Obama's Clean Energy Jobs

In the weekly address from the President-Elect, Barack Obama, on Saturday 10th January, you could be forgiven for hoping he was talking just about environmental issues when he stated:

These numbers are a stark reminder that we simply cannot continue on our current path.

Rising temperatures or sea levels? Disappearing rainforests? Breakup of glaciers or endangered species? He continued:

It’s not too late to change course – but only if we take immediate and dramatic action.

Again, snippets of this speech could well be about curbing CO2 levels, reducing oil consumption, simply stopping pollution or a war against litter.

But no, this speech addresses the economic crisis in America where job losses are at their highest since the second world war. America's next President plans to embark upon a national spending plan to "kick start" the economy.

Amidst a raft of initiatives to save or create as many as 3 or 4 million jobs, including repairing the USA's "crumbling infrastructure", creating educational jobs and improving healthcare there are some environmental plans.

We’ll create nearly half a million jobs by investing in clean energy – by committing to double the production of alternative energy in the next three years, and by modernizing more than 75% of federal buildings and improving the energy efficiency of two million American homes. These made-in-America jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, developing fuel-efficient cars and new energy technologies pay well, and they can’t be outsourced.

That's quite a turnaround from the continued consumption of oil we've seen and the bailout of auto industries that continued churning out gas-guzzling trucks in the midst of growing concerns over sustainability. Barack Obama seems to be going in the right direction after years of the country's "top brass" avoiding environmental issues, let's hope his plans make a positive impact.

The biggest concern we have is regarding the laying of the "foundation for future growth"... for a country with the biggest ecological footprint1 (per person) on the planet, we hope the growth figure is a sustainable one?

See the full speech and transcript at change.gov

1 Living Planet Report 2008

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*all fingers crossed*