Friday, February 22, 2008

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, evangelist of change, spells out chapter and verse on his vision for America’s Energy and Environmental policy.

On Energy.

Obama’s position paper, entitled “Barack Obama’s Plan To Make America A Global Energy Leader,” covers wide-ranging (but integrally important) topics such as building efficiency standards, investment in new energy technologies, and re-thinking the energy grid.

Although this description barely skims over the mountaintops, the campaign sums up the Energy plan as follows:

Obama’s comprehensive plan to combat global warming and achieve energy security will:

Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the level recommended by top scientists to avoid calamitous impacts.

Invest $150 billion over the next ten years to develop and deploy climate friendly energy supplies, protect our existing manufacturing base and create millions of new jobs.

Dramatically improve energy efficiency to reduce energy intensity of our economy by 50 percent by 2030.

Reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce oil consumption overall by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels of oil, by 2030

Make the U.S. a leader in the global effort to combat climate change by leading a new international global warming partnership.

On the Environment.

Again, Obama addresses this issue with great detail. Clean air, clean water, climate change – all covered. But that’s just the start.

Here are some of what I found to be his most interesting proposals:

Create a Green Job Corps:
Obama will create an energy-focused youth jobs program for disconnected and disadvantaged youth. This program will provide participants with service opportunities to improve energy conservation and efficiency of homes and buildings in their communities, while also providing practical experience in important career fields of expected high-growth employment. It will also engage private sector employers and unions to provide apprenticeship opportunities. The program will also work closely with Obama’s proposed Clean Energy Corps to help participants find additional service opportunities after they complete the Green Job Corps.

Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities:

Reform Federal Transportation Funding: Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account and he will also re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country.

Require States to Plan for Energy Conservation: Barack Obama will require governors and local leaders in our metropolitan areas to make “energy conservation” a required part of their planning for the expenditure of federal transportation funds.

Use Innovative Measures to Dramatically Improve Efficiency of Buildings:

Set National Building Efficiency Goals: Barack Obama will establish a goal of making all new buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. He’ll also establish a national goal of improving new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade to help us meet the 2030 goal.

Establish a Grant Program for Early Adopters: Barack Obama will create a competitive grant program to award those states and localities that take the first steps in implementing new building codes that prioritize energy efficiency. He will also provide a federal match for those states with public benefits funds that support energy efficiency retrofits for existing buildings.

Flip Incentives to Energy Utilities: Barack Obama will work to provide incentives for energy conservation by ensuring utilities get increased profits for improving energy efficiency, rather than higher energy consumption. This decoupling of profits from increased energy usage will incentivize utilities to partner with consumers and the federal government to reduce monthly energy bills for families and businesses. Obama will provide early adopter grants and other financial assistance from the federal government to states that implement this energy efficient policy.

And I could go on and on. Really. I urge you to dive into these two outlines of Senator Obama’s Energy and Environmental policy. It may not be hellfire and brimstone, but policies like this may just keep us from experiencing it on earth.

On Energy:

On the Environment:


Diane MacEachern said...

Thanks for posting this, James. It's also informative to compare the LCV scores of both Democratic contenders and the Republicans. In 2007, Clinton voted for the environment 73% of the time; Obama 67% of the time, and McCain 0% of the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where you dug this stuff up. When i looked at his policy paper on his website, everything he said made him sound like a front man for coal and nukes. He's a much more aspirational figure than Clinton, but her energy policy, at least on the surface, has much more vision, and this is the single most important issue of our time. Then again, Bill Clinton helped to perpetuate the hegemony of big oil. Carter's vision of almost 30 years ago has yet to be repeated.