As Paul Ryan, the Vice-Presidential candidate enters this political universe as a roaring avalanche, surprisingly very few environmental issues have surfaced above this election circus. With a vacuum on facts, partisan story telling has been nonsensical, taking us all to the dark polluted tunnel of misrepresentation. Where does this tunnel take us in the quest for clean energy and green economy? Even to a casual observer, it is not too great an exaggeration to say that Ryan’s environmental policies show technological pessimism and legislative orthodoxy: early signs of retarding global competiveness, weakening energy security and showing a lack of responsibility for environmental consequences.
Since 2011, voting pattern of Paul Ryan on a number of government’s environment and energy related bills are ample even to scare away the herds of Serengeti. These patterns show acceptance of draconian policies, oppose clean energy subsidies, doubt human ingenuity, deny research and development and curtail technological innovation. In sum, his environmental policies lack to strike a strategic balance of finite and limited resources. Ryan opposes non-renewable.
An observation of historical record of accomplishment of environmental policies espoused by Ryan in 2011 shows that:
- His understanding of energy security is lopsided. He is a skeptic of technological innovation and scientific research. Paul Ryan voted in favor of Amendment 192 to eliminate the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency rendering to weaken global position of the United States on issues of climate change.
- He undermines energy security and diplomacy. Ryan voted in favor of Amendment 204 continuing resolution to eliminate special advisory positions to the White House for green jobs, enterprise and innovation on climate change, illustrating scientific consensus as a misnomer. Meanwhile, India, China and Europe are taking over the climate change business.
- He doubts that carbon dioxide lies at the center of climate change debate and a first step forward in seeking solution to a problem. He voted in favor of H.R. 910 to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s Limits on Greenhouse Pollution, to block EPA from regulating greenhouse gas. However, the fact remains that total emission of carbon dioxide during the past five decades has risen by 50 percent, leading as a long-term cause of global warming.
- His notion on mitigation and adaptation measures in embracing climate change is convoluted. The VP candidate voted to Eliminate Light-Bulb Efficiency Standards, as domestic lighting industry and households /corporate users continue to thrive with economic and environmental benefits, savings, reduction in waste and carbon pollution.
- He does not believe that prevention is better than cure. Paul Ryan voted in favor of an amendment to the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill to block the Department of Agriculture from implementing its Climate Protection Plan, which would have provided useful information and analysis on adaptation to global warming. Meanwhile our sea level will continue to rise, engulfing swaths of land and habitat.
- He does not offer substantive environmental policies and his current vision lacks coherent and comprehensive strategy. He voted to expedite the approval of the construction and operation of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which is not entirely a bad move if integrated within a strategic transitioning mix of varied renewable sources. Sadly, in fiscal year 2013 alone, his budget proposal calls for $3 billion cut in funding for investments in clean energy research, development and commercialization.
While Ryan roars through this election season, the Savannahs weep.
We are looking for game-changers for the green economy. A lack of political vision with a comprehensive energy policy, transitioning to clean energy and assaulting renewable, solar and wind will make countries like China and India much stronger. The last four years, renewable electricity generation nationally increased by 73 percent, positioning the United States in solar and wind sectors. The U. S. produces bulk of the hardware for upstream and downstream uses – innovative models, equipment and machinery. Slashing off funding as proposed by Ryan’s budget will lead our environmental policies to stagnate moving towards a regressive path. Who will keep the momentum going to capitalize on green progress already accrued?