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‘Green’ Is the New Republican Dirty Word

On Wednesday, the Republican presidential candidates came up with colorful nicknames for the Inflation Reduction Act.

Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Our condolences to “woke.” It appears that Republicans have a new favorite boogeyman buzzword this election season: “green.” The word was on every Republican presidential hopeful’s lips on Wednesday, both at CNN’s debate in Iowa between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and at former President Donald Trump’s competing town hall on Fox News.

To start, DeSantis reiterated his promise to reverse President Biden’s clean energy policy – without, of course, actually calling it by its real name. After explaining that energy independence is “good to reduce inflation,” DeSantis continued, “So we’ll do that on day one and we’re going to reverse Biden’s Green New Deal and the electric vehicle mandates.” DeSantis is of course facetiously referring to the Inflation Reduction Act here — Biden has not supported the actual Green New Deal as proposed in a resolution by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey in 2019.

It’s also not the first time DeSantis has made this particular reference. The Florida governor, who once said that “humans contribute to what goes on around us” while running for governor in Florida in 2018, promised that he’d be “taking all the Biden regulations, the Green New Deal, ripping it up and throwing it in the trash can where it belongs,” at November’s primary debate. DeSantis’s environmental flip-flopping has not gone unnoticed by his opponents – least of all Haley, who called out DeSantis’s pledge to ban fracking during Wednesday’s debate, as she did in September and November as well.

Haley took her own stab at Biden’s energy policy shortly after DeSantis at Wednesday’s debate. Biden’s “green subsidies” caught a stray during Haley’s answer to a question about funding Ukraine and Israel during their respective ongoing wars. “Supporting Ukraine is 3.5% of our budget,” Haley said. “If we support Ukraine and Israel, that's only 5% of our defense budget [...] If we support Ukraine, Israel, and secure the border, that's less than 20% of Biden's green subsidies. You do not have to choose when it comes to national security."

For his part, Trump trotted out a predictably insane “green” reference during his live town hall on Fox News. While answering a question about contributing to the national debt during his term, Trump said, “You had to inject money. … If I didn’t do that, you would have had a depression in this country.” He continued, “That was a very good investment. And now what they should be doing instead of the kind of debt that they’re building at record levels, they should be paying down their debt and they ought to go into the energy business instead of this green new scam business that they’re in.”

It’s perhaps redundant to note that at no point during the fifth Republican presidential debate or Trump’s town hall was the Inflation Reduction Act mentioned by name. We’ll have to tune into the next debate (January 18 in New Hampshire) to find out if the green verbal tic holds up.

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Charu Sinha

Charu Sinha is the audience editor at Heatmap. She was previously a news writer at Vulture, where she covered arts and culture. She has also written for Netflix, iHeartMedia, and NPR. Read More

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Sparks

Coal’s Slowdown Is Slowing Down

Rising electricity demand puts reliability back on the table.

Pollution.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The United States has been able to drive its greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest level since the early 1990s largely by reducing the amount of energy on the grid generated by coal to a vast extent. In 2005, by far the predominant source of U.S. electricity, making up some 2.2 million gigawatt-hours of the country’s 4.3 million GWh total energy consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2022, by contrast, coal generation was down to 900,000 GWh out of 4.5 million GWh generated. As a result, “U.S. emissions are 15.8% lower than 2005 levels, while power emissions are 40% lower than 2005 levels,” according to BloombergNEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

But the steady retirement of coal plants may be slowing down. Only 2.3 GW of coal generating capacity are set to be shut down so far in 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration. While in 2025, that number is expect to jump up to 10.9 GW, the combined 13.2 GW of retired capacity pales in comparison of the more than 22 GW retired in the past two years, according to EIA figures. Over the past decade, coal retirements have averaged about 10 GW a year, with actual retirements often outpacing forecasts.

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Trump Thinks EV Charging Will Cost $3 Trillion — Which Is Incorrect

Nor will charging infrastructure ”bankrupt” the U.S.

Electric car charging.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Shortly after being fined $350 million (more than $450 million, including interest) over fraudulent business practices and then booed at Sneaker Con, former President Donald Trump traveled to Waterford, Michigan, where he said some incorrect things about electric vehicles.

Even by Trump’s recent standards, Saturday’s Waterford rally was a bit kooky. During his nearly hour-and-a-half-long speech, the former president claimed that his opponents are calling him a whale (“I don’t know if they meant a whale from the standpoint of being a little heavy, or a whale because I got a lot of money”) and, improbably, claimed not to have known what the word “indictment” meant.

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Sparks

This Chicken Named Potato Will Teach Your Kids About Climate Change

A chicken from the future, to be clear.

Future Chicken.
Heatmap Illustration/CBC, Getty Images

If I told you there was a chicken named Potato who was going to teach our kids about climate change, would you think I was kidding? Either way, I’m here to inform you that Future Chicken, an “ECOtainment platform” co-created by Catherine Winder and Annabel Slaight, launched last year, including original content like a TV show that airs on CBC and YouTube, games, and a podcast, all aimed at warding off climate doom and instead highlighting climate solutions.

Winder and Slaight have, to put it mildly, impressive resumes, with Slaight having been an executive producer of The Big Comfy Couch and Winder a force behind multiple Angry Birds movies. The show’s premise is fun, and was actually thought up by kids. The main character is a chicken (named Potato) from the year 2050, a time when climate change has seemingly been solved. She travels back and forth between the future and the present, sometimes talking about the solutions of her time.

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