The US's new President has a lot on his plate. An unsustainable and unstable energy supply, a crumbling economy with skyrocketing unemployment, and an environmental crisis the likes of which have never been seen.
And, I suppose, he could take on all of these issues one by one...but that just wouldn't be in the spirit of things. Obama seems to have a "one plan to cure them all" kind of attitude and, so far, I'm a fan.
According to his weekly YouTube address, shown above, Obama plans to add three million jobs to the American economy by doubling renewable energy production and vastly improving the efficiency of existing buildings. Jobs, Energy and Environment in one sentence! And if he's including hydro-electric in his renewable energy production numbers, than this is a HUGE commitment. Of course, he doesn't say when it will be done, so we should all reserve judgment until we get a few more specifics.
Of course, this approach is dangerous. By focusing on all three, it's possible that none of them are going to be addressed adequately. Indeed, this plan might be the worst way of all to create jobs and deal with our environmental crisis. But that's not the way it looks to me.
By focusing on efficiency, Obama guarantees energy savings for his buck, and also the creation of infinitely employable jobs retrofitting existing buildings. This creates a very high number of jobs per dollar spent, and they are jobs that can never be outsourced.
Additionally, by setting high but achievable goals for renewable energy production, he creates the foundation of a long-term energy strategy in which we don't just use less, but we replace existing power generation with clean sources. And, theoretically, this plan might breathe a little life into the all-promising growth sector of renewable energy.
Now, I could be wrong about this, I might just be a fanboy with very little economic training (OK, I definitely am.) But I think the time is ripe for a real domestic energy strategy that utilizes the innovation and dedication of the American people.
written by sherry, January 04, 2009
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