Kate Mackenzie Obama’s first 100 days, through green-tinted glasses

Environmentalists have piled into the rating of Barack Obama’s first 100 days. Grist.org, the US news site, is largely positive, noting appointments such as Carol Browner (special adviser on climate and energy), Lisa Jackson (head of the Environmental ProtectionAgency) and energy secretary Stephen Chu.

The $62.2bn of direct spending and $20bn in green tax incentives in the green stimulus package are highlights for the green movement, along with pledges in the budget such as reducing emissions by 83 per cent by 2050, and plans for a cap-and-trade system.

It also approvingly notes the EPA’s decision, delayed under the Bush administration, that greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

However environmentalists are not happy with Tom Vilsack’s appointment as secretary of agriculture, because of his strong support for corn ethanol which some studies have shown is no better in terms of carbon emissions than gasoline.

There are also concerns the administration has been downplaying expectations for an agreement at the UN Copenhagen meeting on climate change in December. While the US representatives at a Washington forum earlier this week were optimistic, other countries – while impressed with the change in tone – were reserving their judgment until later in the year.

Related links:

Obama’s green achievements (Grist.org, 29/04/09)
Climate talks: what India, Brazil and China want
(FT Energy Source, 29/04/09)
EPA decision: big news, but the real impact is some way off
(FT Energy Source, 17/04/09)