As William S. Becker puts it in his article on The New Environmentalist, Obama's stimulus bill may be "enlightened," but as it gets down to the wire it is looking a lot less green.
What happened on the way to the Senate is a LOT of not-so-useful tax cuts, added pork, and some stripping away of green projects that made this bill so appealing to those of us looking for transition to a clean, green economy.
Becker asks in his article if the stimulus is green enough - does it invest in medium- and long-term economic security and a clean energy infrastructure? In mid-January HSBC Global Research analyzed different economic stimulus plans pending in 15 nations.
The results are illuminating, from Poland's 0% investment in green energy, to the U.S., where HSBC calculated that just 16% of the $825 billion is targeting green investments. South Korea plans 69% of planned spending on economic stimulus will be green; China, 34%.
Becker concludes 16% isn't enough. The Christian Science Monitor agrees that green gets a "tiny" share of the stimulus.
So, what to do? Becker's own book The 100 Day Action Plan to Save the Planet targets 4 areas that need the most attention: cut carbon 40 percent by 2020, create green jobs (weatherize, solarize, rewire the nation), make the U.S. economy lead the world in renewable technology, and promote carbon-neutral power.
If the stimulus isn't going to properly stimulate this stuff, what will? Well, Becker suggests there are things Obama can do without Congressional approval. And economist Alice Rivlin suggests it might be smart to split the bill into two - immediate stimulus and long-term plans, in order to have time for a bit more analysis.
Perhaps a little breather would give us time to make the long-term plans a bit cleaner and greener. Failing that, how about a call to Congress?
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