A breath of fresh air: Obama’s amazing first year

Obama’s achievements in climate and clean energy have been unprecedented, as I’ve discussed.  And while he still needs a domestic climate bill and an international deal to be a true success, his accomplishments after one year in office deserve enumerating, if only because the status quo media won’t.  So here is Daniel Weiss in a CAP repost.  The AP photo is of Obama touring a Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, FL last October (see Creating a clean energy economy will require an “all-hands-on-deck approach similar to the mobilization that preceded World War II”¦. I also believe that such a comprehensive piece of legislation that is taking place right now in Congress is going to be critical”).

During President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition, the Center for American Progress proposed a 10-point clean-energy agenda for the president and Congress that would speed the economic transformation to a clean energy economy. A review of these items today finds that all were adopted or are working their way through the process. This is a startling achievement amidst the worst economy in 70 years, two wars, and an opposition party disinterested in cooperation. President Obama did much of what he promised, and he can do more in 2010 by cajoling Congress to do its part.

These achievements will have real world impact. By 2011, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, P.L. 111-5, will double the generation of renewable electricity from the wind, sun, and earth. ARRA will also lead to energy efficiency retrofits in 1 million homes by 2012. And President Obama’s new fuel economy standards would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil. Additional benefits will accrue as the president and Congress finish some 2009 clean-energy initiatives and additional efforts are launched in 2010.

Here’s a review of progress made by the president and Congress over the past year.

1. Wish they all could be California cars

The Bush administration blocked efforts by California and 16 other states to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from motor vehicles. On May 19 of last year President Obama announced an agreement with California, the auto companies, and the United Auto Workers to establish the first-ever greenhouse gas limits for motor vehicles. The plan would increase fuel economy standards by one-third by 2016, which would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil. It would also cut greenhouse gas pollution by nearly 1 billion metric tons, which is equivalent to removing 177 million cars from the road. The plan should be final in March 2010.

2. Global warming is a real and present danger

coal power plantSOURCE: AP/Matthias Rietschel

The Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts vs. EPA that the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to require greenhouse gas reductions from power plants and other sources. But first the EPA has to make an “endangerment finding” that global warming poses a threat to Americans’ health and safety. Despite a recommendation from EPA scientists to do so, the Bush administration refused. Under President Obama, EPA followed the science and the law by making the endangerment finding on December 7, 2009.

In March, EPA should finalize its big polluter rule to focus greenhouse gas reductions on large sources””those facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons of GHG pollution annually. The pollution limits will only apply to about 7,500 facilities, and they’ll exclude farms, small businesses, and other relatively small emitters. Unfortunately, big oil and its allies continue to lie by claiming the EPA pollution reduction rules will apply to farmers and Mom and Pop stores.

3. Green stimulus and recovery

As the economic hurricane gathered force last winter CAP recommended that any recovery plan include $100 billion for clean-energy programs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, which became law on February 17, 2009, includes $70 billion for clean-energy investments in the Weatherization Assistance Program, energy- efficiency in government buildings, states’ efficiency and renewable energy programs, public transit, high-speed rail, advanced battery research, and other programs. ARRA also includes $20 billion in clean-energy tax incentives for residential efficiency measures, wind and solar power, and super-efficient cars. The New York Times called this program “the largest energy bill ever passed.”

The Department of Energy and other agencies adopted safeguards to ensure that these funds are well spent given the unprecedented size and scope of the programs. This took longer than anticipated, so a large portion of clean-energy funds have been allocated but not spent. DOE received $33 billion, nearly half of the clean-energy funds, and it has awarded $23 billion, or about two-thirds of these funds, to eligible states and other grantees. As of December 31, less than $2 billion””or 6 percent””was spent.

The rate of spending, job creation, and energy savings will accelerate in 2010 after the awarded funds are spent. On January 8, for instance, President Obama announced the award of “$2.3 billion in Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits,” which should leverage another $5 billion in private investments. These funds will go to “One hundred eighty three projects in 43 states [that] will create tens of thousands of high-quality, clean-energy jobs and the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean-energy technologies including solar, wind, and efficiency and energy management technologies.”

Vice President Joe Biden released an analysis in December showing that just two ARRA programs””investments in renewable and smart manufacturing, and smart grid technologies””would create more than 800,000 jobs. And based on past experience the $5 billion ARRA investment in low-income home weatherization projects could create another 160,000 jobs.

