Published on February 5th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan3
Cleantech Politics News of the Week
February 5th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
Here’s a wrap-up of some of the good or big cleantech (and dirty tech) politics stories we didn’t cover from the last week or so, to complement our wrap-ups of big solar and wind energy news and other cleantech news.
Obama Says “Climate Change” Again
As I noted over on our sister site Planetsave a few days ago (and many others have noted), Obama has uttered the words “climate change” again.
After notoriously leaving “climate change” and “global weirding” and the fact that 2010 was the hottest year on record out of his 2011 State of the Union address, Obama recently made sure to mention it in a speech at Penn State University. Different crowd, I guess, one that believes in science and understands the scientific process.
Obama’s Energy and Climate Czar, Carol Browner, to Leave White House
In a shocking announcement, we found out that Carol M. Browner, President Barack Obama’s energy adviser, plans to leave the White House soon. This announcement came just before Obama’s State of the Union Address. Any connection between it and Obama’s silence on climate change? We can only speculate… the official announcement said that she was happy with what would be in the speech.
“She will stay on as long as necessary to ensure an orderly transition,” a White House official said. “Carol is confident that the mission of her office will remain critical to the president, and she is pleased with what will be in the [State of the Union address] and in the budget [next month] on clean energy.”
Fossil Fuel Industry Keeping Its Massive Energy Subsidies (So Far)
While Obama clearly stated in his 2011 State of the Union address that the extremely wealthy fossil fuel industry doesn’t need anymore tax breaks (“We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”), the Senate has shot down the first attempt to cut these massive energy subsidies. As Bruce Alpert sadly starts a post on this matter, “The oil and gas industry, which beat back new regulatory bills even during the worst days of last year’s massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scored another victory this week.”
And while oil prices continue to rise at a rapid rate, Americans struggle, Big Oil attacks clean energy programs in Congress that would significantly help to address those issues (and successfully kills many of them), the leading five oil companies in the U.S. actually raked in $1 trillion in profits i the last decade. Give those multi-millionaire and billionaire execs their tax loopholes and bonuses!…
EPA Strikes Back Regarding Attacks on Its Jurisdiction
While Republicans in Congress throw multiple attacks at the EPA’s legal authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is striking back. Ben Geman of The Hill reports:
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday attacked bills piling up in Congress that would block the agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and reiterated the White House veto threat.
Jackson, speaking to reporters, initially declined to address whether President Obama would veto bills that stop climate rules, but later said that past threats still stand.
As it clearly should.
How Would Cutting Rail Funding Hurt America’s Transportation Future?
Eric Jaffe of the INFRASTRUCTURIST delves into that and why the Republican Study Committee’s proposals to cut federal rail spending goes beyond ignorant.
China’s Starting to Kick Our Cleantech A**.. How We Can Get Back On Top
Kate Gordon, the Center for American Progrss’ Vice President for Energy Policy, touches on how China is leading the world in cleantech, how the U.S. can be more of a global innovation leader, and why the Republican Study Committee’s proposals totally undermine U.S. chances of doing so.
Low-Carbon Industries to Dominate China’s 5-Year, $1.5-Trillion(?) Investment Plan
Low-carbon investment is the name of the game these days if you want to dominate the global economy. China knows it, and is looking to put most of its chips on this. Conerning China’s new 5-year investment plan that may total $1.5 trillion, Reuters recently reported:
China envisages high-end equipment manufacturing, including high-speed rail and aviation equipment, becoming a pillar of economic growth alongside energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies, biotechnology and new generation information technology such as telecoms and the Internet.
The other strategic sectors are alternative energy, advanced materials and alternative-fuel cars.
China is looking to go from the number two economy in the world to number one with this shift away from production of cheap goods to innovation, development, and production of cleantech.
Why the EPA Needs to Be Able to Regulate Carbon Pollution
To close out, the Center for American Progress had a great in-depth piece the other day on why the EPA needs to be allowed to regulate carbon pollution: EPA and Greenhouse Gases 101. Check it out.
Photo Credit: nasa hq photo