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A closer look at Obama’s energy plan

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“In times of economic stress, the last thing you want to do is increase peoples’ energy costs with something like cap-and-trade,” says Anne Korin, cofounder of the Set America Free Coalition (SAFC) of energy-security hawks and environ­mentalists. SAFC calls for policies that would disconnect the US from imported oil. “There’s a lot of talk about that, but a congressman who wants to be reelected would be very wary of that,” Ms. Korin says.

While no one has recalculated the cost-benefit for Obama’s official energy plan, some earlier calculations for similar – albeit rosy – plans
suggest that the net effect would still be a plus for green jobs and the economy.

The Apollo Alli­ance, a labor-environmental coalition, has put forward a proposal that contains proposals similar to those in the Obama plan. The alliance calls for a federal investment in clean-energy technology and green building that’s twice as large ($300 billion) as Obama’s. Their analysis calculates more than $1.4 trillion in savings and economic growth.

The pedigree of Obama’s plan also suggests that it is more, not less, likely to be implemented, Mr. Hendricks says.

Much of the Obama plan follows the National Commission on Energy Policy’s (NCEP) 2004 plan, a consensus document in which – as in the SAFC plan – energy-security hawks joined environmentalists and industry. In fact, NCEP director and plan coauthor Jason Grumet is a likely candidate for an energy post in the new administration.

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