A Sea Change in the Politics of Clean Energy

As renewable energy production grows in Republican-leaning states, lawmakers are becoming less resistant to supporting clean energy policies.

1 minute read

March 10, 2023, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Texas Wind

Dallas Events Inc / Shutterstock

“I don’t want to be naïve or to echo the predictions of previous climate Pollyannas to say that Republican cooperation is right around the corner,” writes David Wallace-Wells in The New York Times about federal efforts to promote renewable and clean energy. “But the partisan landscape may be finally changing, indeed somewhat significantly.” 

For proof, Wallace-Wells points to the relatively painless adoption of the Inflation Reduction Act, “The biggest piece of climate legislation in American history,” which met with much less backlash from Republican lawmakers than other progressive legislation.

“One big reason for that is the design of the bill itself, which was both smaller in size and more targeted in scope than many of the original Green New Deal proposals. In fact, it was designed in part to blunt backlash” by largely offering incentives rather than penalties and pumping billions of dollars into local economies in ‘red’ areas, where renewable energy production is booming. “All told, according to an analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Inflation Reduction Act could deliver, on average, nearly twice as much subsidy per capita to Republican states as Democratic ones.”

Ultimately, Wallace-Wells believes the contribution to local economies will likely win over ideology. “When the government is pouring money into your backyard, it’s hard to play the NIMBY for long.”

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 in The New York Times

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