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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The First Green President of the United States

With regards to Obama and his strategies for greening American, his policies may not be perfect, but when it comes to the big picture Barack Obama gets it. The following candid statement of his on the ridiculousness of some of the debate questions gives us an inside look at his approach to solving the climate crisis.

When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, "I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."
With our economy and financial markets in shambles, it is fair to ask what could a President Obama realistically achieve early in his first term in the White House to put us on the track to energy independence and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. My friend Costa beat me to the punch and wrote a nice summary of the potential green measures taken by the new Obama administration over at Sustainable Research.

The following sites also detail Obama's energy and environmental policies.

Earth2Tech: FAQ: The Obama Energy Plan
Gristmill: Is Obama's energy plan change we can believe in?
Robert F. Kennedy Jr: Obama's Energy Plan will create green gold rush
Reuters: Obama's Energy Plan may be Curbed but not Halted

In addition to some of the action items listed in Obama's policy papers and the aforementioned websites I have a short list of the top priorities that I think the Obama adinistration will address starting during its first 12 months.
  1. Launch the $150 billion clean tech venture fund ($15 billion in clean tech investments and grants each year)
  2. Work on a detailed plan that incentivizes American automakers to retool their factories and start building more hybrid electric and plug in hybrid vehicles. Back in 2006 Obama co-sponsored legislation called "Health Care for Hybrids" where the government would provide assistance for the automakers' employee health insurance in exchange for a commitment and investment by Detroit automakers in more fuel efficient vehicles.
  3. Create a National Infrastructure Bank which would be in charge of distributing funding for billions in dollars of new infrastructure and infrastructure improvement projects. My friends - this would be real fiscal stimulus we can believe in.
  4. Create the ground work for a national cap and trade system - this probably will not come into effect until at least year two or three of his first term
  5. Create an incentive program to reach Obama's goal of 1 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road by 2015
  6. Re-launch the federal initiative for a carbon sequestration pilot plant (FutureGen 2)

The following details are from the Obama campaign's New Energy for America Plan:

The Obama-Biden comprehensive New Energy for America plan will:

  • Provide short-term relief to American families facing pain at the pump
  • Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
  • Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
  • Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars -- cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon -- on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.
  • Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
  • Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Provide Short-term Relief to American Families

• Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families.
• Crack Down on Excessive Energy Speculation.
• Swap Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Cut Prices.

Learn More...

Eliminate Our Current Imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 Years

• Increase Fuel Economy Standards.
• Get 1 Million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the Road by 2015.
• Create a New $7,000 Tax Credit for Purchasing Advanced Vehicles.
• Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
• A “Use it or Lose It” Approach to Existing Oil and Gas Leases.
• Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas.

Learn More...

Create Millions of New Green Jobs

• Ensure 10 percent of Our Electricity Comes from Renewable Sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
• Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
• Weatherize One Million Homes Annually.
• Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.
• Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.

Learn More...

Reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80 Percent by 2050

• Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
• Make the U.S. a Leader on Climate Change.


Costa said...

Great post! I think the National Infrastructure Bank is long overdue and really hope it becomes a reality early into the administration.

Schultz said...

Thanks! I am glad to see that you are now a fellow member of The Energy Collective!