Obama’s green response to the crisis

This is very good news, given concerns that the economic crisis would push climate change off the table:

Barack Obama and congressional leaders are preparing rapid legislation to cut US emissions that cause global warming and to kick-start a clean energy revolution.

Two bills are to be introduced as soon as the President-elect takes office in January. One will provide $15bn (£10.1bn) a year to encourage innovation in renewable energies as part of a thorough overhaul of the highly polluting US energy system. The other will pave the way to setting up a system of tradable emissions permits to combat global warming. The moves, to be taken quicker than expected, will galvanise top-level international negotiations on a new climate treaty that reopens in Poznan, Poland, next week, and will greatly boost attempts to bring in a “green new deal” as the best way out of the financial crisis.

… In his weekly radio address, he announced that he has ordered his advisers to produce an economic recovery plan that will create 2.5 million new jobs in two years by building windfarms, making solar panels and fuel-efficient cars, as well as in modernising schools and re-building crumbling infrastructure.

… Mr Obama wants to return US emissions of carbon dioxide to 1990 levels by 2020, and cut them by a further 80 per cent by 2050. Last week in a video address to a global warming summit he promised to set “strong annual targets” to achieve this. He added: “My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process.”

Hopefully, the Obama shift of American politics to the left will drag Canada along with it. If the US creates a cap-and-trade system, Canada will inevitably join. If the US puts together a bail-out package for the auto sector tied to major improvments in fuel efficiency and low emission vehicles, Canada will go along too. Barack Obama could just become the best leader Canada ever had.

One comment

  • Yes this is definitely positive news.

    There is a weird dynamic developing here and this hopefully will lead to change within our electorate.

    As you point out Obama’s policies could start to be compared and contrasted to Harper’s policies and shining the spotlight in such a way could do some serious harm for Mr. Harper’s future.

    The environment is just one issue and we see already that Obama is ready and willing to take on the issue. Our government compared to these actions will look pathetically dismal in this light.

    We are not accustomed to our neighbours having such socially responsible policies than us. This will definitely provide some initiative for Harper to turn more to the center. However, given the ideologues in his camp I wonder if that will actually be possible.

    It is an interesting dynamic and undoubtedly a positive step forward, but lets not start eating the candy just yet.


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