05/11/2012 02:05 EDT | Updated 07/11/2012 05:12 EDT

Big Oil's Plan to Crush Green Energy


It is really a surprise to anyone that the polluting fuel industry is behind recent attacks on clean, renewable energy?

After all, as our transition to using windmills, solar panels and electric vehicles gains momentum, it's easy to see how peddlers of oil and coal might be freaked out. What if we don't want to buy what they are selling anymore? It's not like anyone actually enjoys getting robbed at the gas pump every week or relishes a lungful of coal smog.

This week, the U.K.'s respected newspaper the Guardian uncovered a confidential memo proposing a massive fossil-fuel corporation funded campaign to build opposition against wind power in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential elections next fall.

The fossil fuel-funded strategy proposes a partnership with local anti-wind groups, the biggest climate denial think tanks and the ultra right-wing Tea Party. Suggested tactics include creating a 'think tank' to create credible looking reports and disseminate misinformation, fake businesses to buy anonymous billboard advertising, and an 'astroturf' campaign to create the illusion of grassroots support.

The goal? "To cause subversion of [wind] so that it effectively becomes so bad that no one wants to admit in public that they are for it." Sound familiar?

The scheme looks disturbingly close to anti-renewable tactics already being used in Ontario. There, anti-wind campaigns are in full swing spreading misinformation about the cost of wind power and unproven claims about health effects, buying up billboards, referencing discredited studies, and even running an astroturf campaign. U.S. oil billionaires are already funding anti-renewable campaigns north of the border. The main talking point is identical to the one proposed for south of the border: "green energy isn't actually green."

If in fact renewable energy were as insignificant as the fossil fuel industry says it is, it seems doubtful they'd pull out all the stops to discredit it. But, actions speak louder than words and the fossil fuel industry sees the writing on the wall. The end is nigh for outdated 19th century energy and they are terrified.

Q: Why would any rational group oppose replacing our electricity generation with sources that are far cleaner, safer and sustainable?

A: They wouldn't, and don't -- but oil companies do.

Just as the fossil fuel industry spent millions attacking the science behind global warming, now it is attacking the solutions to the problem.

So, the next time someone tries to tell you that renewable energy isn't green, you might want to consider where that idea actually came from.