Photo via Core-Metal
The League of Conservation Voters has released its annual presidential report card, where the man in the highest office in the land is taken task for the quality of his environmental policies. The results surprised me a little: the group awarded Barack Obama a B+ for his first year in office (I summed up the president's 11 green milestones here). It's pretty damn high rating--for a point of reference, consider that Bill Clinton got a full grade lower--a C+--his first year on the job.See the full report card at the LCV site for more details, but the gist is relatively simple: Obama's heading in the right direction. He's a breath of fresh air when it comes to turning the nation towards better climate and environmental policy, but there's work yet to do.
Obama's first year in green
Here are the highlights, as selected by the LCV:
- Playing a leadership role in the House of Representatives' passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the first piece of legislation that established binding caps on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions ever to be approved by a chamber of Congress.
- Granting California's waiver to impose stricter vehicle tailpipe emissions standards, and proposing nationwide emissions standards that will result in the equivalent of taking 32 million cars off the road.
- Filling his cabinet and administration with environmental stewards, dedicated staff, scientists and experts, such as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and White House Director of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner - a "Green Dream Team."
- Finding that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pose a danger to public health and welfare, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency after a rigorous scientific review.
- Pushing for the single largest investment in clean energy in history - more than $80 billion for energy efficiency, renewable energy, public transit, high-speed rail and clean energy jobs in the economic recovery package.
- Achieving modest but critical progress at the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, including having the U.S. and China - for the first time - both at the table, working to address global climate change.
I'm inclined to agree with the summation, for the most part. Obama's got some improving to do in the messaging and effective governing departments, but as far as environmental policy goes, he's pretty on the mark.
Again, here are the 11 green milestones of Obama's first year, for further reading on the subject.
President Barack Obama
Was Barack Obama's First Year a Breath of Fresh Air?
Barack Obama and the UNFCCC