"The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift. And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do."
Barack Obama's Record (Excerpt)By Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA)
"Global warming is real, is happening now, and is the result of human activities. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Glaciers are melting faster; the polar ice caps are shrinking; trees are blooming earlier; oceans are becoming more acidic, threatening marine life; people are dying in heat waves; species are migrating, and eventually many will become extinct. Scientists predict that absent major emission reductions, climate change will worsen famine and drought in some of the poorest places in the world and wreak havoc across the globe. In the U.S., sea-level rise threatens to cause massive economic and ecological damage to our populated coastal areas." -Barack ObamaReducing greenhouse gases is a priority for the Obama administration, and they are calling for an immediate reduction. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, stated that there needs to be further research in climate and climate changes as well as significant reduction in emissions. The effects of these emissions are evidence by rising heat waves. The world’s temperature has risen 1.4 degrees in over a century; however; with the effect of current greenhouse gases and emissions, the temperature is expected to rise another degree in the coming years.
On April 20, 2007, Obama’s campaign announced a plan to combat global warming by setting a National Standard for Low Carbon Fuels (NSLCF) to reduce gasoline consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases. Obama also supports a 100% auction cap-and-trade program to provide incentives for corporations to develop clean energy. Obama would use some of the revenue from the cap-and-trade system to "invest in climate-friendly energy development."
In the Senate, he co-sponsored the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007 (S. 309), which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. He also co-introduced, with Senator Bunning (R-KY), the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 (S. 155), which provides tax incentives for coal-to–liquid technology research and the construction of plants. Even though the legislation has yet to be voted on, environmentalists are concerned about his support of coal as a fuel source.
Obama would also reengage with the U.N. climate process and create a new international forum. In an March 2008 interview with Nature Magazine, Obama said:
"I will seek to engage China and India in global climate-change reduction efforts, and I will create a 'global energy forum' - a body that will include the world's highest emitters from the developed and developing world to apply pressure to developed and developing nations alike to meaningfully reduce their carbon emissions."On July 15, 2008, Barack Obama’s campaign launched the New Energy Plan for America. The proposal detailed plans to provide both short-term and long-term plans for decreasing the United States’ dependence on foreign oil as well as to combat global climate change. Specifically, it calls for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This will be achieved by the establishment of an economy wide cap-and-trade plan to auction emissions permits with the proceeds of the auction going to investments in clean energy, assistance to families, and habitat protection.
During a November 18, 2008 pre-recorded speech to the Bi-partisan Governors Climate Summit, Obama made it clear that climate change was still a top priority for his administration despite the flagging economy. He reaffirmed his promise to invest $15 billion every year in alternative energy. He said:
"Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious. Stopping climate change won’t be easy. It won’t happen overnight. But I promise you this: When I am President, any governor who’s willing to promote clean energy will have a partner in the White House. Any company that’s willing to invest in clean energy will have an ally in Washington. And any nation that’s willing to join the cause of combating climate change will have an ally in the United States of America."
On December 12, 2008, Obama announced Nancy Sutley, Los Angeles's deputy mayor for energy and environment, his chair of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality. This position advises the President on environmental policy and makes sure that agencies are working as they should, under the National Environmental Policy Act. He also announced the appointment of Carol M. Browner as the White House coordinator for energy and climate change policy, and Lisa Jackson, former head of New Jersey's environmental agency, as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Carol Browner will be an assistant for energy and climate change, this is a new position created by President-elect Obama, during an interview with the Washington Post, she said that the job would be to coordinate federal agencies and programs that deal with energy and climate change. Previously, Browner served as the administrator of the EPA under President Bill Clinton.
Obama announced on December 16, 2008 another appointment, naming Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado the Secretary of the Interior. He will be in charge of managing the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and overseeing national parks and public lands as well as the Bureau of Land Management. This Bureau influences policies regarding mining or drilling for oil or gas, among other resources, from public land. Salazar is described as a centrist who has supported and had disagreements with ideas from each party.
