President Barack Obama's energy plans and actions during the first 100 days of his administration reveal a strong emphasis on spending to promote renewable energy technologies that will generate jobs and an effort to shift the nation to a low-carbon economy.
Obama has proposed $150 billion in federal spending for such projects in the coming decade. The recently approved economic stimulus package allocated $43 billion to boost clean and energy efficiency programs, as well as $22 billion in energy tax relief.
The $150 billion proposal was included in his federal budget plan unveiled earlier this year, which would make clean energy investments over 10 years starting in fiscal 2012.
MIT President Susan Hockfield, at White House press briefing with the President on March 23, said that the dollar amount represented “the largest and most important investment in science and technology” made by the U.S. government since the Apollo moon-landing program in the 1960s.
We have achieved more in two months in support of a new clean-energy economy than we've achieved in perhaps 30 years, Obama said at the same press conference.
The $43 billion for clean and energy efficiency were part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package. The funds will be used for improving the electrical grid, energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy research, batteries for vehicles, weatherization, rebates for home appliances, and electric vehicle technologies, among others.
President Obama's administration has also made efforts to bring China, which does not regulate carbon emissions, to collaborate with other countries to do its part to reduce global warming.
There have been other significant developments in energy and pollution policy taking place concurrently with Obama’s initiatives during his first 100 days.
During this period the Environmental Protection Agency ruled for the first time that six green house gases including carbon dioxide were a threat to human health and welfare. The ruling could lead to legislation that mandates emissions reductions.
Last week at a congressional hearing, lawmakers and industry experts debated one of the most important pieces of legislation ever introduced in the Congress, according former Vice President Al Gore. He was referring to a bill called American Clean Energy and Security Act.
The climate bill, written by Congress democrats Henry Waxman and Ed Markey is legislation that aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions and proposes renewable energy standards, energy efficiency measures and a limit to carbon emissions.