4. Mercury falling

The Bush administration’s proposal to delay reductions in mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants was struck down by a federal court because it was less protective of public health than required by the Clean Air Act. The Bush EPA, according to The New York Times, “ignored its legal obligation to require the strictest possible controls on the toxic metal.”

EPA reached a settlement in the lawsuit that led to the mercury rule’s rejection, which would require it to propose mercury limits by March 16, 2011, and finalize the limits by November 16, 2011. Power plants would have to meet plant specific mercury reductions.

5. Curb the enthusiasm for greenhouse gases

Scientists recommend developed countries reduce their greenhouse gas pollution 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to stave off the worst impacts of global warming. They should also reduce emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. These reductions should prevent a temperature rise of 2 degrees centigrade.

In order to work more closely with Congress the Obama administration did not propose its own numeric pollution reductions. Instead, it supported House passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, or ACES, H.R. 2454, which passed the House of Representatives on June 26, 2009. The World Resources Institute, or WRI, estimates that this bill would achieve an overall pollution reduction of 28 percent below 2005 levels and a 16 percent reduction below 1990 levels. By 2050 it would reduce pollution by 71 percent below 1990 levels.

The administration also supported the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, S. 1733, which the Senate Environment Committee passed on November 5, 2009. WRI estimates this bill would reduce emissions by 17 percent and 68 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 2050, respectively. Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are developing comprehensive compromise energy and global warming legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 17 percent.

6. The answer is blowing in the wind (and shining in the sun)

Twenty-eight states””including the District of Columbia””require utilities to produce a proportion of their electricity from the wind, the sun, the earth’s core, and other renewable sources. In 2008 CAP recommended that President Obama support and Congress pass a nationwide renewable electricity standard of 25 percent by 2025.

ACES would require utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with utilities allowed to meet 3 percent of the target via energy- efficiency measures. The bill also requires utilities to reduce demand by an additional 5 percent.

wind turbineOn June 17, 2009, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Leadership Act, S. 1462. It would require a 15 percent renewable electricity standard by 2021, which allows utilities to meet 3 percent of this requirement via energy efficiency measures. The bill, however, has a weak enforcement mechanism that may ease noncompliance. An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists determined that “the amount of renewable energy required under the RES would be less than this level [15 percent], between 7.4 and 10.7 percent. This is worse-or at best””only marginally better than the amount of renewable energy generated without a national RES.” To significantly boost investments in wind, solar, and other renewable power, the Senate must include a more aggressive renewable electricity standard in its energy and global warming bill expected on the floor this spring.

7. Bridge loans to the 21st century

General Motors and Chrysler sought federal assistance to prevent bankruptcy after the November 2008 general election. President George W. Bush provided $17 billion in loans before he left office, and President Obama provided another $62 billion to prevent the destruction of the domestic auto industry, which is responsible for 1 in 10 American jobs. During this process, CAP urged that the companies use this assistance to pursue the development, production, and sale of more fuel-efficient automobiles.

The Obama administration provided loans to these two companies with the provision that they restructure their operations and manufacture “the fuel-efficient cars and trucks that will carry us towards an energy-independent future.”

GM’s assistance and restructuring plan requires it to “have a significant focus on developing high fuel-efficiency cars that have broad consumer appeal because they are cost-effective, have good performance and are reliable, durable and safe.” Chrysler’s merger with Fiat “could lead to Chrysler manufacturing fuel-efficient vehicles using Fiat’s technology.”

Last year the federal government also launched a “cash for clunkers” program to help speed the recovery of the auto industry, create jobs, and reduce oil use. It created an economic incentive to spur the trade in of old gas guzzlers for new, efficient models, and 700,000 clunkers were taken off the roads. The Department of Transportation determined that the average fuel economy of the new cars was 9 miles per gallon more””nearly a 60 percent improvement. The program also saved or created more than 40,000 jobs.