On July 24, 2009, President Obama announced his "Race to the Top" education initiative, in which states and school districts compete for $4.35 billion in federal grants. The money is intended to encourage school districts to reform their approach to education, including by embracing charter schools and allowing performance pay for teachers. Speaking on the initiative on July 21, Obama said:
"What we're saying here is, if you can't decide to change these practices, we're not going to use precious dollars that we want to see creating better results; we're not going to send those dollars there. And we're counting on the fact that, ultimately, this is an incentive, this is a challenge for people who do want to change...It's not based on politics, it's not based on who's got more clout, it's not based on what certain constituency groups are looking for, but it's based on what works. Now, what we're also doing, though, is we're saying this is voluntary. If there are states that just don't want to go in this direction, that's their prerogative."The initiative is part of a $100 billion dollar increase in education funding that Obama hopes will help close the achievement gap between American education and education in other developed countries. Obama has called this gap a "slow-rolling crisis" that will take a toll on the US' economic future if it is not properly addressed.
In the Senate, Obama proposed the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This would provide a $4,000 tax credit for higher education, ensuring that the first $4,000 of a college education is free for most Americans. This would be paid for by increasing taxes for those who make over $250,000 a year.
According to his education plan, Obama also hopes to simplify the process for applying for financial aid by "enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application."
Also in the Senate, Obama co-sponsored the new GI Bill, which would cover the full educational costs of post 9/11 veterans who served at least 90 days. The bill provides upfront tuition payments, $1000 yearly stipend for books and supplies, and a monthly living stipend.
Obama stated the following on his website:"One of his first bills sought to increase the Pell Grant to $5100 for low income students. Obama passed legislation to improve the Higher Education Act through his membership on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee as well."On July 14, 2009, President Obama announced his American Graduation Initiative, a plan to provide $12 billion in federal money to community colleges. The money is intended primarily to increase enrollment, with the goal of having five million new graduates by 2020. The $12 billion figure includes $500 million for expanded online courses, $2.5 billion for renovation and new construction, and $9 billion for "challenge grants," intended to challenge community colleges across the nation to innovate by creating new programs and curricula. In announcing the plan in Warren, Michigan, Obama emphasized the role of education in revitalizing the American economy, saying:"Time and again, when we have placed our bet for the future on education, we have prospered as a result -- by tapping the incredible innovative and generative potential of a skilled American workforce."Teachers
Senator Obama wants to recruit new teachers by creating the Teacher Service Scholarships, which would cover four years of undergraduate tuition, and two years of graduate teacher education for those who want to pursue a career in teaching. He hopes to retain and support these teachers by pairing them with mentors and providing paid collaborating time to share ideas. Obama also hopes to promote innovative ways to increase teacher salary that are developed by teachers themselves.
In his weekly video address given on December 6, 2008, Obama laid out part of his economic recovery plan, which included making public buildings more energy efficient, creating millions of new jobs by investing in infrastructure, and modernizing and updating the country's schools.
On December 15, 2008 Obama announced Dr. Steven Chu as his Energy Secretary. Dr. Chu won the Nobel prize in Physics in 1997, and currently is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Obama said:
Chu's "appointment should send a signal to all that my administration will value science. We will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that facts demand bold action."According to Science, Chu is a supporter of the creation of ARPA-E, an unclassified version of the DOD's DARPA, to focus on energy issues.
On February 4, 2009 President Obama’s new budget stopped all funding to make the Yucca Mountain a permanent burial site for nuclear waste. This decision was well received but the question of what to do with 57,000 tons of nuclear waste produced by the country.
On February 5, 2009, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum telling the Department of Energy to set higher efficiency standards for household appliances. CBS News reported that during a speech that they would spur energy and save "conserve tremendous amounts of energy." The Associated Press reported that there already are laws requiring higher efficiency standards that "have been backlogged in a tangle of missed deadlines, bureaucratic disputes and litigation."
On February 25th, 2009 President Obama stated in his speech that energy, healthcare and education are crucial to our economic success. President Obama stated:
"It begins with energy," he continued. "We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century."The president told Congress he wants a cap placed on carbon pollution. Nobel Prize Winner Rajendra K. Pachauri spoke of the need to curb greenhouse gases. While there was some dissent from different committeess, there is definately a push forward to improving renewable engergy. The stimulus was the largest investment fund for research in American history, and President Obama has made it clear that improving energy is a top priority of his.
