Paul Ryan: Not Exactly Gunning for the Green Vote

Gage Skidmore, Flickr/CC BY 2.0

So Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan to be his running mate, and the media instantly erupted in logorrheic glee. Something new to pore over, praise be! Droning talk of tax returns and economic mismanagement, after all, was boring everyone to tears. Watching Romney tour Europe was like watching the world's least interesting train wreck in slo-mo. And it's been forever since the Obama camp did anything notable at all, unless pointing out that Romney is rich and out of touch in negative ads for the hundredth time counts as "notable."

But now: Paul Ryan. What a "bold" and "daring" choice Mitt Romney has made! He has "reset" the race but now must bear the burden of Ryan's "controversial" ideas (which happen to be the very "ideas" that every Republican in Congress has been talking about for the past three years). Here's the CliffsNotes of some Ryan's most notable goals, as showcased in his budget proposal, the Roadmap for America:

-Reduce the deficit!
-Privatize Social Security
-Reign in Medicare spending by turning it into a voucher system over next 10 years
-Reduce the deficit!
-Cut taxes, especially for the rich
-Reduce the ...

But you know all that, especially if you have read any other blog post in the last 48 hours; 85% of them have been about Paul Ryan. So what about his stances on energy and the environment? Well, Paul hasn't made energy or environmental issues much of a focus, but what is out there is precisely what you'd anticipate from a Tea Party hero, right down to the climate change denial, fossil fuel fund-funneling, and Koch brothers backing.

Here's what we've got.

He thinks Climate Gate was an actual scandal: "These e-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change."

He has accepted nearly $245,000 from the oil and gas industry so far. He boasts an impressively terrible score from the League of Conservation Voters, based on his green voting record: just 3%.

Grist's Philip Bump points us to OntheIssues.org, which outlines of some of Paul's relevant votes:

  • Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.
  • Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
  • Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution.
  • Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets.

And on and on. None of this should be surprising—his platform on E&E is precisely in line with the prevailing ideology of the Tea Party-stocked GOP. So: roll back pollution regulations, vilify the EPA, develop fossil fuels wherever and whenever possible, and climate change is the result of naturally occurring sunspot hoaxes, or whatever the deflection du jour may be.

Paul, like Romney, has focused very little of his attention towards energy or environmental issues, especially over the last couple of years. But it's pretty clear that both would embrace the GOP's green agenda as currently articulated, and neither (especially not Randian Ryan) views government policy as an acceptable means to address climate change. A Romney-Ryan administration, in other words, would in all likelihood usher in at least four years of deregulation, inaction on climate, stasis on the clean energy front, and pro-fossil fuels boosterism. Let's just say these guys aren't exactly gunning for the green vote.

Tags: United States