Earth Day 2009

In an official Earth Day proclamation today, President Obama has stressed that increasing our use of renewable energy is key to America’s prosperity, and has announced plans to lease out federal waters for alternative energy projects such as wind and ocean currents.  To quote:

The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy — the choice we face is between prosperity and decline.  We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy.

…The nation that leads the world in creating new energy sources will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. America can be that nation. America must be that nation. And while we seek new forms of fuel to power our homes and cars and businesses, we will rely on the same ingenuity — the same American spirit — that has always been a part of our American story.

Obama has stated that expanding our use of renewable energy will open up new job opportunities as well as open doors for new investments in offshore clean energy.  He states that anticipated offshore wind energy projects will now be possible in New Jersey and Delaware. 

While its unclear what he is referring to exactly, it does sound good – I will be interested to see how this plays out and what does or doesn’t materialize.

Currently, wind power creates less than 2% of our electricity, with other renewable sources creating less than 1%.  But Obama says that wind power could generate as much as 20% of our electricity by the year 2030, and that it could create up to 250,000 jobs. 

As, Obama also pointed out:

Today, America produces less than 3 percent of our electricity through renewable sources like wind and solar — less than 3 percent.

Now, in comparison, Denmark produces almost 20 percent of their electricity through wind power. We pioneered solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in generating it, even though we’ve got more sun than either country.

I don’t accept this is the way it has to be. When it comes to renewable energy, I don’t think we should be followers, I think it’s time for us to lead.

Joe Binden also announced that $300,000 in funding will be given to local and state governments for the creation of clean-energy vehicles.  He spoke of creating greener vehicles and transit systems, from hybrid-electric city buses to advanced battery cars. 

Meanwhile, Earth Day celebrations and activities continue across the nation.  In Los Angeles, residents plant flowers in recycled shoes, the Bureu of Sanitation hands out reusable bags.  Festivals and celebrations are held at a beaches, museums, and aquariums.  Reforestation and cleanup events are held in state parks. 

Every imaginable event, from “Eat Green for Earth Day,” to “Plug in to Your Park” is happening across the US.  

Sources: http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2009/04/on_earth_day_ob.html, LA Times, Earth Day Network

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