On June 29, 2009, President Obama, in his statement of prioritizing the energy-efficiency standards of home appliances, stressed the significance of these standards. President Obama said:
"Between 2012 and 2042, these new standards will save consumers up to $4 billion a year, conserve enough electricity to power every home in America for 10 months, reduce emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars each year, and eliminate the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants."Rules that would allow offshore wind turbines to be established on the Atlantic Coast were finalized by the Department of Interior. These rules include guidelines for offshore leases and were announced by President Obama on Earth Day. The guidelines were begun by the Bush administration but were unable to be completed then. These new rules signify the government’s support of alternative energy and reluctance to continue offshore drilling for oil. Offshore wind turbines are favored because there is a steady source of wind at sea and they would be placed in strategic areas that consumer more power. The drawbacks are that offshore turbines are costlier than regular wind turbines and current technology limits their placement to only shallow water, where the wind is less strong.
President Obama spoke about his energy policy on Earth Day. Obama stated:
"The nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy…America can be that nation. America must be that nation."Energy Proposals
In his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008, then-candidate Obama said:
"Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers."According to a June 22nd, 2008, article from the Associated Press, Obama believes that strengthening government oversight of energy traders would help counteract the artificial rise in oil prices. He also vowed to close the "Enron Loophole," which was formed, according to the Obama campaign, by former Senator Phil Graham during late 2000. This loophole allowed for certain energy traders to be exempt from government oversight.
On June 25, 2008, CNN reported that Obama has launched a new website, focused on his energy proposals. His plan includes a cap-and-trade program intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 and doubling fuel economy standards over the next 18 years, while ridding energy markets of speculative activity that affect prices.
On August 5th, 2008, Obama’s campaign released a new energy plan, the New Energy for America, which included both short and long term solutions to America’s energy needs. The plan includes:
- Providing $500 for individuals and $1000 for married couples for immediate relief from high gas prices through a windfall profits tax on oil companies.
- Using revenue from the cap-and-trade permitting auction to make investments in basic research, technology demonstration, and the commercial deployment of low-carbon technologies.
- Investing $150 billion over 10 years to transition to a new electricity grid, advancing the next generation of biofuels, investing in low emission coal plants, promoting renewable energy, and accelerating the commercialization of plug-in hybrids.
- Training veterans to enter the new energy economy as well as creating new job training programs for clean technologies.
- Providing a $7,000 tax credit for the purchase of advanced technology vehicles and mandating that half of the cars purchased by the federal government after 2012 be plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles.
- Reducing federal energy consumption by 15% by 2015.
In an article on October 24, 2008, Daniel Kammen, one of Obama's advisors on energy and environmental policy, wrote that Obama would commit to "rapid deployment of 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicles, a 4 percent annual increase in vehicle efficiency standards" as well as redirecting the EPA to "support states that innovate to achieve greenhouse gas reductions" which was lacking in the current administration.
According to a December 2, 2008, article in the Houston Chronicle, Obama quietly removed his proposal regarding a windfall profits tax on his transition website. This change came because of the drastic drop in price of oil between the time of his campaign and the months after his election, which lessened the need for such a rescue plan.
In a speech on January 9, 2009, Obama released his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan for economic recovery through energy investments. He said:
To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced – jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.In his Inaugural Address on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, Obama promised a rational approach to an alternative energy policy. Making a clear break with his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama repeated his campaign promises to "restore science to its rightful place." Obama suggested further pursuit into alternative energy as he said "we will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."
On June 23, 2009, President Obama delivered a speech concerning energy and answered questions on the subjects of current issues. Reiterating the importance of building a clean energy economy, President Obama expressed his support for the Climate Bill - the new legislation proposed by the House of Representatives -- that has been wading its way through the Congress, and stressed that this bill will further bolster the United States’ independence from foreign oil and help reduce its carbon emissions.
“The nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century’s global economy,” said Obama.The Obama administration fell short in supporting a new energy bill proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives. The bill, introduced by Representatives Edward J. Markey and Henry A. Waxman, would reduce greenhouse emissions and create jobs, as well as regulating climate change and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This legislation would alter the how “the United States generates electricity, manufactures products, heats and lights its homes and offices, and moves people and goods.”
The White House announced that it is open to compromise on its new climate and energy change policies, which concern a cap-and-trade system. Obama originally pushed for a 100% auction for emissions backed down in the past month to make the bill more realistic. While the bill is not beginning at 100%, it is hoped to reach that over time. Many argued that having a 100% auction would be too costly for companies to maintain.
