In Wisconsin, Paul Ryan was as much a supporter of renewable energy as he was its enemy on Capitol Hill. Ryan’s stances provide the latest evidence of America’s political ambivalence about energy and the environment — but also a glimmer of hope that some day the poles won’t be so far apart.
Ryan became a star of his party, and Mitt Romney’s chosen running mate for the White House, through his passionate denunciations of federal spending and President Obama’s energy-heavy 2009 stimulus package. Ryan voted consistently against efforts to save energy, even including light-bulb efficiency standards. His famed budget proposal would have gutted alternative-energy programs at the Department of Energy. He has dubbed renewable energy proposals “green pork,” and said in 2010, “The administration’s actions show that attempting to reduce global warming — by a fraction of a degree over the next century — is a higher priority than keeping Wisconsin residents employed now.”