Why Conservatives Love Climate Change: The recent hurricanes that hit Houston and Florida evoke memories of Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago. After that tragedy the political debate shifted from ‘Is climate change real?’ to ‘What do we do?’ Today, Republicans are viewed as climate-deniers who obstruct clean energy. But post-Katrina, Republicans in a bipartisan fashion advanced policy and ideas that aggressively battled climate change. President Bush signed three of the four bills from this era, ultimately resulting in over $100 billion in clean energy. These programs were successful. Over the past 10 years, clean energy has grown and gotten cheaper around the world. U.S. solar power grew from less than 1 to 44 GW, while costs have plummeted. Electric cars dints exist a decade ago. The world economy was in the hands of OPEC and Vladimir Putin. Today, long-range EVs from Tesla, GM and nearly every carmaker are rolling off the lines. Batteries have fallen 80 percent in cost. LED lightbulbs, the smart grid, wind power are all growing. But this is not the bipartisan story it should have been. After Obama won, Republicans took a hard stance against clean energy and these bipartisan programs. They advanced three false talking points. Myth number 1: The foolish government wasted your taxpayer money on failures like Solyndra. Myth number 2: Bureaucrats hand-picked their pet technologies. Myth number 3: The government’s role is exclusively in the lab. In truth, government, business and technologists came together to invest in 7,000 projects spanning a wide range of technologies including renewables, advanced vehicles, efficiency, the smart grid, nuclear, and even coal. Overall, the technologies got cheaper and better and proved there’s a role for government beyond the lab. But the politics changed, and the bipartisan programs either slowed or shut down.
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