Upon the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill by the House of Representatives, President Obama expressed his view toward the bill:
"I think that finding the right balance between providing new incentives to businesses, but not giving away the store, is always an art; it’s not a science because it’s never precise"“In the president's fiscal 2010 budget, the administration proposed cutting greenhouse-gas emissions 83% from 2005 levels by 2050, and auctioning off all of the credits that give the holder the right to emit gases such as carbon dioxide.” It is one of the most drastic measures introduced in years.
Link to the full transcript: Obama's Press Conference
Representatives Waxman and Markey are working to have the legislation passed by May, but are facing opposition. Some are worried that the bill would drive up the costs of energy and other financial issues.
Clean CoalEvolution/Intelligent Design
According to a July 15, 2008, news article from RRT News, senior aides to Obama outlined the presidential candidate's position on energy policy. In seeking to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, Obama would adopt a cap-and-trade system, uphold alternative energy research, and endorse both coal and nuclear power as part of the energy solution. Furthermore, he would focus on conservation and increase the use of natural gas in the short- to medium-term without availing to coal. According to his energy policy advisor, Obama would not support new coal-fired power plants until new technology is in place to prevent carbon emissions from escaping into the atmosphere. However, he would likely allow construction of new plants if they were retrofitted for carbon capture and sequestration.
In a Nature Magazine interview, he said he will increase resources for the commercialization and deployment of low-carbon coal technologies. He wants to commercialize clean-coal technology and will use many mechanisms to accomplish this. He said:"I will direct my Secretary of Energy to enter into public-private partnerships to develop five 'first-of-a-kind' commercial-scale coal-fired plants with carbon capture and sequestration."Ethanol
According to The New York Times, Senator Obama’s endorsement of ethanol as an alternative fuel has been his strategy for solving the energy problem. He had commented at the VeraSun Energy inauguration of a new ethanol processing plant last summer that adopting ethanol, “ultimately helps our national security, because right now we’re sending billions of dollars to some of the most hostile nations on earth.”
Questions have been raised regarding the bias he would have brought to the ethanol debate because he represents a corn-growing state that stands to benefit from the ethanol boom. However, his advisors remarked that Obama’s policies are based on what is best for the U.S. as a whole.
Furthermore, according to his advisors, Obama favors initiatives aimed at “diversification across countries and sources of energy to reduce overall demand through conservation, new technology and improved efficiency.” Obama showed his support for the agriculture bill approved by Congress in 2008 that extended the subsidies for corn ethanol.
Senator Obama's energy proposal includes doubling federal research funding for clean energy projects, investing in clean-coal technologies, and developing “safe and secure” nuclear energy. The plan sets a goal of having 25% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2025. It also calls on the federal government to be more energy efficient and to increase fuel standards, including annual increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets.
The United State’s electrical grid was recently infiltrated by cyberspies. The spies are believed to be from Russia, China, and other countries. Software was left behind which could disrupt the electrical grid and give others the ability to operate it. The intrusion does not target any particular area, they are spread out across the county. No damage to the power grid has occurred yet, but it is possible for infrastructure components to be destroyed at a later time. This is a large concern because it would be a large blow to the United States in a future war with either country. Protecting the electrical grid is a priority of the Obama administration.
Obama states that "...our energy grid is outdated and inefficient, resulting in $50-$100 billion losses to the U.S. economy each year." He says that he will invest in installing a smart grid which would "help consumers produce electricity at home through solar panels or wind turbines, and be able to sell electricity back through the grid for other consumers" to help reduce demand on the grid during peak usage times.
Increasing Energy Prices
On April 25, 2008, Obama released a plan to fight raising energy prices. Details of the plan include:
Senator Obama also mentioned what he will not do. According to the National Ledger, Obama will not support domestic drilling, increasing refinery capacity, or developing more nuclear power.
- Imposing a windfall profit penalty for oil companies selling oil at prices of over $80 per barrel.
- Providing tax cuts for workers and families, including a "Making Work Pay" tax credit of $500 per person or $1000 per working family for 150 million workers.
- Temporarily suspending purchases for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SRV) until prices decrease.
- Reinstating federal supervision of the energy futures market.
- Providing tax credits and loans for domestic auto-makers to improve the fuel-efficiency of cars built domestically.
- Doubling fuel economy standards by 2030.
- Lifting the 60,000-per-manufacturer cap on buyer tax credits for energy efficient vehicles.
