Joseph Romm, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Editor of ClimateProgress.org, spoke to attendees about the urgent need for better climate policy and the importance of an overarching narrative to frame the progressive approach to the issue at Washington, D.C.’s Busboys & Poets as part of the Progressivism on Tap series on March 23.
According to Romm, the Obama administration’s report card on progressive energy and environmental policy would show both good and bad grades. On the one hand, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was the “single biggest clean energy bill in U.S. history,” jumpstarting the process of making our nation’s infrastructure more energy efficient while also creating “green” jobs for many unemployed citizens. Further, over the course of his presidency, Obama has made countless appearances at renewable energy companies, seemingly a sign of support for this type of business.
On the other hand, however, Romm argued that the Obama administration has so far failed to articulate any sort of overarching narrative to persuade and excite the American people about the importance of large-scale comprehensive policy to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and of supporting investment in clean energy industry and infrastructure.
“The country is waiting to be rallied [to support climate policy],” said Romm. Most national polls show at least majority support for ending oil subsidies and investing in clean energy.
The United States does not have much time left to decide whether it wants to be a leader in clean industry—or if we want to be buying technology from countries like Germany and China in the future. Romm underscored the fact that Americans in this decade will see the price of gas rise to at least $4 or maybe $5 a gallon. Given how energy-intensive American industry and consumers are, the right choice is clear.
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