It seems like a story out of fantasy land. Members of the GOP in the House of Representatives do not want add to spending by funding critical disaster relief after Hurricane Irene, so they are trying to cut funding to advance the development of clean vehicles (which, of course, are critical to cutting global warming and limiting the billion-dollar disasters we see in the future).
Let’s see, should we cut a few million for policy that will help prevent billions of dollars of more damage? Should we just do that on all of these ‘wasteful’ environmental and climate policies, and then pay who knows how much for unprecedented storms, droughts, flooding, heat, etc.? (And don’t think we’ve seen anything yet.. the predictions of what is to come are huge.) That’s what many members of the GOP now want.
This is the fundamental problem with short-term thinking — you end up paying more in the end.
Here’s a little more explanation of the clean vehicles program from Climate Progress:
The Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (AVTM) program was created in 2008 under President Bush to provide loan guarantees for automakers producing next-generation vehicles. So far, the program has supported projects for ultra energy-efficient and electric vehicles, helping create jobs and enhance America’s competitiveness. But Congressional Republicans have proposed slashing funding from the AVTM program in order to set aside money for disaster relief.
In case it isn’t clear enough that such a policy would hurt us severely in the end, Cole Mellino of the Center for American Progress gives us 5 key reasons why cutting AVTM funding to fund disaster relief (rather than keeping both) is a bad idea:
- It creates jobs
at a time when America needs them the most. The American economy experienced
- . The Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program (ATVM) directly created 39,000 jobs and is responsible for another 2,600 construction jobs in 11 states. An additional 18 loan applications in progress are projected to create 50,000 – 60,000 more jobs.
- It promotes the production of fuel efficient vehicles. The projects would reduce gasoline use by more than 311 million gallons annually. According to the Government Accountability Office, “the projects for enhanced conventional vehicles as a whole are expected to achieve fuel economy that exceeds the CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] targets by, on average, 21 percent.”
- It invests in green technology, in which the private sector still under-invests. Because the impacts of inefficient vehicles are not immediate and concentrated, but long term and widely dispersed, the private sector does not allocate enough money to address the problem. This is why we need to utilize government resources to invest in green technology.
- It has repaid the majority of its loans. ATVM had to go through a rigorous review process by the Loan Programs Office at the Department of Energy to make sure that it has a reasonable prospect of repayment. ATVM passed and, to date, it has returned two-thirds of its loans.
- Americans should not have to choose between fuel efficient cars and job creation and disaster relief. Congressional Republicans would like to redirect funds from ATVM to pay for damages from extreme weather. Both of these programs are much needed and Congressional Republicans should look elsewhere to make cuts in the budget.
Of course, too many Republicans don’t get the picture, and don’t realize that we are only digging a bigger and bigger economic hole by not addressing global warming quickly and averting the catastrophic effects of global warming.