Photo via Stand Up for America
With climate bill hearings in full swing over in the Senate, the White House has finally begun a push for clean energy reform. Yesterday, key White House officials spoke in favor of climate legislation. Both Obama and Biden toured high-profile clean energy projects--a solar power plant and an electric car company, respectively. And today, the White House hosted an energy forum where top level cabinet members revealed strategies for pushing clean energy reform. Here's the plan. While the House climate bill was struggling, and eventually only narrowly passed, Obama caught flack from environmentalists for standing on the sidelines too much. This go around, it looks like he's (finally) taking a more proactive role. He's given speeches stressing the importance of climate action, and yesterday, he was in Florida, where he toured the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Sarasota.
And his climate and energy team held a clean energy forum at the White House to publicly discuss reform plans. According to NY Times reporter Andrew Revkin, who's live blogging the forum, there was in-depth discussion of energy reform strategy. White House officials talked about what the administration needs to focus on, how to promote clean energy to the American public, and how to get funding to clean tech.
For instance Stephen Chu, the Secretary of Energy, notes that a climate bill is necessary to entice long term private investment for clean energy projects. He says that "'shock and trance' cycles of tax credits [are] precisely why the country needs the energy and climate bill. 'With the proper long-term signals,' he says, innovation in the United States is superior to anything in the world."
A little later,
Cathy Zoi, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, says the administration needs to "create more seeing is believing" success stories. She describes a farmer in Montana who had been skeptical about the need for an energy revolution but is now getting more income from wind-turbine leases than agriculture. As an advocate, running a climate group, she learned that data alone can't drive change; the effort must "capture hearts and minds."
She went on to say it's necessary to look for more "ways to convince more Americans that the country is on the cusp of a new industrial revolution."
And in Florida, Obama said, after he allocated $3.4 billion to projects designed to modernize the smart grid, "At this moment, there's something big happening in America, when it comes to creating a clean-energy economy," Mr. Obama said. "But getting there will take a few more days like this one, and more projects like this one."
Read the whole live blog of the White House Energy Forum here.
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