Green Economy
Environmentalists Help Obama Create New Green Economy

By Jessie Fetterling
December 1, 2008

Environmentalists are on President-elect Barack Obama’s side. Twenty-nine
environmental and conservation groups recently provided Obama’s transition team
with a 391-page plan for federal action on the economic, climate and
environmental crises. Their plan coincides with many of Obama’s ideas about
creating a green economy, but it’s their knowledge and expertise that will help
the new administration overcome some of the challenges it faces. In a
teleconference on Nov. 25, leaders from the groups spoke about the plan and the
priorities that they believe must be addressed … and fast.

Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters, argued that “The
solution to our problems is a new green economy. The last thing you want to do
is delay it: It’s not just bad for the planet, it’s bad for the economy.”

While these environmentalists support Obama’s vision, they believe that at the
center of his economic recovery strategy needs to be three specific goals: to
cut carbon emissions, to create clean energy and to end America’s dependency on
oil. In order to accomplish these goals, the group supports the cap and trade
system that will put a price on carbon and limit emissions. They also support
Obama’s push for clean renewable energy to cut oil dependency and create
millions of paying green-collared jobs. And they agree with promoting hybrid
cars and other fuel-efficient cars to create ways for Americans to travel
further on a gallon of gas.

For this economic opportunity to be successful, though, the group believes
certain initial actions must be taken. For example, the group states that in the
first 100 days of Obama’s presidency, the new administration needs to stop any
midnight policies made by the Bush administration before any more environmental
damage is done. The Obama administration also needs to place strong
environmental leaders with the same values of the president and the
environmental community in the proper administrative positions. The group also
believes that unbiased science should play a primary role in creating effective
environmental policy.

The detailed plan includes many other ideas to help guide the Obama
administration in environmental stewardship, including the restoration of
natural resources. But after eight years of environmental neglect, the new
administration will have a lot of cleaning up to do. The next four years should
definitely be interesting, to say the least.


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