Glenn Beck distorted remarks by Apollo Alliance co-founder Joel Rogers to suggest that Rogers' "definition of the green economy" is to bring "the economy to a complete halt" by eliminating "every power plant" and stopping "every car in America." In fact, nowhere in the remarks that Beck played did Rogers advocate "bringing the economy to a halt," and the Apollo Alliance's plan for a "clean energy economy" includes improving the efficiency of cars and power plants -- not stopping them.
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Beck suggests Rogers' "definition" of "the green economy" involves "bringing the economy to a complete halt"
BECK: What is the engine for the upward cycle? We have no manufacturing anymore. We're handcuffing Wall Street. I mean, I don't think we should have been in the paper business in the first place. We're about to shut down the energy sector with cap and trade. What is it that these unions are organizing to help us do? Nobody really has an idea. One guy finally says, "Well, I'm hoping that the green economy will." Yeah, I mean, I'm like, "Please." I am, too. I am, too. But I don't have a definition of the green economy. Do you? Nobody does. Nobody really has an answer -- well, no, I'm sorry. The progressive Wizard of Oz, Joel Rogers, actually gave us an answer on what the green economy is.
ROGERS [video clip]: I hope you all realize that you could eliminate every power plant in America today, and you could stop every car in America, take out the entire power generation sector, take out all of the transportation sector, and you still wouldn't be anywhere near 80 percent below 1990 levels. You'd be closer to 60 percent, you'd be at around 68 percent. And that's bringing the economy to a complete halt, basically.
BECK: Basically. Basically. He also said as we played for you a few minutes ago that Cisco and GE will get rich on this. You see, people in the elite class don't understand the debt. We've conned ourselves into thinking that debt is not a problem. It's not. Your house, my house -- it's not. Until you accumulate so much there's no way you can pay it off. But we're somehow or another going to create a green economy that is going to pay this debt off. $12.9 trillion, America's debt right now. One hundred and seven in unfunded liabilities. Add it up: $119.9 trillion. So how do we pay this off?
Beck misrepresented Rogers' comments
Rogers was underscoring the challenge of dealing with climate change, not advocating for a shutdown of power generation and transportation sectors. Contrary to Beck's suggestion that Rogers was advocating a definition of the "green economy" in which "you could eliminate every power plant in America today, and you could stop every car in America," Rogers -- who co-founded the Apollo Alliance -- was suggesting that shutting down the transportation and power generation sectors and bringing the economy to a halt was neither a desirable nor effective strategy to address global warming. Further, nowhere in his remarks did Rogers advocate "bringing the economy to a complete halt," or "tak[ing] out the entire power generation sector" and "all of the transportation sector." From the March 2008 Take Back America conference, The New Green Deal [Rogers begins speaking at 33 minutes; this section begins at about 39 minutes into the video]:
ROGERS: The deal in American politics I'd recommend to all of us, as sort of a new mantra on federalism, is that we should all be for progressive federalism, which means that any state policy -- we should sort of set federal floors, but not ceilings, on state innovation -- and any state policies which go above that floor, in this case, reducing, you know, GHG emissions should be encouraged and not pre-empted by the federal policy. So, again, I don't see a major problem in the political architecture of all this.
But in terms of realizing the equity aspects of it, I think that's gonna be a much harder lift. I think we do in fact need a movement out there which is pushing for that all the time, and very vigorously and very loudly. We heard today -- this morning from Reverend Jackson and Roger Wilkins and other saints of the civil rights movement how important it was to have a third rail, third force out there pushing. I think it's going to be particularly important, and I don't think we're there yet, in terms of the infrastructure for that movement.
Consider the scale of what we're talking about. This is partly an echo to what Phil was just saying, but maybe here's a way to think about it. A lot of you say that, "Well, let's have an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions below 1990 levels by 2050." Right? That's a common sort of demand. I hope you all realize that you could eliminate every power plant in America today, and you could stop every car in America, take out the entire power generation sector, take out all of the transportation sector, and you still wouldn't be anywhere near 80 percent below 1990 levels. You'd be closer to 60 percent, you'd be at around 68 percent. And that's bringing the economy to a complete halt, basically. That's sort of a challenge. And then on our side -- so, it's important to, you know, appreciate the dimensions of the challenge.
And then on our side, you know, we celebrate our small successes, and I do think there's a big success here. We're basically responsible -- years of environmental work, years of coalition-building with the labor movement and community groups -- to actually get these four different groups -- this is what Apollo's one contribution is. I think it's an important contribution to get progressive business, labor, environmentalists -- essentially white-dominated labor -- and heavily communities of color, heavily urban-based, to see that they have a common interest in a project. And it's great, it's great. And that success should be celebrated, and the fact the science is on our side, and that it's now becoming mainstream politics, it's great.
Apollo Alliance's New Apollo Program calls for improving efficiency of power plants and cars -- not shutting them down
Program aims to "improve efficiency by 20 percent in existing power plants" by 2025. From the 2008 Apollo Alliance report "The New Apollo Program: Clean Energy, Good Jobs":
Our energy systems will not be transformed overnight. Utilities and industrial power users will need to rely on existing power sources, including coal and natural gas, for years to come. But these systems must be made more efficient if we hope to achieve greenhouse gas reductions on the scale necessary to stabilize the climate.
We must encourage utilities and industrial power users to upgrade their power generation systems by incorporating combined heat and power systems, with the goal of achieving 20 percent improvement in industrial and utility efficiency by 2025. Combined heat and power (CHP) uses waste heat from power plants and industrial facilities to produce electricity and thermal energy that normally is cheaper than the energy otherwise purchased. A variety of industrial waste streams can be recycled into useful heat and power, as can many industrial processes, such as catalytic crackers at petroleum refineries and blast furnaces at steel mills. Conventional power plants also can be converted so their waste heat is captured and used for heating homes and businesses close to the plant. All together, existing untapped CHP resources could generate up to 492,000 gigawatts of carbon-free power -- as well as thousands of new green-collar jobs building, installing, and maintaining CHP systems.
Program would "rebuild the U.S. auto industry by investing in high-efficiency vehicles." From the 2008 Apollo Alliance report "The New Apollo Program: Clean Energy, Good Jobs":
The new vehicle fuel efficiency standards adopted in 2007 have raised the bar for the U.S. auto industry. We recommend that Congress help the industry meet those standards by providing incentives to retool automobile plants, and by helping consumers purchase a broad range of next-generation vehicles, including alternative-fuel cars, clean diesels, hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
These investments in the long-term future of the U.S. auto industry will help to ensure the domestic production of next-generation vehicles and create or retain hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs. Retooling auto plants will help revitalize struggling manufacturing communities, make the best use of our existing skilled manufacturing workforce, and drive investment toward existing plants instead of encouraging "greenfield" development that degrades the urban tax base. Congress should consider a variety of funding mechanisms for retooling, including new rules to allow firms to recover existing tax assets, new loan programs, and grants. These funding mechanisms should be tied to production and engineering work performed in the United States.