a good sign. “If you’ve got Karl Rove calling for the extension, you know there are a whole bunch of [Republican] governors who care about it too,” he says.

Image (cc) flickr user cliving

Articles
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet