Liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has some advice for Barack Obama: Appoint Al Gore as Secretary of State.
“Can you imagine a bolder statement about a new direction when it comes to global warming and the general care of our abused planet?” Cohen asked. Even if Gore isn’t chosen, Obama’s energy proposals should warm the heart of the global warming crusader.
Rumors are flying that Obama plans to create an Energy Security Council—modeled after the National Security Council.
“The council…would be headed by a National Energy Advisor who would manage the country's energy transformation to a low-carbon economy,” according to Reason magazine. “This idea is reminiscent of the appointment of ‘energy czars’ in past administrations.”
Obama also promises to invest $150 billion in “clean energy,” despite the failure of past ventures in this field, such as ethanol. According to Obama’s campaign, his administration will “invest $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future,” and “ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.” The Obama-Biden administration plans to impose “an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050” —and therefore make the U.S. “a leader on Climate Change.”
Obama also pledges to put a million “plug-in hybrid cars” on the road by 2015—by offering a $7,000 tax credit to anyone who buys one.
Of course, Obama’s energy proposals haven’t won him friends in the coal industry, which he has essentially vowed to shut down. In a videotaped speech earlier this year, Obama said, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.”
Chris Hamilton, the senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, called the remarks “unbelievable.”
“[They] reflect a very uninformed voice and perspective to coal specifically and energy generally,” Hamilton said.
However, that doesn’t bother environmental activists, who have dubbed Obama “the first green president.” Reason’s Ronald Bailey, however, calls the President-elect’s plans “a dead-end road.”