With the backdrop of record-breaking energy prices and the looming threat of global warming, environmental issues received unprecedented attention in one of the hardest fought elections in U.S. history.
Now that it’s over, environmental groups are congratulaing Barack Obama and raising the call for swift and effective action to address global climate change and other pressing environmental issues.
With 750,000 members and activists, Environment America and its federation of state environment groups endorsed Senator Barack Obama.
"This election pitted the energy policy of last 30 years against that of the next 30 years," said Anna Aurilio, Washington. D.C., office director of Environment America. "Sen. McCain focused on the oil, coal and nukes of the past, while Sen. Obama called for a new energy economy fueled by renewable energy such as wind and solar, investments in clean technologies of the future and 5 million new green jobs. From Senator Obama on down the ballot, the candidates who won were talking about a clean energy future and voters understood that this was the key to a stronger economy, a more secure world and the solution to global warming," she added.
As the new administration takes office and the 111th Congress begins to set its agenda, the environmental community is urging a commitment to clean energy to revitalize the economy and curb global warming pollution.
"Environment America is calling on President-elect Obama and the new Clean Energy Congress to repower, refuel and rebuild America with clean energy," said Aurilio. "We need to repower America with 100% clean electricity, refuel America by cutting our oil dependence in half, and rebuild America by creating 5 million new jobs through investment in wind power, solar power, energy efficiency and public transportation," she concluded.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said it is looking forward to quick and decisive action to combat climate change by the new Obama administration and Congress after eight long years of obstruction by the outgoing administration.
"President-elect Obama has argued that our economic, energy and environmental problems share the same solution," said UCS President Kevin Knobloch. "We are looking to the new president and Congress to work together to build a clean energy economy that will create millions of new jobs here at home, expand capital investment, make our nation less dependent on oil, and prevent the worst consequences of global warming.
"The past eight years of denial and delay are over. Voters largely embraced candidates who support clean energy, green jobs, and a safer climate for our children and grandchildren."
The Alliance to Save Energy called on Obama to fulfill his campaign promise to make building a sustainable energy future for America a key priority upon taking office in January.
“The Obama-Biden ‘New Energy for America’ plan contains many exciting, creative, and urgently needed energy-efficiency actions,” noted Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “The Alliance stands ready to help our new president and his team deliver a new energy future for America that is built on a bedrock of energy efficiency.”
The Alliance also asked the new administration and the Congress to use energy efficiency as a cornerstone of any economic stimulus package that may emerge next year. A targeted program to deploy energy efficiency will create clean-energy jobs, protect the environment, and enhance U.S. energy security.
The Sierra Club praised Obama, saying he "made this election about hope, change and opportunity," pointing out that in the end ‘New Energy for America’ trumped ‘Drill Baby Drill.’