Obama's Green Stimulus: Big Enough to Do the Trick?

Just how ambitious will Barack Obama’s clean energy package be? During the campaign, he pledged to invest $150 billion in new projects over the next decade and create 5 million well-paying green-collar jobs.

While there was some trepidation about whether Obama, facing an ever-worsening economic crisis, would keep his word, the release of the long-awaited $825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 last week seems to have quelled most doubts.

To no one’s surprise, a large chunk of the stimulus – over $90 billion – will go to funding “shovel-ready” transportation and public infrastructure projects.

Thirty-two billion dollars will be used to create a “smart electricity grid” to cut waste, and over $20 billion will be devoted to renewable energy tax cuts and credits for research and development on energy efficiency and energy conservation.

Help Write a Title for the First DeSmogBlog Book

The first DeSmogBlog book is far enough along that our publisher is demanding a title, so we’re looking for feedback - and we have three other great climate change books to reward the best responses or suggestions.

The titles we are tentatively considering include:

Climate Science Fiction: Exposing the PR Campaign to Deny Global Warming

Courting Climate Chaos: Exploring the PR Campaign to Deny Global Warming

Fossil Fools: The PR Tactics used to Bamboozle the World about Climate Change

Solar Forcing and Global Warming: Here We Go Again

Global warming skepticism knows no (planetary) bounds. The big scientific news of the week was the discovery of methane plumes rising from Mars’ surface. Because methane release on Earth is commonly associated with microbial digestion, NASA researchers believe the greenhouse gas could be a sign of life.

In a new paper published in the journal Science, Michael Mumma, the project’s lead scientist, hypothesizes that bacteria buried one to two miles below the red planet’s surface could be producing the plumes. The other possibility is that the gas is being generated by vulcanism or another geologic process – though that seems less likely since there has been no evidence of active volcanoes. This uncertainty, on top of recent warming trends, has led some to speculate that solar activity may be responsible for Martian climate change.

The dramatic melting of glaciers on Mount Everest

Courtesy of SolveClimate.com comes a dramatic video showing the rapid melting of glaciers on Mount Everest.

Watch it:

Reading The Climate Change Czars

Few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change…Many of you are working to confront this challenge….but too often, Washington has failed to show the same kind of leadership. That will change when I take office.”

So began Barack Obama in a video message addressed to the Bi-Partisan Governors Global Climate Summit just weeks after the election. However, while he supports an 80 percent reduction of emissions by 2050 through a cap and trade bill, Obama’s nominations leave us uncertain of how the new administration intends to take on global warming.  

The President-elect’s energy team marks a stark contrast from George W. Bush’s inertia on climate change. Consider Steven Chu, our next Secretary of Energy: As a leading voice in the science community on the dangers of excess CO2, he will be an advocate for the development of alternatives to limit fossil fuel consumption.

Likewise, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency Carol Browner will serve as Assistant to the president for energy and climate change. Her appointment makes additional strides toward an aggressive approach because she will coordinate agency climate change policies while balancing economic and national security considerations. Another strong pick is Lisa Jackson to head the EPA who is expected to play a critical role toward establishing cap-and-trade legislation. These nominations demonstrate that science will once again be taken seriously in government.

The science team looks equally promising. John Holdren as science advisor provides Obama with an international expert on climate and energy who has long advocated for firm government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Adding momentum, marine scientist Jane Lubchenco should guide the Commerce department’s focus on climate policy through her role as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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