The other day I had a chance to ask questions to John Fennerty, the Economic Counselor at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires. It was a good moment to look at the chances of the USA to live green in the future. In short, the answer was: “Well, if president Obama is re-elected, I see good chances for a greener future in the US. If the republicans win…well… they are still very pushy about oil.” I realized that as far as green energy, technology and overcoming oil goes, presidents do play an important role.
In the US, there have been some green presidents throughout the history. The Daily Green has elected the 10 most environmental presidents including Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909). “‘TR’ consistently lobbied Congress for wilderness protection, used the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 to set aside 150 million acres of timberland as public domains. He also created 50 wildlife refuges and five national parks.” Another one is Jimmy Carter (1977-1981). He “created the Department of Energy in 1977, with a key goal being the establishment of a national energy policy that promoted clean and alternative fuels. Carter famously installed solar panels on the White House roof and set the mansion’s thermostats at 68 degrees to save energy.” Check out here which other presidents did some good stuff for the environment in the States. The Daily Green also published the opposite list: The 9 U.S. Presidents with the Worst Environmental Records.
Back to John Fennerty and his trust in Obama:“Green energy technologies have a hard time to show it is economically rentable even if many European countries keep on proving they are. But we have a strong oil lobby in the US…”. His trust however lays in Obama. The Good Human recently asked “What’s the latest in regard to putting limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.? Is there any hope that Obama can get something done?” In his analysis he concludes with a quote by Joe Romm: reducing greenhouse gases will not succeed “without Obama undergoing a major strategy change and taking a very strong leadership role in crafting the bill and lobbying for the bill and selling it to the public.” The future definitely looks nor bright nor green, let’s hope John Fennerty will be right about the president.
We need more real green presidents if we want to fight climate change seriously. The parties exist; now we only need to vote them.