Photo via NY Times
Obama spent Earth Day in Newton, Iowa for a reason: to make an example of the transformative power of renewable energy. According to the NY Times, Newton was a town run by Maytag. Since Maytag has gone, and left a depressed economy there in its wake, hope for new jobs lay in newly opened wind turbine manufacturing plants. Obama was there to point out the "win-win" situation that he hopes will save both the economy and the environment.He gave a widely publicized 35 minute speech that touched on the need for an energy efficient future. Obama said that the US should be generating 20% of its energy from wind power alone.
From the Times:
"Now, in comparison, Denmark produces almost 20 percent of their electricity through wind power," Mr. Obama said. "We pioneered solar technology, but we've fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in generating it, even though we've got more sun than either country. I don't accept this is the way it has to be."
Obama went a long way in answering critics who say that such a time of economic recession is unfit for heavy investment in efficient energy.
"The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy," Mr. Obama said. "The choice we face is between prosperity and decline. We can remain the world's leading importer of oil, or we can become the world's leading exporter of clean energy."
They were big, ambitious Earth Day words—and along with the Earth Day proclamation he issued, continue to stir hope in environmentalists. But there's still much that's uncertain. As of now, Obama has yet to endorse the Democrats' climate and energy bill that would go a long way in answering some of his key plans. That bill would set, among other things, a national renewable energy standard in keeping with Obama's vision for a renewable energy powered America. But other components, like a controversial cap and trade system, make it a political hot button. Time will tell how far Obama is willing to go to live up to his stated green jobs/economy reviving/greenhouse gas curbing goals for the nation.
More on Obama and Renewable Energy:
My Bottom Line is Green: McCain v. Obama on Renewable Energy
Guide to the Green Projects in Obama's Economic Stimulus Bill