- Investing $150 billion over 10 years to advance clean energy technology.
- Establishing a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard that will require fuels suppliers to reduce the lifecycle carbon of their fuels by 10% by 2020.
- Requiring state governors and mayors to make "energy conservation" a part of their federal transportation funding plans.
Obama's proposed budget basically removed the Yucca Mountain project, where the US currently stores our nuclear waste. As he said during his campaign, Obama is not sure about the safety of such a project and thus does not support it.
According to Obama’s energy policy, Obama thinks it is “unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table. However, there is no future for expanded nuclear without first addressing four key issues: public right-to-know, security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation."
In his September 24, 2008, interview with Nature Magazine, Obama points specifically to the failures of the nuclear waste disposal efforts at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. He believes the expensive project should be abandoned, and instead he will work to find a way to more safely store nuclear waste while investing in long-term solutions.
While in the Senate, Obama, along with Senator Richard Lugar, introduced the Cooperative Proliferation Detection, Interdiction Assistance, and Conventional Threat Reduction Act of 2006 (S. 2566), which called for tracking and accounting for spent fuel from nuclear power plants.
During the midst of rising gas prices, the then presidential Candidate Barack Obama agreed to some expansion of offshore drilling, although he still endorsed renewable energy. Now, as president, Obama must incorporate his campaign promise into the new energy plan. Currently the administration is planning to auction off leases in the Gulf of Mexico that have been off limits since 1988. There is a struggle between environmetalists and other groups trying to protect offshore drilling, yet there may be valuable unexplored resources there that would lift our dependency on foreign oil.
According to the Washington Post in an August 2, 2008, article, Obama suggested that he could support wider offshore drilling so long as it could help overcome the impasse on energy bills in Congress. He stated:"My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices... If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well-thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage -- I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done."In an interview with Nature Magazine, Obama clarified that there are many opportunities to increase U.S. oil and gas production that do not open up currently protected areas. He said:"Increasing domestic oil and gas production in the ways I propose in no way lessens my commitment to combating climate change, one of the great challenges of our time."In a speech on energy given on June 24, 2008, Obama addressed his willingness to tax oil companies on offshore lands they are leasing but are not under development, saying:"I will charge those companies a fee for every acre that they currently lease but don't drill on. If that compels them to drill, we'll get more oil. If it doesn't, the fees will go toward more investment in renewable sources of energy."EnvironmentHybrid Vehicles
In March 2009 President Obama stated that there is $2.4 billion available to fund the production of the next generation of “Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles.” This project will create thousands of employment opportunites for Americans and reduce dependance on foreign oil. The Department of Energy stated that it will help in creating upgraded battery manufacturing and recycling plants for the new batteries to be used. They will also aid in marketing the new cars and educating the public about them. President Obama stated:The Department of Energy is offering up to $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce these highly efficient batteries and their components.On April 9, 2009, President Obama announced plans to buy 17,600 American made hybrid cars for government use. This is an attempt to stimulate the industry after reaching it’s lowest sales in years.
The Department of Energy is offering up to $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and other components.
The Department of Energy is offering up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate Plug-in Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts -- like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles.“By June 1, the government plans to spend $285 million in stimulus funds to buy fuel-efficient vehicles from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.”These purchases may also help reduce oil dependence. The government is also setting aside $15 million to invest and research new automotive technologies.
Biofuels Tom Vilsack, of Iowa, has been chosen to be Obama's secretary of agriculture. Vilsack is a supporter of ethanol and other bio-fuels as alternative forms of energy, which has received some criticism from sustainable agriculturists.
Environmentalists are applauding Obama's (indefinite) intentions to reform the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In general, many hope that its scientific findings will be once again considered strongly when making policy, and the EPA's authority will be respected in environmental affairs. The reformed EPA is likely to help work against climate change and reviewing air and water regulations, if its budget and staffing are increased back to pre-Bush levels.
Some goals are to build a team to lead National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and work closely with 13,000 individuals.
Experimental testing at the temporal and spatial scales, which would be necessary for testing for mineral starved regions of the oceans that would reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, would cause serious damage.
It was also noted that scientists have an obligation to provide information concerning climate changes to Americans as long as it is relevant and credible.
On May 13, 2009, President Obama issued an executive order that gives the Environmental Protection Agency more power to set and enforce a time-line to clean the Chesapeake Bay. The executive order could lead to new requirements and regulations on sewage plants and other utilities in the area, as well.
