Obama's 7 Greenest Ideas So Far
Photo via Youth Radio
Setting a National Auto Emissions Standard
After meeting with California representatives and automakers in an attempt to have the state begin setting its own emission standards, it seemed the Obama administration had bigger things on its mind. News soon broke that Carol Browner, Obama's climate czar, was leading the administration in a charge to set a national auto emissions standard. Automakers and politicians agree, at least on the conceptual level (there are bound to be conflicts when the numbers start getting hammered down), that a single standard is far preferable to a bevy of individual states' setting different ones.
Photo via Force Change
Moving the EPA to Regulate CO2
One of the most important things the Obama administration has done for the environment is mobilized the EPA to actively take on greenhouse gas emissions. By nullifying a memo by the Bush administration, and setting up a national system where companies will be required to report their greenhouse gases, the EPA is setting the stage to help reign in carbon emissions nationwide. Now, getting the EPA involved in the regulation process for greenhouse gases is a good idea. Having them singlehandedly responsible for creating and enforcing that regulation system is not. Which is why Obama is toeing the line here: by allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases--which would be disastrous to companies that could hypothetically be fined or sued for not complying with regulations--he's framing his (or the Democrat's) cap and trade in a much more positive light. To those opposed, he presents a choice of the lesser two evils--to those concerned with climate change, he presents an opportunity for major change.
Photo via the New Republic
Pushing the Smart Grid
Obama started talking about a Smart Grid way back on the campaign trail--and though it's not his innovation, he's been effective in getting the idea to gain traction. He's even motivated Harry Reid to draft transmission legislation to help further the aim. Another initiative from the stimulus bill, modernizing the US power grid is an important undertaking that could hugely increase energy efficiency and save a ton of electricity. There's $11 billion included in the stimulus to get the ball rolling. How the smart grid will look after the available funding gets picked apart by lobbyists, or how much of it will be successfully set up during Obama's term is another story--there are already numerous quibbles and debates spurred by NIMBY concerns cropping up across the country.
All these ideas, though not all ideally formed or executed, are pointing us towards a far greener future than we'd have expected even a couple years ago. No politician is going to be perfect, including the sometimes messianic-seeming Obama--but you have to admit, he's doing some good green stuff.
Did I leave anything out? What's your favorite green Obama idea? Vote on the best green projects from the stimulus bill over at Planet Green.
More on Obama's Green Ideas:
Obama to Automakers: Make Greener American Cars or Go Under
$60 Billion for Green in the Stimulus Bill: Where the Money Will Go
Obama on Climate Bill: "We Will Get It Done. And I Will Sign It
Obama Choices for Energy & Environment Positions Widely Hailed