In his “New Energy for America” plan, President Obama sets very ambitious goals. Some of those ambitions include cutting carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, ensuring that 25 % of our electricity comes from renewable resources by 2025, and putting 1 million plug-in electric hybrids on the road by 2015 . Are these goals attainable? He certainly lives up to his ambitious front with the new stimulus. He plans to kill two birds with one stone by creating new “green jobs” and providing tax cuts for energy efficiency. Such an approach may prove effective because, with the economy as it is, environmentally-friendly-energy-consciousness sinks to a lower priority. An important part of the future of the world is that people make different choices, and the stimulus will hopefully encourage them (and us) to do so. People are generally comfortable with the status quo and won’t change on their own. Perhaps this is the “change we need”. Is it enough, though? Such a hard-charging, front-loading approach to change in energy and the economy doesn’t seem very strategic in the long run. It seems like a one shot deal. What if the plan fails? How many times can you throw $798 billion into the economy? A quote from The Economist concerning the stimulus’s affect on the economy can also transfer to energy: “Fiscal stimulus, indispensible as it is, cannot create a lasting economic recovery in a broken financial system .” One could argue that the same could be said of a broken energy system.
1. Barack Obama and Joe Biden: New Energy for America. http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/factsheet_energy_speech_080308.pdf
2. "The Obama rescue." The Economist 14 Feb. 2009: 13.