A Clean Energy Future in Sight

A Clean Energy Future in Sight

President Obama sees the pathway to a clean energy future and confronts fossil fuel interests that are blocking progress and stifling free markets.
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Green Builder Media CEO, Sara Gutterman

Green Builder Media

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 8:00am

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living


With the Paris Climate COP only months away, the heat is on world leaders to back big talk with viable plans for future climate action. Earlier this week, President Obama, at the forefront of the global stage, kicked off a 100-day climate tour with an impassioned presentation at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.

Always the effective orator, Obama set a hopeful vision for a clean energy future, focusing his message on both the imperative and the financial benefits of immediate and decisive climate action.

“We’re here today because we believe that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change,” he said. “But we’re also here because we are deeply optimistic about American ingenuity. We think we can do good and do well at the same time. We believe we have the power, dynamism, and creativity to solve a big problem while keeping the engines of the American economy moving.”

For climate action advocates, Obama’s tenure has had its highs and lows. On one hand, during his presidency, America become one of the largest producers of dirty energy (oil and natural gas) in the world, and decisions like approving oil drilling in the Arctic have been unfathomable at best.

On the other hand, we’ve become a major player in clean energy, which undeniably has boosted our economy and created well-paying jobs.   We’ve also become more aware of sustainability issues, enhanced our energy efficiency, and decreased emissions. This progress is due, in part, to federal mandates, including stringent fuel efficiency standards on vehicles and appliances, as well as the implementation of green building programs at federal, state, and local levels.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan promises to help us further clean up our act. Providing the first-ever framework to reduce pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan requires states to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030.  

Through the Recovery Act, the Obama administration has bet big on a clean energy future, investing in clean technologies with the hope that the private sector would follow suit. Fortunately, the bet paid off: our nation’s solar and wind industries are stronger than ever, with exponential year after year growth, thousands of clean energy projects across the country, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.

Today, the U.S. is a global leader in wind power (we produce three times more wind power now than we did in 2008, with 500 wind power manufacturers across 43 states supporting 50,000 jobs and supplying enough energy to power 16 million homes.) Obama projects that wind power could provide as much as 35% of our nation’s total energy by 2050.