Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Obama will get around to disappointing me really soon, but when you compare his first week with George Bush's last eight years, one starts to feel pretty happy.
Obama started out his week by calling up the EPA and telling them they could allow California to have stricter automobile efficiency standards than the rest of the country, if they so wished. Bush had previously made the EPA tell California it was illegal. Obama is letting the EPA make it's own decision, though it's pretty clear that they'll let California do whatever it wants.
Our new president also set a plan in motion to increase fleet-wide fuel economy to 35 MPG over the next ten years or so. This 40% increase would mean substantial decreases in greenhouse emissions, especially if coupled with second-gen biofuels. The auto industry, of course, is griping, but I think they knew it was going to happen. And, yes, I do believe that they can do it, especially since the government is planning on giving them $25 B to them make the shift.
The shift will begin in 2011, which is very soon, especially since auto companies might have been hoping for a different president to be elected. It takes a long time to re-design vehicles and it's clear that some vehicles might need to be completely eliminated before then to meet the first round of upgrades.
The stimulus package, of course, is full of good news for the clean tech industry. With proposals totaling over $150 B for renewable energy incentives to be spent over the next ten years. This includes a $10 B "venture capital fund." I don't know how I feel about the government getting in on the VC game, but at least they don't have to be too keen on exit strategies.
Of course, this is only a small part (!) of the economic stimulus plan and I have to ask...how exactly are we planning on paying for it. I believe that the renewable energy economy will more than make up for the money spent in future tax revenues. But, overall, the stimulus plan combined with already out-of-control spending is going to add up to about $2 trillion of new debt just this year. That scares me...a lot.
So while I'm excited to see Obama thinking green...I wouldn't mind if he thought about the other kind of green as well...particularly, where the heck it's going to all come from.