The Obama Victory: America Enters the 21st Century

It makes me happy to write these words: an advocate for the environment will be the next president of the United States.

Talk about transformation.

America is hungry for bold change. Now we have the opportunity to bring it about. Most significantly, President-elect Barack Obama has made it clear that he wants to usher in a new energy future built on clean power and highly efficient cars. We may be eight years late, but America is finally poised to enter the 21st century.

Before I go further, I have to say that NRDC is a tax-deductible, non-partisan organization and, as such, we did not -- and cannot -- endorse specific candidates.

But I can tell you this: Barack Obama's election is a huge win for everyone exhausted from playing defense during the Bush years. It rekindles our hope that environmental protection may be restored to its rightful place as a treasured American value. 

On the most important issues of the day -- from global warming controls to clean energy solutions to wilderness preservation -- President-elect Obama campaigned on behalf of far-sighted policies that NRDC has championed for years.

Still, my excitement over this sea change is tempered by America's dire financial straits. Undoubtedly President-elect Obama's top priority will be jumpstarting our economy. The good news is that this does not mean that environmental concerns need to be sidelined. Indeed, addressing our energy and climate future is one of the biggest economic opportunities America has right now.

That's why we've got to make sure that Obama's New Energy for America Plan goes right to the top of the national agenda -- along with its commitment to creating five million clean energy jobs, putting a million hybrid cars on the road, scaling up renewable energy, and capping global warming pollution.

NRDC will be pressing the White House to tackle this do-or-die issue in its first 90 days. But then comes the hard part: we'll still have to move legislation through the new Congress where the same old polluters -- Big Oil and Big Coal -- will be lying in wait.

These next months of flux offer both opportunity and urgency. NRDC will urge our leaders not only to create a bold energy plan for the 21st century, but to launch it in time to achieve the biggest economic and environmental dividends possible. We must strike swiftly.

You can help us in this critical work by telling your elected officials that the work of putting America on a clean energy path must start on Day One.

About the Authors

Frances Beinecke

Former President

Join Us