Whether or not you voted for President Obama, the clean energy-loving part of you must be feeling hopeful that POTUS will deliver in his second term what we would have liked to have seen more of during the first — strong leadership driving forward the clean energy economy. Though I still have a bit of a hope hangover from November, 2008, I have reason to believe Obama 2.0 will put solar on the White House and leverage the power of the EPA and the Department of Energy to arrest coal-fired power production and ramp up renewables.Obama, like any politician, will do what the public demands. With public support for renewables at unprecedented levels and the memory of Hurricane Sandy and drought-stricken corn fields fresh in people’s minds, clean energy could jump to the top of Obama’s and Congress’ agenda. But only if we mobilize. And when I say “we”, I mean all of us–environmental activists with their arm bands and twitter feeds, Occupiers with sleeping bags and cell phones, homeowners with caulk guns and solar panels, commuters with EVs and bikes, students with campuses crying out for solar power, social entrepreneurs with double lattes and ramen noodles, and Mosaic investors with bank accounts. We all have a role to play in demonstrating our personal commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and demanding government policies that help others do the same.
As Obama said last night, “The role of citizen does not end with your vote.” Take that as invitation to hold his feet to the fire.
The climate clock hits midnight not long after Obama leaves office. It’s now or never, and I’m throwing cautious optimism to the wind and jumping on the reckless hope roller coaster. Because not hoping means not trying, and try we must if we expect Obama to spend his political capital on clean energy.