8. Pick the low-hanging energy fruit

Energy efficiency is called the “low-hanging fruit” of clean energy since technology can be employed in myriad ways to reduce energy consumption and also save money. Efficiency would also reduce global warming emissions to boot. Last year CAP proposed several new efficiency programs including incentives for states to put energy efficiency on equal footing with new power plants; establishment of a federal “energy efficiency resource standard” that requires utilities to reduce energy consumption; and fully funding the Deployment of Combined Heat and Power Systems, District Energy Systems, Waste Energy Recovery Systems, and Efficient Industrial Equipment program to capture and reuse industrial waste heat.

window factory

The Obama administration understands the economic and energy benefits of efficiency, and it demonstrated this by investing significant resources in it over the past year. ACES, which the administration supports, includes a 5 percent energy efficiency resource standard. ARRA provided incentives for states to “adopt certain utility regulatory policies to encourage utility-sponsored energy efficiency improvements.” It also included $150 million for nine “combined heat and power” and other industrial waste energy recovery projects. There were 358 other applications for similar eligible shovel-ready projects that would cost $9 billion and create 57,000 jobs. These projects would save the energy equivalent of 160 million barrels of oil annually.

ARRA included a total of $25 billion in spending for private efficiency measures and government programs. President Obama also issued Executive Order 13423 to promote “federal leadership in environmental, energy, and economic performance.” It would require federal agencies to slash their greenhouse gas pollution, “increase energy efficiency, reduce fleet petroleum consumption,” and take other steps to promote efficiency and sustainability.

On December 8, 2009, President Obama proposed including residential and industrial efficiency programs as part of any job creation package considered by Congress to combat unemployment. The program would create economic incentives for owners to retrofit their homes or buildings to become more energy efficient. On December 16, the House passed the Jobs for Main Street Act, H.R. 2847, which expands existing energy loan guarantee programs to include large-scale residential and commercial energy efficiency projects. The Senate should include a more vigorous version of the House measure with a “Home Star” or “cash for caulkers” program in its job creation package. The programs would provide economic incentives to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient via improved air sealing and insulation, advanced building materials, and state-of-the-art appliances. This would quickly create hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and manufacturing. It would slice participants’ energy bills by 20 percent or more.

9. Green the wires

smart meterThe lack of transmission capacity is a significant impediment to the broad expansion of renewable energy. Grid modernization must accompany increasing renewable energy generation, including the ability to incorporate intermittent renewable electricity generation. ARRA provided $4.5 billion to DOE for smart grid deployment and transmission line enhancement, and DOE just awarded $60 million for “transmission planning for the country’s three interconnection transmission networks.” This is the first step to enhancing the U.S. electricity transmission network.

What’s more, the American Clean Energy and Leadership Act S. 1462, includes an “‘interstate highway system’ for electricity by creating a new bottoms-up planning system for a national transmission grid.” The bill allows “states to take the initial lead in deciding where to build high-priority national transmission projects,” but if this process

doesn’t yield siting and construction of high-priority transmission projects then the federal government can step in. This proposal should significantly hasten the planning, siting, and building of new transmission capacity. It should be included in the energy and global warming bill the Senate plans to debate this spring.

10. Rise of the new machines

Research, development, and deployment of new clean-energy technologies were woefully underfunded by the Bush administration. An important element of the clean-energy agenda for the incoming Obama administration was to resume significant investments in the clean-energy technologies of the future. ARRA included nearly $9 billion for the Advanced Research Project Agency for advanced energy technology research, carbon capture-and-storage technologies to remove and store carbon pollution from power plants, advanced batteries, and other projects.

The year ahead

Overall, President Obama’s first year included unprecedented successes and efforts to speed the transformation to a 21st century clean energy economy. In addition to launching the aforementioned investments, he overturned a number of energy decisions made by the Bush administration that ignored sound science while favoring big oil and other special interests.

His success was led by a clean energy all-star team, including Assistant to the President Carol Browner, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, and Science Advisor John Holdren.

The unprecedented achievements in year one must continue in year two. The top priority is enactment of comprehensive clean-energy and global warming legislation that would create jobs, increase American energy independence, restore our economic competitiveness, and cut pollution.

To build on the outstanding first year, President Obama and Congress should accomplish the following goals:

  • Congress should enact clean-energy jobs and global warming pollution reduction legislation, beginning with Senate passage of a bill.
  • The final bill that lands on Obama’s desk should include:
    • At least a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
    • A robust renewable electricity standard.
    • Significant investments in energy efficiency.
    • Clean-energy job creation programs.
    • Significant investments in clean-energy manufacturing competitiveness.
    • Jumpstarting electricity transmission siting and construction efforts.
    • An independent Clean Energy Deployment Administration (green bank).
    • Incentives to increase natural gas use for transportation and electricity with new safeguards for shale gas production.
    • Pollution reductions through strong participation in international efforts to cut deforestation in half by 2020.
    • Aggressive oil savings measures.
  • Strengthen the Copenhagen Accord as a legally binding agreement that makes sure developed and developing nations commit to sufficient pollution reductions to keep global warming to 2 degrees centigrade by 2050.
  • Make sure EPA finalizes the clean car and major greenhouse gas polluters rules.
  • Ensure EPA proposes greenhouse gas pollution limits for large industrial polluters.

