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.
For more on Obama’s environmental policy, read Obama Addresses Fight Against Climate Change and Obama’s Changing Climate Change. Or share your thoughts or suggestions about how the Obama administration can improve the economy, climate and/or environment in the comment section below.