Last year at around this time, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post, comparing the prospects of my New York Jets (aka Gang Green) and the Green Movement for the 2013 season. Judging by the comments on the blog and on social media, the readers of GreenSportsBlog enjoyed the comparison. So we’re back for Year 2 of: Who Will Have A Better Season, Gang Green Or The Green Movement.
Going into the 2013 season, the prospects for Gang Green were shakier than those of the Green Movement: The club was coming off of a 6-10 2012 and they were about to start an unproven, clearly not-ready-for-primetime (or 1 PM or 4:25 PM for that matter) rookie, Geno Smith, at QB. Meanwhile, the Green Movement had some wind, pun intended, at its back: Renewable energy generation capacity was growing at double digit rates in the US and around the world and that was expected to continue. 80% of Americans under 35, in one poll, said they agreed with President Obama’s climate agenda. And there was hope that Mr. Obama would reject the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring (extremely) dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, for export (mostly) to China. So the prediction here was for a Green Movement “win.”
What happened? The Jets, with lower-than-low expectations, overachieved, finishing 8-8. Yes, Geno Smith was bloody awful at times but the Jets young defense showed signs of being a top unit. Smith improved over the last 4 games, the Jets finished strong and popular coach Rex Ryan was able to keep his job. Over on the Green Movement side of the ledger, renewables did indeed continue their strong growth, with solar installations moving up by 17% in the US in 2013 vs. 2012. The beyond-phenomenal Showtime documentary series on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously” won an Emmy Award. But Obama punted on Keystone XL, at least until after the mid-term elections, the climate denialist GOP worked (and continues to work) to block implementation of the President’s Executive Orders on cleaning up coal plants, and a study, published in the journal Nature, asserted that “climate change may be far worse than scientists thought, causing global temperatures to rise by at least 4 degrees C by 2100, or about 7.2 degrees F.” So, in our final analysis of 2013, Gang Green outperformed the Green Movement. That would be OK in my book if the Jets had, say, won the Super Bowl. But they only finished 8-8, for goodness sakes!!! That was a low bar for the Green Movement and it failed.
So what does 2014 portend? I’m actually somewhat bullish on both the Gang Green and Green Movement fronts–which is scary if you know my prediction history!
Green Movement: I know, I know…we still don’t–and won’t soon–have a Price on Carbon (tax, cap-trade). I know, I know…we have a House of Representatives led by the GOP and its Climate Change “Drill Baby Drill” Denialists and Skeptics and that will not change (no way the Dems win the House). And many prognosticators expect the Senate to turn red as well, which, if that happens, would mean climate change will not even be spoken of in either house of Congress, except in derisive ways.
But despite the headwinds in Congress, I think the Green Movement will have a good fall. Here’s why:
- The People’s Climate March will flood New York City streets on Sunday, September 21, with (hopefully) peaceful protesters, asking the UN General Assembly (in session that week) and the US government to take meaningful action on climate change. It likely won’t lead to immediate action but it will put the media lens squarely on the issue, and that coverage has been sorely lacking.
Poster for the People’s Climate March coming up in 2+ weeks in New York City. The March hopes to draw increased and sustained attention to climate change in the US and beyond. (Photo Credit: action.priceofoil.org)
- Renewable energy will continue its stellar growth in the US, albeit from a still to small base. In fact, the US Energy Information Agency, notoriously conservative in its projections historically, says that solar will grow 26% from 2014 to 2015! Wind nets in at around a 6% projected growth rate.
- It says here that the Democrats barely hang on to the Senate. If that happens, that means you’ll still see hearings on Climate Change in that chamber, which is a very good thing. But you won’t see climate-related legislation because the House will not hear of it.
- It also says here that, if I’m wrong, and the GOP wins the Senate, the GOP- dominated Congress will send a raft of anti-climate change bills to the President’s desk for signature, including legislation that would urge Mr. Obama to approve Keystone XL (my guess is he won’t but, sheesh, it’s taken a long time). But this will be an overreach as the GOP is far less popular nationally than even this unpopular President. Obama and team will rail against the deniers/skeptics in the GOP and that will be a positive for the President, the Democrats and the environment going into the 2016 Presidential election cycle.
- It also says here that President Obama will, no matter who controls the Senate, continue to make the environment/Climate Change a key focus of his efforts going forward via executive actions. The regulations on coal plants emissions will be a loser politically in coal-producing states like Kentucky and West Virginia but will be very popular nationally. Other green executive actions will follow.
As for Gang Green, I am notoriously skeptical and, given the very bad secondary, a still pedestrian if improved wide receiver corps, and a still below average Geno Smith, perhaps I should be. But I think the Jets will come in 2nd in the AFC East behind New England (did I go out on a limb there or what??) and sneak in to the last Wild Card playoff spot in the AFC:
- Geno Smith will make a significant step up. THIS DOES NOT MEAN HE WILL BE A TOP ECHELON QB. But, he was sooooo bad last year that, even getting to mediocrity will be a big deal. He will be at least mediocre in terms of passing and, even more important, on his decision making.
- The defensive front 7 will be stellar and could be scary good. The scary good will happen if/when Quinton Coples, the pass rushing hybrid defensive end/linebacker, makes a big leap in his 3rd year. Combine Coples with veteran pass rushing free agent signee Jason Babin with the already top-notch Muhammad Wilkerson (how was he not a Pro Bowler?) and Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson and you have a disruptive pass rush that will, for the most part, cover up for the problems at cornerback.
Quinton Coples (#98) will need to be a force on defense this season if Gang Green is to have a a realistic shot at the playoffs. (Photo Credit: New York Post).
- A solid Offensive Line will produce a strong running game, with free agent addition Chris Johnson benefitting most.
The schedule is tough, in particular, the 6 game stretch vs. elite QBs (Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Brady among them!) after Sunday’s opener vs. Oakland (they have to win that or all bets are off). I see Gang Green coming through the first 7 at 3-4, setting them up for a 7-2 finish, 10-6 overall and a Wild Card playoff berth.
So, if both the Green Movement and Gang Green have strong seasons, who will have the better one? I give the slightest of edges to the Green Movement because I see more potential variability with Gang Green–meaning they’re more likely to go really sour (5-11 is possible, too) than will the Green Movement (will the Senate go so heavily towards the GOP such that they have a veto-proof majority? Nah.)
What do you think about Gang Green, the Green Movement and/or Your Team?
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