So What's in Obama's Overstuffed Environmental Suggestion Box?

obama overstuffed environmental suggestion box photo

Photo courtesy of Timeout

After Election Day yielded a brand new (allegedly) environmentally progressive president-elect, the green-mined media and blogosphere predictably spawned a deluge of To-Do and Should-Do lists for the new head of state-to-be. Everyone from the prestigious New York Times to humble ol' yours truly was guilty of contributing to the advisory frenzy. But as resident TreeHugger John Laumer sagely pointed out shortly after, such suggestions are largely ineffective and potentially counter-productive: the most important thing we can do at the moment is fall in—Obama's suggestion box is full.

However, that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile to peruse the suggestion box for recommendations drafted by some of the most respected environmental committees and organizations in the nation—even if Obama will likely never get around to reading them. Here are three leading environmental organizations' outlined suggestions for the new president-elect:
1. Presidential Action Climate Project
This group features a panel consisting of former senators and the likes of Ray Anderson, the CEO gone-green and now-chairman of Interface. And its contribution to the burgeoning box of environmental advice is:

-A tenfold increase in the federal investment in developing and commercializing clean energy technologies;

-A 30 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 50 percent reduction on petroleum consumption by 2020

-A CAFE standard of 50 miles per gallon by 2025; and

-Meeting America's energy needs without constructing any new conventional coal power plants.

2. The American Wind Energy Association
Seems like AWEA will be swinging by Washington to drop off a few suggestions too. And it looks like they'll mostly concern—surprise—the importance of investing in wind power. Randall Swisher, AWEA's executive Director has issued the following advice:

" . . . Federal policy adjustments are needed to help the industry perform well in the context of the current financial situation. More broadly, the nation needs an energy policy that places a high priority on renewable energy both to stimulate the economy and fight climate change. With demand for clean, domestic energy resources on the rise and the need for environmental solutions becoming more urgent, wind power is the best option to quickly and lastingly address some of our nation's most pressing challenges."

AWEA also outlines the following suggestions:

-A national renewable electricity standard,

-A long-term extension of the renewable energy production tax credit,

-A process to facilitate investment in transmission lines to tap the nation's vast wind and other renewable energy sources

-Meaningful climate change legislation measures

3. American Farmland Trust
With Mr. Obama heading for office, the AFT has issued a release with the following heading: "America Has a Historic Opportunity to Shape Farm and Food Policy." It includes, of course, a list of recommendations regarding agricultural policy for the upcoming term. Some highlights:

-Focus greater attention on protecting farmland and improving the economic viability of farms;

-Increase the availability of fresh, local foods;

-Give farmers incentives to protect the environment; and,

-Strengthen the connection between local farms and consumers.

Some sound suggestions, there. But . . .
On one hand, these organizations' commendable initiatives and readiness to engage a new political era is admirable. But looking over just these three organizations' varied suggestions, you get a sense of how exhausting this incessant advice-giving is—and that, if anything, it might be overwhelming any potentially receptive parties. I'll refer you again to the sound call for patience and cooperation advocated by Mr. Laumer—and reiterate that once all the well-meaning white noise fades, we should all be ready and willing to help usher in the new era of environmental policy.

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