Other items on Obama’s energy to-do list should include investing in clean-energy research, implementing efficiency measures, boosting renewable energy production, and implementing clean-energy job training programs. The administration should continue to pursue clean-energy economic development strategies for inner cities and rural areas.

Obama and Congress’ efforts on clean energy over the past year were an unprecedented about face from the Bush administration’s big oil approach. They should continue to speed along the clean energy path this year.

Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress.

24 Responses to A breath of fresh air: Obama’s amazing first year

  1. Ken Johnson says:

    vehicle emission standards
    EPA limits on large-source GHG emissions
    financing for clean-energy programs
    renewable energy standards
    energy-efficiency incentives
    smart grid deployment and transmission line enhancement

    These are all great programs, but under federal cap-and-trade legislation would any of them have any impact on capped sectors’ total emissions?

  2. Leif says:

    Looking back, it is truly amazing how effective main stream media has been at accentuating the negative while simultaneously misleading or out right ignoring the positive. Is it any wonder that the big “O’s” poll numbers are slipping? Way to go media, with friends like you who need enemies?

  3. sam says:

    Amazing??? You can’t be serious! You might be the only person in America w/ this viewpoint.

    Ha Ha!

  4. Will says:

    In light of Obama’s last minute efforts to save Copenhagen, and the tremendous other achievements listed above, as a climate activist I give him a strong B+. The only thing keeping him from an A+ is (1) his administration prioritizing health care above the climate and energy, which was a change from his campaign priorities, (2) and the failure to reach a fair, ambitious, and binding deal in Copenhagen despite his best efforts (thanks China).

    Unfortunately AGW does not recognize good “efforts” only the amount of GHG’s going into the troposophere. Much work to be done Mr. President, we’re behind you…but please don’t fail.

  5. Chris Dudley says:

    FDR got a lot accomplished and some of it has stayed with us. The work of the Civilian Conservation Corps did a great deal for soil conservation in ways that have not been fully documented owing to the effort shifted to the war. This, despite all the cultural documentation that was also going on at that time through the Smithsonian.

    BHO is going to have a similarly long lasting impact if he concentrates on renewable energy and energy conservation. Like soil conservation, this boosts prosperity in perpetuity. Nice to have a conservative back in the White House for a change.

  6. Leif says:

    “President Obama’s new fuel economy standards would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil.” by 2016.

    At todays price of ~$82/Barrel = ~ 1.5 trillion dollars in economic savings to the American economy, (think people). When was the last time you saw something like that from the GOP? Well actually it was only a little over a year ago except it was printed in Red ink!

  7. Hazel Fleming says:

    If we expanded drilling, it would save our economy 1 trillion dollars. As we speak, the debt is up by a trillion and the ball has been dropped on green jobs. Van Jones dropped the ball and was unable to define what green jobas are. Even California is consdiering oil production. It takes petrol to make plastic cars.

  8. Chris Winter says:

    Sam, if you’re comparing Leif to Mohammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (aka “Baghdad Bob”), I submit that there is a far better candidate for that comparison — or, rather, a whole passel of candidates. I mean the various voices on the extreme right who persist in proclaiming just as absurdly as Baghdad Bob ever did.

    The difference is they are absurdly negative instead of absurdly positive. You’ve heard the routine, I’m sure: “Obama wants to kill your grandmother!” “Climate change is a hoax!” “Cap and trade will destroy the economy!” “There were no domestic terror attacks while Bush was president!” (OK, that one from Rudy Giuliani is positive, sort of — but as absurd as the rest because it’s false.)

    I could go on, but you get the idea. And the media, with a few notable exceptions, pass such messages on in their misguided way of always presenting both sides as equally valid. It may sell newspapers, but it’s often a dereliction of duty because there are times when one side doesn’t deserve to be presented uncritically.

  9. sam says:

    I’m not against “green” jobs or any jobs for that matter so long as they are not totally propped up by government subsidies — such as solar and wind power are. Hyping this insolvent sector will lead lead to another “bubble” bursting once the government money runs out. Its already happening! Another effect will be to drive up people energy costs (bad) and to cause people in the real energy sector to lose their jobs.

