This paper would seek to evaluate the Environmental policy of one of the most important figures in this regard; the President of the United States of America Barack Obama. The United States is currently facing criticism and is caught in a controversy as a result of the fact that it has not signed the Kyoto Protocol as yet. Since the USA is one of the largest producers of carbon emissions, that decision has made the other participants quite reluctant about signing the agreement beyond 2012 when the current agreement expires.
The Bush administration was heavily criticized for its decision to not sign the Protocol but the current administration has come up with its own environmental policy in order to deal more aptly with the issue of environment and specially the carbon emissions. The environmental policy of the Obama administration is two pronged as it not only deals with the long term environmental solutions but also analyses the intermediate or short term solutions.
The policy outlined by the current administration criticized its predecessors ‘“gimmicks” instead of actual solutions to an issue which is one of the biggest concerns in terms of its economic and environmental detrimental effects. The plan looks at some of the most pressing needs of the American nation such as the “dependence on foreign oil, addressing the moral, economic and environmental challenge of the global climate change, and building a clean, energy future that would benefit all Americans. “<http://www. barackobama.
com/pdf/issues/EnvironmentFactSheet. pdf> The plan is comprehensive as it not analyses the effects on the locals but also looks at the global impact of the USA’s economic activities. The short term solutions are a way of countering the immediate effects that the activities of the US economy have in terms of the environment. This includes the emergency rebate for energy purposes, crackdown on excessive energy speculation, exchange light and heavy crude, and lastly, release oil from the strategic petroleum reserves in order to cut the oil prices.
If these short term effects were to be looked at in detail and what in effect they entail, it would mean relief for millions of middle class Americans as their energy costs would be partially borne by the energy rebate particularly at times of rocketing oil and gas prices. As for the rest, it entails a reversal of all previous environmental policies as it would mean releasing the strategic petroleum reserves as according to the current regime, the current situation is serious for these reserves to be touched upon.
Hence, the current administration is taking the short term measures to a level which has never been touched upon earlier having understood the gravity of the case in terms of the lasting detrimental effects on the local population. The strategic plan of providing five million jobs through a five year steady investment of 150 billion USD means a revamping of the federal budget as this time instead of merely taxing the taxpayers, they are being provided some form of relief in order to initiate a cleaner future.
However, the fact still remains that much more needs to be done in order to prove the USA’s commitment to the international goals of reducing the carbon emissions levels and adhering to the principles of the Kyoto protocol. In a landmark address to the American nation, the President made clear his stance on the Kyoto protocol by reviving the agreement in a solid attempt to bring the USA back on the global platform for the purposes of global climate change. In the words of Barack Obama himself: “We cannot afford more of the same timid politics when the future of our planet is at stake.
Global warming is not asomeday problem, it is now. We are already breaking records with the intensity of our storms, the number of forest fires,the periods of drought. By 2050 famine could force more than 250 million from their homes . . . . The polar ice caps are now melting faster than science had ever predicted. . . . This is not the future I want for my daughters. It’s not the future any of us want for our children. And if we act now and we act boldly, it doesn’t have to be. ” [Barack Obama, Portsmouth, NH, 10/8/07] Source: <http://www. barackobama.
com/pdf/issues/EnvironmentFactSheet. pdf> The plan to reduce carbon emissions by eight percent by 2050 does seem a formidable task indeed but according to the strategy outlined by Obama; this would be carried out through a market cap buy and sell system in which caps would be kept on the carbon emissions. And the companies would be allowed to buy and sell the allowances amongst themselves depending on the supply and demand levels of each. Hence, in a way creating a competitive market for the amount of total carbon emissions created which would have been limited by the government.
The 150 billion dollars investment programme outlined above would allow entail the research and development facilities created for the purposes of having advanced energy technologies. Such research would allow the USA to gain a competitive edge in the economic markets by being environmentally safe and having efficient production processes at the same time. The policy of having energy efficient infrastructure along with the more usage of renewable source s of energy would go a long way in safeguarding the interests of the environmentalists.
If one was to look at the above proposals in greater detail what would come across would be the fact that the Obama administration has shown true commitment to the environmental causes by having a clearly defined environmental policy. In this regard, there are several areas which have been covered especially the biggest concern being that of the Kyoto protocol and America’s commitment to ensuring that the global climate change process does show true effect.
The queries of the rest of the Protocol committee have been handled quite aptly by Obama who from the day one has ensured that environmental policy would remain an important part and parcel of his political policies. Added to that is the fact that Al Gore, one of the true environmental leaders that the US has seen, has been a prominent figure in the Obama entourage highlighting the interest that the current regime truly has in the environmental concerns and policies.
The idea of providing incentives for energy utilized and provision of greater federal granst along with grants for early adopters is in themselves ideas which portray true business acumen and sense as they would act as persuasive tactics for the profit-keen businessmen. Hence, what this paper has shown and highlighted has been that the current administration is an aware and environmentally conscious government which realizes the potential gains and losses from endorsing environmental practices. References G-20. ` Home – G20.
01 Apr. 2009 http://www. g20. org/. `The Kyoto Protocol: AN Update. ` U. S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 11 July 2007. 01 Apr. 2009 <http://www. internationalrelations. house. gov/110/36724. pdf. > Jones, Van. ““Green collar economy. 1st Ed. New York: Haper Collins, 2008. Friedman, Thomas L. Hot, Flat, and Crowded. New York: Farrar, 2008. <http://www. independent. co. uk/environment/climate-change/obama-brings-us-in-from-the-cold-1026303. html> <http://www. barackobama. com/pdf/issues/EnvironmentFactSheet