Today, the United States stands at a crossroads about the future of its environmental and energy policy. While consumers pay more at the pump, the nation remains dependent on foreign oil, and the destiny of the planet becomes more uncertain. Barack Obama’s comprehensive plan, “New Energy for America,” presents answers for the United States’ energy problems through a multi-faceted approach and focusing on a responsible path to independent, sustainable and environmentally efficient energy.

A key part of the plan is conservation, of both energy and the environment. With this plan, Obama hopes to end our use of oil from the Middle East and Venezuela in 10 years. This change would occur through several policies focusing on energy efficiency and environmental conservation.

One such policy, Health Care For Hybrids, would put at least one million American-made plug-in hybrid cars on the roads by 2015. To encourage car companies to build the hybrids, the government would provide massive health care incentives, including government health care benefits for employees. While the plan also calls for increasing fuel economy standards on cars each year by 4 percent, it will assist U.S. auto companies in restructuring car plants to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. Obama plans to make these environmentally friendly cars more available to Americans by giving a tax credit to those who purchase the more technologically advanced vehicles.

While both John McCain’s and Obama’s energy plans have similar goals to invest, both technologically and fiscally, in alternative energy sources, McCain’s vision is not aggressive enough to enact immediate or significant change. McCain refused to vote eight times on a package of alternative energy tax breaks because it would slightly raise taxes on oil companies. McCain has also adopted the slogan, “Drill baby drill,” advocating giving even more land to the oil companies, in addition to the millions of unexplored acres they already have.

America has only 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, but demands 25 percent of its supply. Oil is not the future, and John McCain is stuck in the past. Obama wants 10 percent of our energy to come from renewable resources by 2012, increase that to 25 percent by 2025 and advocate for less dependence on domestic and foreign oil. In addition to utilizing sustainable, renewable energy, building this new renewable infrastructure will create millions of new jobs.

With Obama’s energy plan, the United States will be more actively involved in fighting climate change and will work internationally to preserve our planet. The plan sets aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions released by corporations into the already damaged atmosphere. Obama wants to see an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 20 percent more than McCain’s proposal. This reduction would be accomplished primarily through alternative energy sources like clean coal and a market-based cap-and-trade program, where pollution permits would be auctioned off and the proceeds would be reinvested in a clean energy future. McCain’s environmental program gives these permits away to many of the nation’s biggest polluters.

The next president of the United States will need to vehemently address issues concerning sustainable, renewable energy and protecting the planet. This effort will begin the first day in the White House. This time, the “I’ll get it done within the next eight years” excuse won’t work. Obama possesses and embodies the vision and willpower necessary to restore America.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.