Obama Speech Lays Out One Part of Green Economy Framework

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The text of President Obama's speech on Monday devoted to sustainability was surprisingly not reported in the media beyond a few nuggets on automotive fuel standards.

In Obama's comments we get a sense of how this century's challenges will be wound up in planning for energy and climate security, transportation, infrastructure and economic development while systematically reducing reliance on foreign oil.
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Obama drew upon what the European Union has been devoted to for the past four years (and Sweden for 30 years) in preparation for the Gazprom-like incidents, energy terrorisim and climate security incidents that will be flaring up on a regular basis for all the industrialized world. 

No surprise that the one place I could find the complete text was in the Houston Chronicle, which demonstrates how the energy industry "gets" what is unfolding in a way the rest of the nation does not. 

Obama laid out a systems approach to solving multiple problems. It's astounding to have a politician that will actually discuss the "elephant in the room"--our nation's foundational addiction to increasing amounts of foreign energy while generating ever-growing amounts of greenhouse gases. 

Smart planning focused on wise investments in infrastructure and technology, can be applied on a massive scale with the "American Recovery and Investment Plan" that is making its way through Congress.

In highlighting what the Green Economy will look like, Obama artfully put forward the best foot of sustainability policy in terms of energy for buildings. He didn't even touch on the number of jobs and benefits that will come from making the US transportation, agriculture or manufacturing sectors more sustainable and thus more competitive.

Here are the numbers on what the building energy sector plan will generate:

  • 460,000 new American jobs
  • doubled capacity to generate alternative energy over the next three years
  • 3,000 miles of transmission lines to deliver this energy to every corner of our country
  • $2 billion a year in taxpayer by making 75 percent of federal buildings more efficient
  • Working families will save hundreds of dollars through weatherization of 2 million homes (that's on the order of $600 million - $1 billion yearly saved through a fraction of investment!)


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About the Author

    Warren Karlenzig
Warren Karlenzig, Common Current founder and president, has worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (lead co-author United Nations Shanghai Manual: A Guide to Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century, 2011); United Nations Center for Regional Development (training of mayors from 13 Asian nations on city sustainable economic development and technology); provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong, China (urban sustainability master planning and green city standards); the United States White House and Environmental Protection Agency (Eco-Industrial Park planning and Industrial Ecology primer); the nation of South Korea ("New Cities Green Metrics"); The European Union ("Green and Connected Cities Initiative"); the State of California ("Comprehensive Recycling Communities" and "Sustainable Community Plans"); major cities; and the world's largest corporations developing policy, strategy, financing and critical operational capacities for 20 years.

Present and recent clients include the Guangzhou Planning Agency; the Global Forum on Human Settlements; the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bureau; the US Department of State; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the non-governmental organization Ecocity Builders; a major mixed-use real estate development corporation; an educational sustainability non-profit; and global corporations. Read more here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Warren Karlenzig published on January 29, 2009 10:35 AM.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: Green Building Design Grows Up was the previous entry in this blog.

Release of California Innovation Index: The Green Economy Lives is the next entry in this blog.

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