A special live chat via Facebook with President Obama’s Director on Energy and Climate Change Policy, Carol Browner took place today at 12:30 P.M. in celebration of Earth Day. Carol Browner is the longest serving environmental administrator in matters pertaining to protection, sustainability, business/government alliances having served two terms in the Clinton administration prior to her current appointment. She is capable and knowledgeable of the interface between government, business and local environmental issues.
The purpose of the chat was to set the record straight on the policy of the Obama Administration plans for addressing global warming, energy conservation, sustainability and Eco-friendly technologies.
Ms. Browner opened the chat with a statement about the current measures the administration is making in energy conservation. The administration in cooperation with private industry will achieve auto fuel efficiency of 35.5 miles per gallon. In cooperation with California and other states the goal is to increase the fuel efficiency standards thereby decreasing the amount of pollution generated by cars, decrease operator costs and conserve precious resources. In other measures, President Obama has directed all federal agencies throughout the country to reduce energy consumption. The Department of Defense plans to reduce its carbon foot print up to 20-percent.
Vice President Biden announced a program that will provide millions of dollars to 25 communities for the purpose of retro-fitting neighborhoods and towns with energy efficient technologies which includes building materials and cost saving insulation for homes and businesses.
A long overdue comprehensive Energy Plan legislative package has passed the House and awaits final bi-partisan support in the Senate. The critical need for passage of a comprehensive Energy Plan is that it will provide assurances to Green Technology businesses that their investment in building wind turbines in the USA will be rewarded. According to Ms Browner, Many Fortune 100 companies would like to start building American made green technology parts if they could be assured there was a market for the products. The result will be good for the environment and the creation of much needed jobs.
Facebook offered a rare opportunity to pose questions to Ms. Browner about President Obama’s plan for energy efficiency, global warming and environmental concerns. The questions ran the gamut of all things Eco. One question involved the need for encouraging renewable alternative energy. Ms. Browner stated that if the USA can set standards and create the right incentives via legislation renewable energy sources will be attractive for investment. The national and state governments need to work in tandem.
Ms. Browner addressed a question I posed about the need for investment in University based research and development. She said, the federal government is providing support, but agreed we need more investment in research and development pertaining to energy, the environment and technology. The reason I proffered this question is the drastic cuts at the state level of some of our most prestigious labs and centers of learning. University based research in the applied sciences; transportation, agriculture and technology have always been the cornerstone of our leadership position. Unfortunately, some of our best and brightest are being hindered by lack of funds.
In other questions, Ms. Browner stated the administration is fully aware of the security interests and safeguards a sound environmental and energy efficient plan will bring to the USA. A smart grid will ensure the USA is always on-line. She also stated her concern is personal about protecting the Florida Everglades because she is a Floridian.
In addressing carbon cap legislation, Ms. Browner stated slightly different tools will be necessary for addressing the sources of dangerous pollutants. The administration is hoping that Senator Kerry’s bi-partisan efforts will satisfy the objective of reducing acid rain and make it affordable to the various interests. Recovery Act funds are available for individuals, businesses and local governments.
On the international front, the Copenhagen agreement reached in December, 2009 is a first step by world powers to share domestic plans for reducing dangerous pollutants and conservation efforts.
On the domestic front, the use of Stimulus Recovery Act funds for the manufacturing of advanced battery technologies was cited as a move forward. Celgard, located in Charlotte, North Carolina was able to hire 300 workers for the production of advanced battery technology. On April 18, a plant in Indianapolis was awarded a grant to expand their lithium battery operation.
Earth Day celebrates its 40th birthday, but none as fine as this year because we have someone in the White House who cares.