Transportation On January 26, 2009, Obama ordered that the Transportation Department must set new standards for fuel economy by March of 2009. This order begins the implementation of a 2007 energy law."The law requires the fleetwide average fuel economy standard to rise to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 40 percent increase over current levels."Also on January 26, 2009, Obama directed the EPA to look over the 2007 denial from the Bush administration for California to set their own standard for vehicle emissions. Thirteen other states similarly want to follow California's lead and cut harmful emissions.
Obama has promised to make the restoration of the Great Lakes of Michigan one of the priorities of his administration, by fighting for a $5 billion trust fund over 10 years (though rolling back tax cuts and incentives to gas and oil companies). He says he will establish a Great Lakes czar in the Environmental Protection Agency as well as fighting pollution and stopping sewage overflows into the lakes.
Obama has expressed his belief in evolution stating, in an interview with The New Yorker editor David Remnick:
“Evolution is more grounded in my experience than angels.”In an interview with the York Daily Record in March 2008, Obama addressed the topic of science and religion, saying:
"I'm a Christian, and I believe in parents being able to provide children with religious instruction without interference from the state. But I also believe our schools are there to teach worldly knowledge and science. I believe in evolution, and I believe there's a difference between science and faith. That doesn't make faith any less important than science. It just means they're two different things. And I think it's a mistake to try to cloud the teaching of science with theories that frankly don't hold up to scientific inquiry."
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15)Health Care
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:11)
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24)
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." (Mark 13:22)
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
On August 11, 2009, President Obama appeared at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, NH, to defend his proposals for health care reform against what he referred to as "wild misrepresentations" by his plan's opponents. Obama emphasized that health care reform would benefit all Americans, including those who already have health insurance. The President said:
"For all the chatter and the yelling and the shouting and the noise, what you need to know is this: If you don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options when we pass reform. If you do have health insurance, we will make sure no insurance company or government bureaucracy gets between you and the care you need" ...On the evening of July 22, 2009, President Obama held an hour-long press conference to rally public support for his health care reform legislation. The full transcript is available online.
On July 22, 2009, President Obama called for public support for the Health Care Reform legislation, which is facing oppositions demanding delays.
“I understand that some will try to delay action until the special interests can kill it, while others will simply focus on scoring political points, We’ve done that before,” said President Obama. “We can choose action over inaction, We can choose progress over the politics of the moment. We can build on the extraordinary common ground that’s been forged” ...... Obama's technology plan also calls $10 billion dollars for the next five years for the adoption of a "standards-based" electronic health information system, which would include the adoption of electronic medical records...
“I want [Americans] to benefit from a health care system that works for all of us; where families can open a doctor’s bill without dreading what’s inside; where parents are talking to their kids and getting them to get regular checkups, and testing themselves for preventable ailments; where parents are feeding their kids healthier food and kids are exercising more; where patients are spending more time with their doctors, and doctors can pull up on a computer all the medical information and last research they’ll ever want to know to meet patients’ needs; where orthopedists and nephrologists and oncologists are all working together to treat a single human being; where what’s best about America’s health care system has become the hallmark of America’s health care system.”
Research, Science and Technology
To further the swift advancement and application of scientific research, Obama believes we need to remove barriers that exist "both between federal agencies and across public, private and nonprofit organizations to ensure better and more efficient collaboration on new innovations."
Regulation of Substances
According to an November 6, 2008 article in the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration predicted there would be expanded powers under the Obama administration, including the ability to control tobacco and nicotine substances and biologic drugs. The article noted that the Obama administration is expected to work with the FDA to create a legal framework to deal with the review and approval of these drugs, which are made from living cells ...
In a speech given on March 19, 2009, at Southern California Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center, Obama said "the Department of Energy is launching a $2 billion competitive grant program under the Recovery Act that will spark the manufacturing of the batteries and parts that run these cars, build or upgrade the factories that will produce them."
In Obama's Plan for Science and Innovation, he promises to "double budgets of key science agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology over the next ten years."
Obama acience advisor Sharon Long implied that Obama would stand by the doubling, even in the current economic downturn. Wired reported on October 28, 2008, that at a talk delivered to the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, Long was asked whether Obama would stand by the promise. "The answer is, how can we afford not to?" Long responded, noting that the root of scientific advancement is basic research.
