In advance of each of the last two NFL seasons, I penned a (sort of) tongue-in-cheek post, comparing the prospects of my New York Jets (aka Gang Green) to those of the Green Movement for the fall campaign (if you want to look back at my 2013 and 2014 prognostications, be my guest). Judging by comments on the blog, on social media, and to me personally, the readers of GreenSportsBlog enjoyed the comparisons. So, without further ado, and also one game into the new Jets season, we’re back for Year 3 of Who Will Have A Better Season, Gang Green Or The Green Movement.
I’m not one to gloat (usually) but last year I got it right by predicting that the Green Movement would have a better year than Gang Green. On the Green Movement’s side of the ledger, my picks included:
- Growth in the adoption of solar and wind in the US would continue (it has!),
- The Democrats would retain control of the US Senate (they didn’t–oh well!), but that if I was wrong (I was!), the GOP majority wouldn’t be big enough to override Obama vetoes of anti-environmental legislation (thank goodness I was right!)
- President Obama would make environmental executive action a key focus (he did–and continues to do so!)
As for the Jets, I was just a tad bit overly optimistic, predicting that QB Geno Smith would “make a significant step up,” (oops!) and that the Jets would make the playoffs as a wild card. Well, Smith was awful and the Jets were a (bad) joke at 4-12. The putridity of the Jets made my pro-Green Movement prediction an easy one to get right.
Looking ahead to fall 2015, which, for Gang Green started yesterday with a resounding 31-10 win at home vs. the putrid Cleveland Browns, it says here the Jets will improve vs. 2014 (it’s hard to be worse, after all), falling just short of the playoffs. The Green Movement, on the other hand, will have a much better season. In fact, the Jets would have to be a serious Super Bowl contender to win this competition. Which they, unfortunately, won’t be.
GO GREEN MOVEMENT!
This is a “Bullish Green Movement” pick rather than a “Jets Will Be Awful” choice. Where does this optimism come from, especially when, according to Jonathan Chait, writing in the September 7 issue of New York Magazine, “The rise in atmospheric temperatures from greenhouse gases poses the most dire threat to humanity, measured on a scale of potential suffering, since Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany launched near-simultaneous wars of conquest”.
The title of Chait’s must-read* cover story provides the answer: “The Sunniest Climate-Change Story You’ve Ever Read”. How do we get a sunny climate change forecast when Chait opens his story with an outlook so stormy that the Nazis and Imperial Japan are invoked for comparison? Here’s how:
- Solar prices will continue their strong, downward trend: This spring, the price of solar power hit a symbolic 50¢/watt threshold, 15 years earlier than had been projected in 2011 (in 1981 that price was $10/watt). Prices will continue to crater this fall and through 2016–Clean Technica projects a 40% drop between 2015 and 2017.
- Energy efficiency is in the midst of a Golden Era and that won’t change any time soon. Per Chait: “Laboratories from Cambridge to Silicon Valley are racing to develop next-generation batteries, as well as ultraefficient solar cells, vehicles, kitchen appliances.”
- President Obama is killing it, climate-wise, and will continue to make the climate change fight a top priority this fall. He will build on his Clean Power Plan, which will require for the first time that states reduce emissions from their power plants, and on the emissions cap agreement with China. His executive actions, and some limited legislative ones, have had major positive impacts already: Chait, again: “The Obama administration churned out regulations forcing higher energy standards on the automobile industry, buildings, agriculture, and oil and drilling.”
- Clean energy will continue to be a job growth leader: Since 2013 the US has added 125,000 such jobs and that is projected to continue through 2016.
- China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is out “energy-revolution-izing” the US: This year alone it will add 18 gigawatts of solar capacity (US total installed capacity is 20 gigawatts). Similar strides are being made in wind and hydro-electric generation.
- Pope Francis will speak to Congress in 10 days, with fighting climate change at the top of his agenda.
Pope Francis late September speech to the US Congress about the need for the world to take serious action on climate change, is but one reason why, it says here, the Green Movement will have a better fall season than Gang Green, aka the New York Jets. (Photo credit: Bishop Cranmer)
This expected Great Green Autumn leads up to a Green Super Bowl of sorts–the UN Climate Conference from November 30 to December 11 in Paris. If the conference fails to deliver an agreement by most of the world’s countries to set real emissions targets, albeit only voluntary ones, then this campaign will be like that of the 2012 and 2014 Denver Broncos: Great regular season, flop in the playoffs.
What about the chance that Republican obstructionism, opposition and denial on climate change will stymie the Administration on COP21, roll back the Clean Power Plan, etc.? This could happen but that would only be the case if the GOP wins the White House in 2016. But today’s column is only concerned about Fall 2015. We’re not doing 2016 today.
While a flop at COP21 is a possibility (nothing major got accomplished at the last such conference, Copenhagen 2010), the opening emissions targets from the U.S., China, and Brazil (real but reachable) have been encouraging. Thus I’m confident of the strongest season for the Green Movement since perhaps the “An Inconvenient Truth” days of 2006-2007.
GANG GREEN GETTING BETTER
One game, of course, does not a season make. But the Jets, in head coach Todd Bowles debut, showed some encouraging signs in their 31-10 win over Cleveland, including:
- A strong running game, led by the under appreciated Chris Ivory and backup Bilal Powell.
- Stellar blocking by the Offensive Line
- A stingy run defense, with rookie Leonard Williams and 2nd year man Calvin Pryor demonstrating that the young core of the team is talented, indeed
- A breakout Jets curtain raiser for veteran newcomer WR Brandon Marshall. He was the player of the game.
For the Jets to harbor serious playoff thoughts this season, journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, newly arrived from Houston (and before that Tennessee, Cincinnati, and Buffalo), will have to perform at a consistent, if not boring level. “The Bearded Man from Harvard” has had his moments at his prior outposts but his arm strength is “meh” and he’s never has taken a team to the playoffs. Can he turn that around at age 32? What about the aforementioned Geno Smith? He’s glued to the bench for now, recovering from having his jaw broken by former teammate I.K. Enemkpali in a locker room fight in training camp. Hopefully Fitzpatrick plays so well that Geno sticks to clipboard-holding.
New York Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will need to have a career year if Gang Green is to make the playoffs. (Photo credit: nj.com)
It seems as though there are at least 3 other teams in the American Football Conference (Buffalo, Cleveland, and Houston) with a profile similar to that of the Jets: Strong defense, mediocre-to-weak quarterback play. Perhaps one will step up and make the playoffs. Even if it’s the Jets, I don’t think a playoff berth, as impressive as that would be, will match the strong final 3rd of 2015 of the Green Movement.
* Seriously, the Chait article in NY Magazine if amazing. If you haven’t read it–and you know who you are!
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