Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Will Liberals laud Walmart?

A year ago--in September 2013--I blogged about Walmart being way ahead of other businesses on at least one aspect that liberals love to talk about.  Yet, this news junkie hasn't read anything to that effect from the usual suspects.

So, what should liberals be applauding Walmart for?

Its adoption of green energy--solar power.

In that September 2013 post, I noted:
Among the corporations going solar, the biggest one is Wal-Mart.  Yes, that same Wal-Mart that the solar-loving left typically loves to hate.  Unlike the left that pushes expensive solar for reasons other than a dollar bottom-line, Wal-Mart does that precisely because it sees money in it
Now this update from Slate, which makes the story even more exciting:

105 MW.  That is huge.
the company now has more solar capacity than 35 states and the District of Columbia. 
How was the situation in that post a year ago?

From 65 MW to 105 MW!

You think that the Walmart-bashing, Apple-loving, liberals will cheer this?  Will faculty, who even organize their students to boycott Walmart, bring this to their students' attention?

Imagine if left-leaning environmentalist faculty get their students to write to Walmart appreciating the leadership the corporation has shown in this important issue of greener energy sources!

Of course, none of that will happen.  For one, we typically see only what we want to see, and we tend to dismiss evidence that does not resonate with our ideological perspectives.  Which means that chances are high that the liberal faculty who rail against Walmart and fossil fuels might not even know that Walmart is way ahead of them.  For another, even if they are aware of it, chances are pretty good that they won't give the devil its due.

As Slate notes:
Walmart's notoriously ruthless cost-cutting might actually burnish solar power's reputation as an economically viable choice rather than some goofy liberal fixation. The company wouldn't be building out an entire state's worth of capacity if solar didn't make fundamental financial sense. Corporate America doesn't get any more hardheaded—or mainstream—than Walmart, and that's great news for green energy.
Indeed.  Solar energy might really catch on if people and businesses found out that even the ruthlessly cost-cutting Walmart is going solar in a big way.  As they say, follow the money ;)


Ramesh said...

Wow. I had no clue that this was so. Going down the list , there are a lot of retailers. Perhaps understandable given that "real estate" is such an important part of solar generation.

Another fact that caught my eye was that 105 MW is more than the generating capacity of 35 states !!!! 105 MW is absolutely nothing and yet many (presumably the smaller states in the liberal NE)don't even have that much. The consumption must be a 100 times this number. There are always strings attached to power generation - pollution if coal, environment if hydel, risk if nuclear, etc etc) - wonder what the nimby liberals think about exporting their risks to some poor sods in Texas :)

You are absolutely right. We typically see only what we want to see, and we tend to dismiss evidence that does not resonate with our ideological perspectives. You try your best to be otherwise. Bravo.

Sriram Khé said...

Solar is everywhere now, it seems like. As I have been blogging here, we are rapidly reaching that tipping point when solar will become a no-brainer.
Watch this video about your own home town, Ramesh--about businesses in Bangalore that have gone solar in order to avoid the hassle of load shedding, lower their bills and, incidentally, go green:
Maybe you even know, or know of, some of them?

In graduate school, the metaphor that I picked up was that an ideology is like a colored filter and we always see the world in that color. But, the hassle is that almost always people in all walks of life, including faculty, operate via their preferred color filters ... I beat up on faculty only because I am a part of that group and am more familiar with them. However, it does not mean that the rest of the world is any better, right?

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