Five guesses who proposed this inspiring question:
“Will America watch as the clean-energy jobs and industries of the future flourish in countries like Spain, Japan, or Germany? Or will we create them here, in the greatest country on earth, with the most talented, productive workers in the world?”
a) Thomas Freidman
b) Arianna Huffington
c) Al Gore
d) Bill Gates
e) None of the above
If you chose option (e) you are correct. The correct answer would have been president of the United States of America, Barack Obama. He spoke these words when still just a candidate, back in August, 2008, in Lansing, Michigan. That day he gave a speech, avowing that his administration would fashion new clean-energy industries, wean the nation from its foreign oil addiction, and create five million green jobs. How many? Five million!
Two years later, “Obama’s environmental agenda is in tatters…” wrote Michael Shellenberger in the New Republic:
“His green jobs plan has done little to make a dent in unemployment, which persists at close to 10 percent. Obama’s signature environmental initiative, cap-and-trade, died in the Senate in July. And, during the first year of Obama’s tenure, China massively outspent the United States on clean-energy technology.”
Even with a climate-change-denying Republican House, the facts are, had Obama stricken while the iron was hot, we would be in better shape today.
“Cap-and-trade would not have birthed a domestic clean-energy economy—indeed, it wasn’t designed to. Meanwhile, the administration’s green stimulus spending was split between short-term, if worthy, investments in green technology, to which far too little money was allocated, and overhyped public-works projects that would never have delivered the new industrial economy Obama promised as a candidate.”