    Go look at what happened in Spain! Why would the US be different?

  10. While you’re at it, why don’t you look at Europe in general, at all the people there being thrown out of their houses, denied basic health care, left homeless and hungry … Oh, wait, that isn’t happening there at all, is it?

    Yeah, why don’t you actually LOOK at Europe, rather than just regurgitating absurdist nonsense.

  11. Leif says:

    I hope that I am not abusing my posting privilege here but:
    Posted on another thread but appropriate here as well.

    I do not see any real progress on jobs until corporations come to the realization that it is in THEIR best interest to function in an environment that is structured for the best interest of humanity in total, and not dedicated to the bottom line being “black” at the expense of sustainable life support systems. In essence, I see the majority of worlds corporations as “Robots” with a license to KILL! (think tobacco, Love Canal … humanities probable future on the present course!) As my son says, “it is clear that man cannot devise a system of rational self government!” Universal health care supported by a Carbon Tax would allow the population to work for lower wages, thus corporations become more competitive in the world market. It also allows a shorter work week. Insurance premiums encourage overtime above added workers. The list goes on…

    The rational end IMO… Corporate computers happily counting bigger and ever bigger profits and Earth’s life support systems red lined… Oh boy…

  12. Mark S says:

    1.5 trillion dollars?
    You’re off by an order of magnitude, Leif :P

    $82/barrel X 1.8 billion barrels =$147.6 billion

    The costs of this program are likely to be in the same ballpark as the savings from reduced oil consumption. If we have to replace ~100-150 million cars at an icremental cost of something like $600-1000/car, then the economy has to cough up $60-150 billion. However, the costs of maintaining the new CAFE standard are likely to decrease over time (while the oil savings accumulate) and we’ll have other benefits associated with less pollution.

  13. Leif says:

    Dang those “senior moments” They do seem to be coming more often. Still a significant chunk of money though. The better part of what Lester Brown estimated in “Plan B 4.0” to do a whole bunch of good things for the world and humanity. Thank you for the correction.

  14. espiritwater says:

    Considering all that was on his plate when he came to office, he has done an amazing job! Still, can’t help wondering if perhaps Mother Nature isn’t just a little bit ahead of us!

  15. Leif says:

    Mark S, #12: We also did not take into account likely increases in fuel costs, perhaps even double by 2016.
    That would bump the savings to close to 300 billion and as you point out there is no way to calculate the “benefits associated with less pollution.” Perhaps we can humor an old man and get close to those savings after all.
    Best wishes, Leif

  16. Ross Hunter says:

    Let’s not forget also that when Obama entered office the world economy was hanging at the edge of a cliff wondering what was going to happen next. That was a very real crisis, and took a lot of attention.

    As for health care, I think the calculations on the spot said there was a one-time optimal chance to get it done (i.e. before inevitable Democrat losses in 2010), so do it this year or never at all, and he “switched priorities,” if we want to call it that. But remember by then he’d already planted a lot of climate change reversal money into the stimulus. And Obama’s climate work has continued all through this. Climate can continue with a diminished Democrat presence in the House, health care couldn’t.

    All in all an impressive year’s work.

  17. With all due respect to the president and the tough position he is in on many fronts, it is hard for me to congratulate his administration on any real beginning in cutting GHG. If any, it is all in the future and too little too. Any way we look at it, any delay in cutting GHG is drastically negative. Just look at the face of Dr. Holdren when he discuss any thing on GW. He knows how little we have done, but he can’t say a thing because of his position.
    Our president just does not have the courage and inner strength that FDR had. GW is more dangerous by far than WWII and we can’t see it.
    I do not blame any one, it is a completely new experience for humankind.

    Obviously Congress is the key stumbling block and the American people lack of desire to face reality.
    And that is partially the failure of the president. He did not do almost anything to alert, educate, energize the American people to the real danger of GW. He is not willing to take the political risk to his reelection and that of the Democratic party. I can understand the strategy of his political advisers who are not able to grasp the essence of GW. They came from the same strata of society that created the problem in the first place.

    When we say he has been successful we look in comparison to president Bush. Any one would have been better than Bush- but it is not enough.
    We do not grasp how crucial it is to human survival to cut GHG in a major way NOW. As a minimum we need emergency measures that will start now without Congressional approval.
    Start with blocking any new coal power plant that emit more GHG than natural gas combine cycle plant, NGCC. Do not allow any grandfathering of coal plants that are starting production and compensate them for the loss. Do not waste the money on insignificant things such as Cash for Clunkers or Silicon PV on private homes.
    Find ways for mandatory conversion of coal plants to Natural Gas CC. There are many other ways to start making a difference, but they may not be so sexy –MANDATORY conservation and efficiency on all federally supported projects, to start with.

