Propaganda lies in an ethically grey area. It can be used to justify both noble and ignoble causes. We are engaged in an environmental propaganda war which has persisted since the 1960s. This war pits wealthy, powerful, job providing, and ultimately destructive corporations against the poorly organized and underfunded environmental grassroots organizations.
This afternoon I witnessed some truly strange anti-green propaganda as I drove from New York to Pittsburgh. I am certain that this propaganda was paid for by powers representing the interests of the Pennsylvania coal mining industry, and not the interest of Pennsylvanians themselves.
The first item of interest is a billboard advocating clean coal, depicting a green incandescent lightbulb on a black background. They could have at least used a compact fluorescent bulb to pretend to mask their hypocrisy, but I doubt the citizens of buttfuck Pennsylvania will notice. There is no such thing as clean coal, and all information associated with "clean coal" is an effort by existing coal mining corporations to persist in their inefficient and destructive enterprise.
Having lost the moral high ground by attacking the citizens of central PA, I proceed to the next billboard of interest, which reads ( near as I can remember )
"Obama's clean energy plan is a war on the poor"
The billboard cites a projected $5 per gallon for gasoline as evidence of this war, and urges citizens to call their senators. This billboard must have been paid for by either the coal companies, the oil companies, or both. This one is complicated. Assume for a moment that Obama's policies will lead to $5/gallon gasoline, and ignore the fact that the oil market has more control over the price of gasoline than any government. If Detroit were to double its gas milage on all vehicles, this increased cost would be nullified, and we would all be breathing a little bit easier. I can only assume that the inertia with respect to fuel efficiency is due to intellectual laziness or intellectual insufficiency in America's engineers and auto company CEOs. Complaints about the jobs lost as the coal and oil companies collapse miss the point that our current coal, oil, and gas enterprises are destructive and lazy solutions to our energy needs. If properly executed, the green energy economy can replace the role of fossil fuel corporations in the American job market.
Many of you may be familiar with fast breeder nuclear reactors. These reactors can meet our energy needs with existing nuclear fuel, and should give us more than enough carbon-free years to transition to purely sustainable energy source. After some discussion with other authors of this blog, we suspect that fast breeder reactors can be done properly and need not pose a national security risk. There is widespread concern that the plutonium produced by fast breeder reactors may find its way into the hands of a rouge state or terrorist group. This would require cooperation between some part of a major nuclear power and a dangerous terrorist group. Now, this is not to say that this is unlikely or that this hasn't happened before, but wouldn't we expect existing sources of plutonium/uranium to pose a similar risk ? If the plutonium fuel produced is stored on site, and we limit the number of stations to a few tens or a couple hundred, we should be able to keep the fuel secure. Additionally, it is possible that the small risk of a rouge state acquiring the plutonium fuel is much less than the risk of widespread political instability caused by global climate change. I hope that somewhere, some think tank is analyzing these risks right now, and has found a way to overcome the security concerns surrounding fast breeder reactors.
As for the propaganda war, the best I can think of at the moment is to hold an internet photoshop contest for pro-green propaganda, and display the best on billboards in prominent locations, and in online advertisements. The only idea so far : playboy model next to a nuclear stack, captions "one of these curves can save the world" ... or something like that. Getting churches in this country on the bandwagon may do some good, but that is a hard beast to control.