It’s safe to say that many environmentalists cried tears of joy when Barack Obama‘s victory was announced in November. Most had nightmares about the impact a Ryan/Romney Administration could have had on Global Climate Change, matched only by hope for the Clean Energy initiatives the President might be able to push through Congress with the added momentum boost provided by winning a second term.
But as we celebrate the Obama Inauguration today, the question remains: How far will the President go in trying to address Global Climate Change over the next four years? And how far will those who profit from the exploitation of fossil fuels go in order to stop him?
During the past four years, Obama made significant strides in bolstering the sustainable energy industry. Rhone Resch, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said that “The amount of solar powering homes, businesses, and military bases has grown by 400%” since Obama’s election in 2008. With the October announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of a new federal policy allowing solar panels to be installed on 285,000 acres of public land in 6 U.S. states, 2013 promises to be a great year for further expansion.
Last year was also one of great progress for the wind industry, with election results showing that Americans overwhelmingly approve of wind energy, and vote for politicians who support it. And with President Obama’s appointment of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Dr. Steven Chu as United States Secretary of Energy, future advancements in burgeoning clean energy fields such as hydro power are anticipated.
After Obama’s re-election, clean energy groups issued a press release stating that the President’s victory will have “significant and consequential positive impact on growth and development of the U.S. energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.” But, as Obama acknowledged in his acceptance speech, the country still has more work to do if it is ever going to become energy-independent. And it will be up to concerned citizens to hold him– and Congress– responsible for living up to the hopeful messages expressed in his Inauguration speech today:
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.
The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries- we must claim its promise.
That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure- our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
As a nation, America is nowhere close to using all of its sustainable energy sources efficiently and effectively. But, with stocks in coal plummetting the day after the election results were announced, there remains significant hope that President Obama will tighten regulations on the oil and coal industries and change America’s approach to energy production in an effort to address growing concerns about Global Climate Change during his second term in office. –Emma Jane Higgins
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