7 Green Things Obama Should Do Over the Next 100 Days
Photo via NY Mag
Yesterday marked Obama's 100th day in office, but if you were within 50 feet of any sort of media yesterday, you already knew that. We marked the occasion with an Obama Timeline of his first 100 days in green. But those 100 days, while certainly filled with a slew of good first steps, are far from definitive in terms of judging Obama's green agenda. What really matters, of course, is what comes next. And so, in celebration of the first day of Obama's Next 100 Days, here are a few ideas of what he could and should do now.
Photo via Business Pundit
1. Put the Pressure on Congress to Pass a Cap and Trade
Even though Obama's cap and trade didn't make it through the budget process, he should still keep the pressure on to get one through Congress--a move he's said he prefers anyways. His EPA recently made big news when it deemed greenhouse gases a threat to human health, and opened up the possibility of regulating them as pollutants. He should continue using this as leverage to prod Congress to pass climate legislation soon, since nobody wants an EPA singlehandedly regulating CO2 emissions. However, he seems to be slackening in his resolve to do this--he hasn't even publicly endorsed the Democrats' ambitious climate bill.
Photo via Motor Trend
2. Get His Hands Dirty Making the Auto Industry Cleaner
He's made a few promising moves in this department, like denying the big automakers bailout money for not making green enough plans and agreeing to let states set their own emissions limits. But both of those acts are passive: he could and should take the initiative here. He could give the Big 3 a much sterner, much more public lashing than he has--after all, their backward-looking business models and complete inattention to fuel efficiency is a huge part of why they're struggling. More importantly, Obama should go ahead and set a national auto emissions standard, as he's pondered doing before--even the automakers say they'd rather that than a bevy of different state rules. At the very least, he could get CAFE into shape with more modern, stricter emissions standards.
Photo via Eco Scraps
3. Steer Away From Clean Coal
Yes, it's well known that one of Obama's green shortcomings is his penchant for supporting clean coal. There's $3.4 billion in the stimulus to research and develop the so-called clean coal technology, and other than the political gain he gets from labor unions by trumpeting the oxymoronic concept, it's a total waste. The sooner he steers away, the better. Obama needs to come face to face with the fact that clean coal is not viable, and start breaking it to the coal-heavy states. And while we're on coal, even though his EPA is doing great work in coming down on coal, Obama really needs to put the kibosh on prospective plants opening, and once and for all put an end to mountaintop removal mining.
Photo via Center for American Progress
4. Set US Carbon Reduction Targets
The road to Copenhagen--where the replacement for the Kyoto Protocol will be drafted this coming December--is a long one to be sure. Obama should let the world (and the citizens of his own country) know he's serious by laying out US carbon reduction targets that stack up to emission goals of other leading nations. Which brings us to No. 5 . . .