Will Obama come through on his Environmental Election pledges?

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Courtesy of LexisNexis

Barack Obama’s presidency has the potential to bring genuine change to the west. Whether it’s racial equality or climate change and energy sources, many Americans are optimistic about the future.

Soon we will find out whether Barack meant it when he said that whatever the financial circumstances, he would strive to equip America with home-grown, green sources of energy as his number one priority.

Particularly considering recent economic conditions, it may seem prudent to wait until the market improves before investing heavily in new green technologies. In another way, it makes more sense to create a revolutionary energy source now, as it could kick-start growth and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and also create a wealth of new ‘green jobs’.

California is currently legislating a carbon-cutting scheme deliberately designed to be easily translatable into national policy. California also has entrepreneurs with supporters who are willing to invest in solar and wind power, and second-generation biofuels and other green energy sources, but they are waiting for the tax breaks and legal fast-tracking which will make the enterprise profitable.

Green energy has the potential to be the growth industry previously fulfilled by internet and IT sectors.

To prevent catastrophic climate change, we need to act now. Change needs to eminate from the United States since other ‘super powers’ China and India are still developing economically and cannot afford to invest in green technology to the same extent.

The U.S has the markets, the capital, the technology and now, a political leader willing to commit to the cause. America is in a unique position to shape the progression of fast-emerging economies like China if they can convince them to adopt new green technologies.

Obama has set out his ‘New Energy for America’ plan to help American families “facing pain at the pump” as a result of increasing oil prices.

The Promises “New Energy for America” plan
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.

It remains to be seen whether Obama will come through on his environmental commitments. Election pledges don’t always translate into political leadership and so only time will tell if America finally has a genuinely environmentally forward-thinking leader.

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