Sunday, October 12, 2008

Obama's Energy Plan

I hear people say that they aren't exactly sure what Obama's position is on this issue or that one, so I thought I would blog about his positions.  How do I know?  It's on his friggin' Website, detailed in minute detail.  But who's got time to read his Website?  (I guess)

Here are the high points of Obama's energy plan (infested with my opinions on each point):

Short Term Fixes
  • Emergency gasoline rebate ($500/individual, $1000/family) to consumers paid for with a windfall profit tax on energy companies  (I'm not crazy about this, it is politically expediency, but hey, it'll get him some votes)
  • Crack down on energy speculation a-la Enron-style by (this is important) closing loopholes and increasing transparency (this isn't our biggest issue in energy but the loophole-closing aspect of it is good)
  • Swap light and heavy crude, release oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve (again, a short-term fix [as they note on the site] but might help bring prices down a bit)
Longer Term Strategies

  • Cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions - goal - 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (I would prefer a commons trust approach, but cap-and-trade is a great start)
  • Work through the U.N. to make the U.S. a leader on climate change (smart)
  • Accelerate commercialization of plug-in hybrid cars, encourage energy efficiency, invest in low-emission coal plants, advance next generation biofuels, build digital electricity grid (this is cool stuff, except for the stupid, stupid, stupid clean coal stuff, but it is there to grab votes, so okay)
  • Create a "Green Vet Initiative."  Job placement for vets of Afghanistan and Iraq to gain skills in renewable energy jobs (love this soooo much - why isn't it talked about more on the campaign trail???)
  • Invest $1B per year into switching manufacturing areas over to renewable energy (how many birds did you just kill with that one stone???  Love this)
  • Increase fuel economy standards 4% a year (great)
  • Put 1 million plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015.  How can a government do that??  Well, guess how big the government's fleet of vehicles is?  Obama is going to switch the entire White House fleet to plug-in hybrids in one year, then half of the entire government fleet by 2012. $7,000 tax credit for people buying plug-in hybrid cars!!  (great idea)
  • A focus on "next generation biofuels" read: cellulosic, not corn.  (smart)
  • Better prioritization of current drilling efforts for oil and gas (this is good, although not that exciting)
  • Require 10% of all electricity produced to come from renewable sources (that ain't "clean coal")
  • Safe and secure nuclear energy (I personally am in favor of this, although I know a lot of liberals aren't - it is part of the entire energy self-sufficiency picture)
  • Big focus on energy efficiency (biggest, fastest payback)
  • A new building code, all buildings carbon-neutral by 2030 (great)
  • Reduce federal energy consumption.  The U.S. Federal Government is the largest energy consumer in the world.  Why not start there?????  (can you see why I love this guy??)
  • Build more livable, sustainable communities (super long-term, but what is wrong with thinking super-long term??)
I really have to apologize for my cheerleading on each point, but, Jeez, I can't help it.  This is one great energy policy.  Half the points are things I've been wishing to see from candidates for years and years, and there are a lot of points that I hadn't even considered until I read them in the PDF.

By the way, I'm hoping my short post here encourages you to read the original PDF on Obama's Website.  This was put together by some really smart people.

photo credit:  Felix Francis on Flickr (creative commons)

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