    You can see more on the benefit of replacing Coal with NGCC on my web:

  18. sam says:

    Chris, my post (#3) was a reply to the article in general “A breath of fresh air: Obama’s amazing first year”, not the post by Leif.

  19. I personally think that Obama’s first year has been very impressive but as we all know that is not _yet_ universally appreciated. I spent a long afternoon in a restaurant in Bandung, Indonesia yesterday with a bunch of graduate students from China, New Zealand, and Australia discussing Obama’s first year in office. Not surprisingly they had initially been very pro-Obama but all each seemed somewhat disappointed. I tried to convince them otherwise.

    Steven Leibo

  20. sam says:

    Logic deferred, please read this article on the green jobs program in Spain. Also, I’m originally from Europe, I don’t they have it better then us.

    Just like the ethanol fiasco this feel good do nothing green jobs dream will soon be dead.

  21. espiritwater says:

    Dr. Ginosar, I just spent an hour or more on your website and was fascinated. I agree with you whole heartedly, except for one point. According to the newspaper in my home town, most congressmen voting on the climate bill, etc., have large investments in fossil fuels. It’s difficult for me to imagine them changing their positions even if we wrote and called them and prodded them to action. Money speaks louder than words for some people. It seems to me that we need massive protests… The people have to become involved . We need to force Obama to be the Leader we glimpsed before the elections. Time is of the Essence. We need a strong leader to move us to large-scale protest groups… and charge Obama to take up this cause APPROPRIATELY… NOW.

  22. Roger says:

    Some of us climate-concerned citizens have been talking about how the rate of progress for the climate movement is too slow relative to its objectives, despite many heroic efforts.

    Seeking input from experts, we’ve heard it suggested that the movement has been too unfocused, with too little cooperation among the thousands of climate groups. Also, things have been getting a bit too complicated. Someone suggested we follow the ‘KISS’ rule.

    Hence, we’ve been working to come up with the simple, ONE thing that every concerned citizen might be able to do at ONE time, to influence ONE very influential person to make ONE key thing happen: Climate Progress!

    Based on considerable research and thought, we’ve developed an actionable plan that can simply be called “WED1.” (“WED ONE”)

    To elaborate, ‘W’ stands for Washington; ‘ED’ stands for Earth Day, and ‘1’ stands for 1PM. Bring signs, if desired.

    (By the way, Earth Day, is celebrated around the world on April 22nd–and this will mark its 40th anniversary.)

    Let’s assume that everyone can figure out how to get to WDC, that we’ll meet either in front of the Capitol or at Barack’s place on Pennsylvania Avenue, and that we’ll want to encourage the president to share our enthusiasm for: 1) Educating the misinformed public, and 2) Taking decisive action!

    We’re making our travel and overnight lodging plans now. Everyone concerned about the climate should be there. Don’t miss out; this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change global history. Plan on it–for the planet.

    More information and further details will be forthcoming at, and at other websites, as we get closer to the date.

  23. Mike#22 says:

    Sam, the article you are suggesting we read has already been exposed here at Climate Progress and elsewhere. The lead author of the study quoted in the article:

    “Dr. Gabriel Calzada, Professor, King Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain … is the founder and president of the Fundacion Juan de Mariana, a libertarian think tank founded in 2005. He’s also a fellow of the Center for New Europe, a Brussels-based libertarian think tank that in recent years apparently accepted funding from Exxon Mobil.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/30/09; emphasis added]”

    Read the rest here.

  24. Mike#22 says:

    Ken, You’ve asked the question: “These are all great programs, but under federal cap-and-trade legislation would any of them have any impact on capped sectors’ total emissions?”

    Both the House and the Senate bills contain the mechanisms necessary to adjust the “capped sectors’ total emissions”. But the first step is to establish caps, and get the regulatory structure in place. Then, as science warrants, the caps can be adjusted so as to prevent irreversible harm to our farms, forests, coastlines, water supplies, etc.

    The UCS writes on this “As one of the nation’s leading science advocacy groups we are particularly thankful for the provisions you’ve included that will ensure that the best science informs this policy.”