This article originally appeared on The Federalist on November 19, 2014. It is reprinted in part below.
This November, voters rejected many parts of the Left’s agenda. Perhaps the biggest loser, other than President Obama, was the environmental sustainability campaign. Environmental groups poured upwards of $85 million—more than they have ever spent on an election before—into green-minded candidates who lost. That’s a stunning rejection of the green agenda by the American people, on the heels of increasingly frantic warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and various United Nations (UN) agencies pronouncing global environmental doom.
But don’t write off the environmental movement too quickly. For years it has been building a substantial grassroots network by campaigning on cultural, moral, and educational issues. Backed by millionaire sustainability crusaders and given a warm welcome in American higher education, environmental activists have vowed to make significant political inroads come 2016.
It is a plausible threat. Already President Obama has forged a new climate agreement with China, which the New York Timesheadlined, “In Climate Deal with China, Obama May Set 2016 Theme.” Environmentalists have the resources, the organization, and the will to succeed. Their policies will do little to help the earth. But never mind: the movement has the magic of thriving on its own failures. When Solyndra folded after wasting $535 million in federal loans, sustainability activists didn’t reassess solar technology as a favorite government “investment.” Instead, they moved right along to a $60-million “SunShot” federal solar grant program and the $2.2 billion Ivanpah Plant in California, which not only incinerates wildlife but also produces electricity at four times the cost of a natural gas plant. Expect the equivalent of Ivanpah in the next electoral cycle.