Which Republican Candidates Could Become Pawns In The Last Great Carbon Fuel Gambit?


Conflict (Chess II) Image & caption credits:Flickr, Cristian V.

'Gambit' gets used diffusely. A Gambit is a chess opening in which a player sacrifices a pawn, with the hope of achieving a resulting advantageous position. So a political analogy is what I intend.

With renewable energy approaching the crossover point - a place from which it could successfully compete in electricity markets - carbon-based fuel suppliers needed a gambit to hold onto their markets. They found one in the Republican Party. Sacrificial lambs may soon have to be found, however, with the risk of a series of extreme weather events revealing which would-be emperors have no clothes.Here's why.
Executives at major coal, gas, and oil producers realize that climate change is a growing danger to society - possibly even to their existing operations. Extreme weather events seen all over the world over have their attention, too.

Solidarity at risk.
Getting every single Republican presidential candidate to step into full science fiction mode, including several total flip-flops getting on stage, was an impressively carried out operation. As a result, carbon fuel suppliers have successfully circled the wagons around market share...for now.

This total solidarity on climate denial is the capstone of a decades-long project: reaching a pre-election zenith with Tea Party appropriate theatrics. There emerges, however, the possibility of business and campaign donor reputation risk rising out of the hyperbole. Suppose, for example, a cascade of extreme weather events presents during campaign season, making the summer's anti-science rhetoric look just wrong? (Calling storm damage a "fluke" can only work for so long.)

The cautious path.
So, it might be a good time to tone things down. To drop the personal attacks on climate scientists and environmentalists for while. This is more in line with the style I'm talking about.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, in the story titled Corbett quietly turning off the lights on renewable energy that a dimmer works just as well as a loud pop at the main relay switch. In Pennsylvania, a state with a very productive coal extraction and fracking industry:

The Corbett administration is de-emphasizing renewable energy and energy conservation, eliminating programs created by previous Democratic and Republican administrations as it focuses on natural gas energy from booming Marcellus Shale.

Quietly but systematically, the administration has all but shut down the state Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Energy and Technology Deployment -- the state's primary energy office -- and removed directors and reassigned staff in the Office of Energy Management in the Department of General Services and the Governor's Green Government Council.

It has also forbidden state executive agencies from signing contracts that support clean energy supply.

Here's a hint as to a candidate who may be vulnerable.


Image credit: Western regional Climate Center

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