Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Project Shows Obama Doesn’t Do Hot Air

In his victory speech President-elect Barack Obama declared to combat “a planet in peril” in the same breath as he outlined other plans on issues such as the two wars and the financial crisis. The need for a “green recovery” as he calls it rates very high for the President-elect, which is why he will fund his $150bn (£93bn) “Apollo Project” to awaken a new alternative energy economy.

Kenny Farquharson for Scotland on Sunday earlier this month drew the comparison between the name of Obama’s project and the NASA mission to emphasise the significance of the plans.

The project, as Geoffrey Lean and Leonard Doyle in the Independent on Sunday explained, aims to expand renewable energy use insulating a million homes and putting a million rechargeable “plug-in hybrid cars” on the road by 2015. As an extra incentive green car consumers will also receive $7000 in tax credits.

Proposals to create five million “green collar” jobs have come at a time when American unemployment is at its highest in 14 years. Peter S. Goodman for the New York Times showed that the figures for unemployment had risen to 6.5 percent from 6.1 percent after 240,000 jobs were lost at the start of the month.

Catherine Brahic in the New Scientist foresees Obama embracing the cap-and-trade plans where a limit is placed on how much of a pollutant can be emitted, so in order for a company to emit more than their limit allows they must buy credits from companies that pollute less. This initiative will overturn President Bush’s long opposition to capping the amount of emissions a country produces and be among many of the present administration’s weak policies on climate change that will be scrapped.

Barack Obama’s presidential win is generating optimism among the top ranks of green activism. John Vidal in the Guardian mentioned Rodger Schlickeisen, the President of the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, who welcomed Obama’s words stating that now is a time when we can look forward to a future when the health of our planet “will not be sacrificed to appease polluting industries and campaign contribution.”

The other main green initiative outlined in Obama’s manifesto - and most optimistic of them all - are plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to the level they were at in 1990, vowing to cut 80% of emissions in 2050, matching Britain’s aims and outdoing Europe by 20%.

The first task for Obama will be to produce clear results when sending his green representatives to the UN’s climate change talks in Poznam, Poland. Will they be able to convince the world that his plans on climate change are changes we can believe in?

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