There’s a good article in Time Magazine:
Yes, the stimulus has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more.
But in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, Obama’s effusive Recovery Act point man, “Now the fun stuff starts!” The “fun stuff,” about one-sixth of the total cost, is an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future. “This is a chance to do something big, man!”
For starters, the Recovery Act is the most ambitious energy legislation in history, converting the Energy Department into the world’s largest venture-capital fund. It’s pouring $90 billion into clean energy, including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the U.S. The act will also triple the number of smart electric meters in our homes, quadruple the number of hybrids in the federal auto fleet and finance far-out energy research through a new government incubator modeled after the Pentagon agency that fathered the Internet.
All this is very encouraging and I hope it works and reaches somewhere. But there’s also a technological and economic incentive here – the US is trying to stay level with China, which is pouring billions into the same technology. The government there sees developing green tech and renewable energy as the technology of the future – allowing China to leapfrog the west in vital technology.
Obama knows this, and he wants to make sure the US doesn’t get left behind. This government? It’s cutting £1bn from science and research technology funding. And our investment into renewable energy is pitiful. You can never blame the Tories for long-term thinking.
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Filed in: Environmentalism