Alec Ross, an aide who represented Senator Obama during the February 2008 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting, said that Obama's plans included investing $10 billion a year to computerize medical records, and $150 billion over 10 years to develop biofuels, hybrid vehicles, and an updated electrical grid. He also said that Obama wants to increase foreign students in U.S. graduate schools and "give them a path to citizenship."
On March 5, 2007, Obama became a co-sponsor of the America COMPETES Act, which is "a bill to invest in innovation and education to improve the competitiveness of the United States in the global economy." The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act aims to increase the participation of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Barack Obama was one of 69 co-sponsors of the bill, and passed three amendments to it. Full details of this act can be found on The White House website.
On January 20, 2009, President Obama stated the importance of science and technology in his administration during his inaugural address ...
A recent nextGov.org article posted on May 12, 2009, discusses the Obama administrations proposal to do away with the Loran C navigational system. The Loran C is a predecessor to GPS, and is currently a backup system. Without Loran C, according to the article, GPS could be more vulnerable to jamming and other threats because of a lack of a sufficient backup system. For more information, the article can be found here.
The Obama Administration stated on March 9, 2009, that it plans to spend $8 billion on building new broadband Internet networks throughout the country. President Obama views this as an immediate way to generate jobs since people will need to be hired to lay wires and build reception towers. The president hopes it will also create high paying jobs in the future as well. The chairman of Federal Commissions Communication sees this plan as a necessary tool to compete in the 21st century. Grants for this bill could be given as early as next month. Before then, several public hearings will be held by agencies to get feedback on how to best utilize the funding.
To continue his promise of using technology and transparency in his administration, Obama has created a website, Recovery.org, that allows the public to track the money allotted in the February 2009 stimulus bill.
Computer World reports that during his December 6 video address, Obama announced that he would invest in new computers for schools, expanded broadband access -- particularly in rural areas -- and funding on technologies to reduce medical costs as part of his stimulus package.
According to a July 14, 2008 news article in Bloomberg, Obama wanted the government to take an active role in reducing poverty and rural isolation with the Web, which would be in line with Google Inc.'s agenda. In the article, it is said that Obama had co-sponsored legislation that would prevent cable and telephone companies from using ownership of the Internet to sell owners of sites' premium service on their network. In November 2007, Obama held a meeting with Google employees to outline his plan to subsidize $5 billion to rural and low-income households for high-speed internet access.
Obama's plan for technological development focuses on expanding broadband coverage and speed, ensuring network neutrality, and investing in medical technologies, environment-friendly energy innovations, and improving science education while also increasing funding for scientific research. Details of the plan include:
- Making the tax credit for R&D permanent.
- Appointing a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure the safety and transparency of our networks, expand the communications infrastructure, and use technology to increase the communication of citizens with the government.
- Increase the Federal Trade Commissions budget to track cyber-crime.
- Give U.S. citizens five days to review and comment via the White House website on any non-emergency legislation before signing it.
- Make a multi-year plan for the Universal Service Fund for communications with a specified date switching the program from supporting voice communications to supporting affordable broadband.
- Create a Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund, which would be appropriated $10 billion annually to expedite the commercialization of promising technologies.
- Ensure net neutrality ...
National SecurityCANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE
The Obama Administration's National Security Team was announced on Change.gov on December 1st, with nominations and appointments including:
A November 2008 article in Science lauded Obama's decision to keep on Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense as being good for research funding. According to the article, in 2007 Gates asked one of his top aids to write a memo showing how the Pentagon can grow its basic research funding from $1.5 billion to $2 billion and also oversaw an increase in basic research funding to $1.7 billion in 2009.
- Senator Hillary Clinton - Secretary of State
- Defense Secretary Robert Gates - remain Secretary of Defense
- Eric Holder - Attorney General (nomination)
- Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano - Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
- Susan Rice - Ambassador to the United Nations
- General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret) - National Security Adviser
According to a December 24, 2008 Houston Chronicle article, General Jim Jones, Obama's National Security Adviser, is an expert on certain energy issues. Jones supports a balanced approach to energy, with an emphasis on offshore drilling, as well as nuclear energy, alternative energy, and conservation.
In July 2009, President Obama commented on cybersecurity, calling it "one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation" and saying that "we're not as prepared as we should be, as a government or as a country."
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