On Tuesday September
4, 2012, Democrats opened their national convention by defending President
Obama’s record and asking Americans to be patient. In their first four years in office, the Obama
administration’s green efforts have been resisted by unprecedented Republican obstructionism and an electorate misinformed
about the science of climate change. Others have
criticized Obama for not doing enough to move the green agenda
Despite a highly polarized
political landscape, Obama has accomplished a great deal on energy and the
environment. President Obama has worked to advance green jobs, electric
vehicles, conservation, clean energy and efficiency.
Obama has made the environment a national priority, and a primary
source for job creation. The election of Obama was a radical
departure from the G.W. Bush administration which was responsible for 150 actions undermining
Obama has advanced clean energy investments and green job
creation. He has created job training programs in clean
technologies for displaced workers and the Green
Vet Initiative to promote environmental jobs for veterans. He has dedicated
$150 million for Pathways Out of Poverty green jobs training
grants. Green investments in Obama’s $789 billion economic stimulus
included tens of billions of dollars for green retrofits
of federal-buildings. Obama also imposed greener
procurement policies for government agencies.
The Obama administration raised the standards for cars and
light trucks for Model Years 2011-2016 to 35.5 mpg. Recently, the Obama
Administration finalized new vehicle standards of 54.5 mpg that are
scheduled to be implemented by 2025. This will save consumers more than
$1.7 trillion at the gas pump which amounts to $8,000 over the life of a
vehicle. The standard reduces US
oil consumption by 12 billion barrels or 3.1 million barrels per day by 2030. It will
also reduce carbon pollution by 570 million metric tons in 2030. The new
standard is also a winner for automakers as it will increases their profits and create 570,000 new jobs between 2017-2025.
The Obama administration has provided attractive tax credits for those who buy hybrid
automobiles. The “cash for clunkers” program offered vouchers
to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars. Obama set the
goal of one million electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2020. As
a function of the President’s efforts, there will be almost 5 million charging stations by 2015. The
President is also working towards the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies.
On the issue of conservation, Obama has supported the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009,
the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and led
an effort to phase out whaling. He set up partnerships to share environmental technology
with other countries. He increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and national parks and forests. He allocated $175 million of ARRA for water conservation
and he also worked to protect the Antarctic. Through an executive order, the President helped to protect
the oceans, U.S. coasts and the Great Lakes.
Another executive order established Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and
Economic Performance. He also signed an Executive order for Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration.
Perhaps his greatest efforts have been in clean energy. As
evidenced by his State of the Union addresses in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, the President has been a stalwart
champion of renewable energy. The budget is part of the President’s energy plan
to double electricity output from clean sources by 2035. The President’s
goal is produce 80 percent of U.S. electricity from clean sources
Obama is the first President to have a detailed vision for a clean energy economy.
Renewable energy has grown dramatically under the Obama administration.
Under Obama’s stewardship, wind power has grown by 39 percent and he proposed a national
renewable portfolio standard which would require that energy plants produce 15 percent of their energy from renewable
Through the EPA, The Obama administration has enacted regulations
on new power plants that make it harder to build new highly polluting coal-fired
plants. The President has worked to make the clean energy tax credits permanent. He has
established an Energy Partnership for the Americas and
a program to convert manufacturing centers into clean
The President has doubled federal spending for research on
clean fuels and invested $60 billion in tax incentives for renewable
and clean energy. He has invested in all types of alternative energy, increased
funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and invested
$2 billion in solar power.
Obama has overseen the first release of a smart grid framework. He gave farmers incentives to use more
renewable energy and be more energy efficient. Recently Obama signed an executive order focused on efficiency that sets a national
goal of 40 GW of new combined heat and power (CHP) by the end of 2020.
The 2013 Budget Proposal
President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal supports efficiency, renewable
energy, green jobs, clean air, clean water, and a livable climate. Here
are the details of some of the greener elements of the
President’s 2013 budget:
- A clean energy standard for electricity production, so that by
2035, 80 percent will be come from low-carbon sources like wind, solar,
natural gas and nuclear
- $2.33 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy, a 29 percent increase
- $5 billion for the Office of Science, a 2.4% increase
- $1.2 billion for energy efficiency, including clean vehicle
- $310 million for the SunShot Initiative for cost-competitive solar
- $95 million for wind energy
- $65 million for geothermal
- $350 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy
(ARPA-E) for transformative energy innovation research
- $770 million to develop small modular reactors
- Extended renewable energy tax credits
- $27.2 billion for the Department of Energy, a 3.2 percent increase
over what Congress enacted last year:
- $2.3 billion would go towards research and development for energy
efficiency, advanced vehicles and biofuels.
- $522 million increase in renewable energy sources and an additional
$174 million for a revamped industrial technology-advanced manufacturing
- $12 million would go towards multi-year research investments in
safer natural gas infrastructure in order to reduce risks associated with
hydraulic fracturing in shale formations.
- Pipeline safety would receive a 70 percent, or $64 million,
- Approximately $1 billion for energy conservation efforts in the
Department of Defense (DOD), which is the world’s largest energy consumer.
- DOD is increasing its commitment to renewable energy, which now
makes up 8.5 percent of its energy production and procurement.
- $174 million for sustainable fisheries work by the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, which supports the science and management
needed to support the commercial fishing industry that supports 1 million
jobs and yields more than $32 billion in income every year.
- $28 million for the National Catch Share Program, a critical part
of the nation’s strategy to return its fisheries to abundance.
- $47 billion for high-speed rail.
- $66 million for air quality programs to help states meet new
- $5 million to hire more inspectors for high-risk oil and chemical
- $450 million to preserve public lands.
- $28 million for new inspectors.
While the President is investing
millions in America,
Big Oil is spending millions to try to unseat him. The Koch funded
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has launched an aggressive tour to try to
denigrate the President’s accomplishments.
President Obama has been a champion of the environment over the
last four years and if he succeeds in his reelection bid in 2012, we can expect
a great deal more.
US 2012 Presidential Elections: President Obama Addresses Climate Change (Video)
President Obama Spells out his Climate Change Agenda Before Taking Office (Video)
President Obama Addresses Climate Change at the UN (Video)
Why President Obama was Unable to do More on the Environment (Video)
The Green Elements of the First 2012 Presidential Debate
President Obama’s Efforts on the Environment and Education
Taking Stock of President Obama’s Environmental Efforts
The Obama Administration Has Grown Renewable Energy
American Voters Want More Renewable Energy
Obama’s Energy Efficiency Executive Order for Industry
Obama Administration’s New Vehicle Standards
Romney Lied about the Success of Obama’s Green Stimulus
Romney’s Coal Fired Campaign Versus Obama’s Wind Power
Obama Striving to Put an End to Oil Subsidies
Obama’s National Goal of One Million EVs by 2020
Obama’s Jobs Plan Emphasizes green employment
Obama 2013 Budget Seeks to Make Renewable Tax Credits Permanent
Clean Energy Excerpts of President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Speech
President Obama’s 2013 Environmental Budget
Excerpts of President Obama’s American Jobs Act
Energy Efficiency Partnerships: Obama’s American Jobs Act
President Obama’s American Jobs Act (Video)
Environmental Politics: Obama Versus the GOP
Highlights of Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address
Excerpts of President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address
Obama Renews His Commitments to Clean Energy and Efficiency
Excerpts from President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address
President Obama’s “HomeStar” Program
Alternative Energy Investments Under Obama