I blogged recently about the new litmus test on environmental politics: what do you think about global warming and the East Anglia hacking? Dirty tricks or expose of climategate? Here's a recent poll that shows the American political divide is splitting public opinion on global warming. More and more conservatives and Republicans doubt that global warming is real. If global warming's admitted to be real it most likely could not be dealt with apart from major government action. Large-scale government action--apart from war and policing--is anathema to most American conservatives so it follows that global warming is not a comfortable concept to embrace.
To answer the first talkback, not yet even written: the politics surrounding global warming is crucial to greentech because almost nobody believes greentech will succeed in competing with the centuries old fossil fuel industry without government-aided research, funding, tax credits, etc. Let's not forget how much federal tax money was spent to make the automobile dominant in the U.S. All the corporate wealth of oil and auto-related industries would have been greatly diminished if we'd waited for private financing of roads and Interstates. What if there were no oil leases on public land, tax breaks for oil exploration, depletion, etc. ? Ditto the Internet: if government money for DARPA had not funded the original work on the world wide web, I'd be writing this for some print publication. Aviation, broadcasting, mining, pharma, timber, agribusiness--the list of government-boosted industries is lengthy. Hollywood and popular music are about the only industries that seemed to grow spontaneously in America without major government help.