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President Obama makes bold steps to ensure US leadership in Green

Yesterday, President Obama gave a very comprehensive speech for economic recovery for the US, focusing on energy, healthcare and education whilst dealing with the immediate credit crunch and housing issues. He really put the energy issues at the forefront.

“My budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue. It reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited: a trillion-dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession. It begins with energy.”

He went on to describe the realities of dependence on foreign oil, how the US is lagging behind China and the rest of the world on energy efficiency and Green Power, how much of the stimulus will go to construction of solar and wind farms and to lay down thousands of miles of lines that can bring green energy to cities and communities, putting in $15 billion a year for R&D in renewable energies and ensuring leadership in the autoindustry by rolling out hybrid and better cars.

What to me was the most exciting, was his courage to adopt the carbon taxation to create economic disincentives to use fossil fuels, and thus creating the business model for us to go Green. To quote:

“But to truly transform our economy, to protect our security and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. That’s what we need.”

Green Power today is still costlier than fossil fuel energy. The ultimate goal is to make it cheaper than fossil fuels but in the interim, regulations, policies and incentives will be key to create a clear business case for Green. Countries such as Denmark and France, which adopted the carbon tax approach, are today some of the leaders of Green energy in the world today. Denmark has companies such as Vestas exporting solutions to the United States and around the world. I really did not think that this administration could and would take on this tax, given the varied number of issues it has to deal with.  I am so glad President Obama is attacking it head on. Without this, going Green would take a lot longer for the US, especially in these hard economic times.

I recommend you read “Hot, Flat and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman for a journalistic elaboration of why the US is lagging behind the rest of the world in the Green agenda. Carbon tax is one point he clearly shows is a key factor for change.

I certainly hope we can rally sufficient support in Congress and Senate to get this passed sooner than later. However, we will also need global support to make this work, otherwise companies will just be given further incentive to move offshores. Commitment made at the upcoming Copenhagen meeting (the US never signed the Kyoto protocol), will enable the USA’s capability to lead other countries to do the same.

This article was posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 10:51 am You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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