Barack Obama's Energy and Environment Strategy

| 1st March 2009
Ecologist: News Analysis
US President Barack Obama’s Energy and Environment Plan is perhaps the most ambitious strategy for sustainability the world has ever seen.

Questions will certainly be asked about Obama's plans for continued oil and gas exploration, as well as his drive towards second-generation biofuels.

However, there is no doubting that the scale of Obama's planned investments in renewable energy, efficient vehicles and emissions reductions will set the US firmly in the frontline of action on global warming and energy security:

Introduce an economy-wide greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions 80 per cent by 2050. All pollution permits to be auctioned, not given away.

'Weatherise' one million homes annually for the next decade, upgrading domestic boilers, draughtproofing and house insulation.

Put one million domestically built, plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2012, each capable of achieving 150 miles per gallon.

Establish a national low carbon fuel standard to steadily reduce the carbon content of fuels, as well as to directly but sustainably incentivise next-generation biofuels.

Roll out an ambitious energy efficiency strategy, reducing electricity demand 15 per cent from projected levels by 2020.
Incentivise and deploy carbon capture and storage technology, in some cases using the captured carbon dioxide to drive oil from ailing wells.

Ensure 10 per cent of US electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 per cent by 2025. Solar, wind and geothermal to be incentivised.

Save more oil in the next 10 years than the Us currently imports from Venezuela and the Middle East combined.

Build more 'livable' and sustainable communities
, with facilities for walking, cycling and public transport.

Install 'smart grid' facilities across the nation, including smart metering, energy storage and energy-monitoring equipment to make best use of fossil and renewable electricity.

Federal Government, currently the largest energy consumer in the world, to reduce energy use by 15 per cent by 2015.

Clampdown on energy speculation – close regulatory loopholes to stop commodity traders driving up the price of energy for everyone.

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