As mentioned yesterday, this year’s Earth Day news was dominated by President Biden’s summit of world leaders and a pledge to cut emissions in half by 2030, but that didn’t stop deniers from trying to either crash or poop the party.
The deplorable caucus spent the day being very mad at the Green New Deal, with locker room-abuse-denier Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) joining pro-treason Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and de-committee’d Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Q) in lashing out at their colleague’s proposal to improve public housing.
The more serious Republicans were no less stupid, but mostly aimed for the Biden administration instead of the GND, with Sen. Mitch McConnell rattling off a few old “job killer! But China! Paris Agreement bad!” tropes in a tweet, while officially-unethical Mike Pompeo provided the Trump version.
For example, many republican politicians parroted the oil industry’s new propaganda phrase “American energy,” something that is used to make selling highly polluting oil and gas sound patriotic and climate-friendly. It's “freedom gas” for the post-Trump era. The phrase was modeled by Big Oil front group IPAA’s COO, and Rep. Kevin “$2.1 million in career contributions from the oil and gas industry” McCarthy on FoxNews and parroted in an op-ed in The Hill by next-generation denier Quill Robinson of the ACC.
Rep. Fred “$1.1 million in oil and gas contributions” Upton one-upton’d them in a Detroit News op-ed, adding “securing” and “cleaner” to the front for “securing cleaner American energy.” It’s a transparent way to try and make gas — which just failed to keep the power on in Texas, and when it does work makes people sick — sound like it’s safe and reliable and patriotic.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Rep. Carol “$200k from mining and oil and gas, but this was her first campaign” Miller (R-WV) in RealClearEnergy, Sen. John “$1.1m from oil and gas” Barrasso in a quote in the AP, Sen. Ted “at least the oil and gas industry likes me enough to give me $3.7 million” Cruz on Twitter & Facebook (where it was a highly performing post because of course that hellscape is the one place where Ted Cruz is popular).
It’s also the rhetorical cornerstone of a new bill introduced by Reps. August Pfluger (#3 top recipient of oil and gas money in 2019-2020) and Henry “even some Democrats can be bought by the oil and gas industry for a little shy of a million dollars” Cueller, who talked about how “access to clean American energy is vital to reducing emissions globally” in an op-ed in Brownwood Bulletin pushing natural gas exports. (Exporting the gas, of course, eliminates any supposed price-lowering benefit of increased drilling locally, but the industry isn’t known for logically consistent propaganda…)
We also saw a seemingly renewed interest in 'energy poverty'-based attacks, particularly coming from those in the organized denial industry. For example, the oil-backed evangelical Christian Cornwall Alliance had their India-based researcher Vijay Jayaraj pen an “open letter to John Kerry from people living in energy poverty” published in TownHall, while career shill Robert Bryce had a similarly crocodilian-teared op-ed in NYPost, as did CEI’s Kent Lassman in the Washington Examiner, rounding out the energy poverty-as-a-fossil-fuel-concern-troll trifecta.
It is apparently critically important for the poor in India or Africa to get fossil fuels (if not for the dastardly Democrats). For some reason, however, that same spirit of generosity and grace doesn’t extend to China, which many, particularly in conservative/hatemonger media, used to ring xenophobic and nationalist bells while opposing climate action.
There was a whole Wall Street Journal column about it, Stuart Varney went off on FoxBusiness, National Review’s Rich Lowry was granted Politico space for it, Pat Michaels posted about it and it was part of Myron Ebell’s quote to press (that no one picked up), schmuck Matt Schlapp tweeted about it, and it made an appearance in both McConnell’s tweet and Barrasso’s statement to the AP.
When taken together, it’s clear that House Republicans are going to be using “American Energy” as a last-ditch rhetorical device to try and make their obviously financial dedication to defending dirty energy sound wholesome.
They know they’ve got to appeal to the vast majority of the public that wants action on climate, but since they’ve primed their base to hate anything green or liberal, they are in the tricky position of having to combine the two. So they’ll talk about dirty energy like it’s clean by calling it “cleaner,” but to make sure it still appeals to conservatives who may otherwise be wary of its newfound climate credibility, party leaders decided to add “American” to it, like a thick layer of mayo on an otherwise dry turkey sandwich. That way it will still appeal to the openly racist, “super-whites-only” “Anglo-Saxon” wing of the Republican party, that reflexively opposes anything even remotely climate-friendly, or multi-cultural.
All together then, it’s Cleaner American Energy, a way to describe what’s dirty as clean, but also with an attitude that suggests it’s going to suspiciously stare at anyone vaguely Brown before asking where they’re really from.