Thursday, January 27, 2011

Obama 's 'clean energy economy': who ought to benefit?

In this year's State of the Union address, delivered by US President Barack Obama, the core message was that The US will continue to pursue a green growth strategy, aimed at creating jobs and exports through clean tech innovation in areas like solar,biofuels, ”clean coal”, nuclear and high speed rail.

Despite tough opposition from the Republican side on energy and climate change related issues, the US President reiterated his wows create the ”clean energy economy” he campaigned for in 2008. More

According to Larry West, the Environmentalists will appreciate Obama's commitment to create a clean-energy economy and his pledge to enforce regulations that will ensure clean air and water, food safety and public health. On the other hand, they are sure to be disappointed by his insistence on continuing to include clean coal and nuclear power as part of America's clean-energy portfolio(nuclear power part of genuinely clean energy?)--as he did in his first State of the Union address in 2010.

From a Southern perspective, I think that more 'green spinoffs' from US innovation that Obama refers to in his speech needs to target the global South:

"...What we can do - what America does better than anyone - is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It's how we make a living..."

Since the market for the innovation has high opportunities in the(global) South, the US should provide deliberate response to global basic needs in affordable renewable energy, and technology transfer.

This will make the less fortunate 'clients' (people) the world over (based on the Millennium Development Goals bench marks and progress to date), a lot happier than they are today (moral and ethical obligations) - and hence increase their disposable incomes which is in the best interest of the US. For example in improved public health, sustainable agriculture and food security.

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