Friday, June 10, 2016

'Toontime: Fueling the Fossil Express

credit: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune 
Wackydoodle sez: Charley, watch your speed, drivin' that train high on the gain!
The United States' solar industry is gaining steam, so to speak. The industry installed more capacity than coal, nuclear and natural gas for the first time.  There are now over a million photovoltaic installations around the country or 27.5 Gw of capacity.  One gigawatt is enough to power about 700,000 homes.  It took forty years for the US to hit the one million mark.  Experts think it will only take one year to pass two million.  The solar industry now employs more people than the coal industry.

Fossil fuel plutocrats are doing everything they legally can to stop renewable energy momentum as the cartoon suggests.  Oil companies spent $6.2 million on lobbying during the first quarter, down about 17% from last year due to the slump in oil prices.  Still, there is an army of oil lobbyists in Washington at 608 down from the 2014 number of 812 according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  Despite the downturn, the oil industry still wields enough influence behind the beltway to get the legislation it wants such as lifting the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. The industry spent $129 million lobbying on oil exports and other issues last year.  Solar power represents an existential threat to their bottom lines, so you can bet oil plutocrats like Charley Koch will still be drivin' that train, high on the gain.