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Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-11-06 13:09

pic:ecosalonpic:ecosalonIt goes against the grain to write about America’s new president as if he sets the tone for the rest of the world – how often do we ask ourselves what difference the leaders of New Zealand, Denmark, Germany or Iceland, for instance, will make to us all? But you have to give credit where credit is due and kudos to the American public for electing Barack Obama!

But what can we expect from Obama’s environmental direction, and can he be held accountable to his campaign promises?

[Alternet] After eight years of near-paralysis on the climate front, and in the midst of our biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the election of Barack Obama and a host of new Members of Congress -- many of whom support clean, renewable energy, green-collar jobs and caps on carbon emissions -- gives us hope that we'll finally get the bold climate leadership we've been looking for in Washington...

What’s on the green agenda for Obama?

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 – his statement at Detroit Economic club shows the intention of reducing vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 5% in 2015 and 10% in 2020
  • A cap-and-trade policy in which all pollution credits would be auctioned – proceeds to go towards investments in clean, renewable energy, helping workers affected by this economic transition and helping lower-income families with their energy costs.
  • 10% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025
  • greater investment in energy efficiency
  • investment of $150 billion into energy technology, thereby creating
  • five million green-collar jobs
  • reduction in national oil consumption by at least 35% by 2030
  • a reduction in national energy usage of 50% by 2030

He also has a cautious approach towards nuclear energy. He has warned that, before an expansion of nuclear power is considered, key issues must be addressed, including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation. Given all the risks nuclear power carries, and the exorbitant cost of building new plants, it isn't a realistic alternative to fossil fuels and we're (Alternet) glad to see the President-elect is cool to the idea. Obama has outlined his plan of supporting and maintaining existing plants, but with the emphasis on investing in new energy sources. (we hope the SA government takes a leaf out of his book!)

Pollution is a major eco-issue for Obama. He insisted that 100% of emission credits should be auctioned off, ensuring that all pollution is paid for by the people that produced it. (Something Al Gore is sure to like.)

Obama’s administration has 4 years to turn these visionary promises into something tangible, and that's the real challenge - but right now, there's plenty to be optimistic about.

Sources: [alternet] [ecosalon] via [hugg]


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