Far-right conservatives are fond of claiming that environmentalists use global warming as a cover for their true intent: fight progress! Reverse civilization! Leave us all shivering in a dark room! The idea is that attempts to fight global warming will inevitably slow economic growth and stifle innovation.

That is, of course, exactly wrong. It is the dinosaur companies blocking progress and innovation. They are quite fond of the current playing field, which is skewed sharply in their direction by subsidies, tax breaks, and immense political and social inertia.

It’s the little people — average citizens, small companies, entrepreneurs — who are trying to free our sclerotic system from the dinosaurs’ grasp and kickstart a wave of 21st century innovation.

Want to see what I mean in action? Get this:

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There was an initiative — I-937 — on the Washington ballot this year that would institute a renewable portfolio standard for the state, mandating that it get a certain percentage of its energy from renewable sources. Right now it’s winning, but not by a large margin, and votes are still being counted.

The Public Disclosure Commission makes available records of who has donated to the campaigns for and against I-937.

The list for Yes on I-937 (PDF) is 25 pages long, mainly composed of small contributions from individuals, NGOs, and small companies. Hell, there’s four pages of donations $20 and below.

The list for No on I-937 (PDF)? One page. The smallest donation is $190. The biggest is $55,000, from forest-products giant Weyerhaeuser. Then $50,000, from utility company Avista. And so on, a short list full of big businesses and business associations — power biz, utility biz, food biz, forestry biz.

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Who’s fighting to stop progress again?

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