Wednesday, March 20, 2013

President Obama's Clean Energy Trust Fund

President Barack Obama wants to create a $2 billion clean-energy research fund with fees paid by oil and gas producers to help lower US dependence on oil. The President has urged Congress to support the $2 billion fund which would fuel cutting edge clean energy research projects, While the trust will focus on transportation, it will support research into a variety of fuels and technologies.

President Obama has already deployed billions of dollars for major cutting-edge clean tech research projects, so the $2 billion over ten years is not an astronomical figure. However, it does suggest that the President is serious about weaning the nation off fossil fuels and transitioning to cleaner alternatives.

One of the more interesting aspects of the trust is the fact that it will be funded by oil and gas profits through a designated tax that applies only to their operations on public lands.

Speaking at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, Obama said the US risks falling behind countries that are increasing their support for reducing energy usage and finding cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels.

“We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward...Few areas hold more promise for creating good jobs and growing our economy than how we use American energy,” Obama said.

It is not certain that this funding mechanism will be embraced by obstructionist Republicans. Nonetheless, there is a precedent for GOP support as this kind of funding approach was supported by Republicans four years ago. In 2009, to counter the Democrats climate-change legislation, John Boehner introduced an energy bill that would have directed money from oil and gas lease sales to pay for clean-energy programs.

If Republicans can put the national interest ahead of their partisan preoccupations, this trust will help wean America off fossil fuels, reduce GHGs and enhance US competitiveness in the global energy sector.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Articles
Obama Resurrecting Nixon to Advance Environmental Policy
Will Obama's Actions Match his Words?
Green Excerpts of President Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address
President Obama's 2013 Inaugural Address: "We Will Respond to the Threat of Climate Change"
Green Inauguration of President Obama: "Faith in America's Future"
Hopes for Environmental Action in President Obama's Second Term
President Obama's Victory Speech: "The Best is Yet to Come"
Taking Stock of President Obama's Environmental Efforts in His First Term

No comments: