Obama's Proposed Climate Change Initiative Stands to Benefit from Tax Credits Extended in Wall Street Bailout

January 12, 2009 Advisory

President-elect Barack Obama has recently articulated an aggressive strategy for promoting energy efficiency and addressing climate change. Significant goals of this strategy include the reduction of climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions by 80 by 2050 and investing $150 billion in new energy-saving technologies over the next ten years.[1] This hard-hitting proposal received a boost from Congress and the current administration when President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008. Better known as the $700 billion stimulus package for Wall Street, this legislation extended consumer tax credits for energy-efficiency home and building improvements, creating approximately $17 billion in clean energy tax incentives. At its core, this Act aims to mitigate carbon footprints and energy consumption across the United States by stimulating "green" investment at a time when the United States' economy needs it most. The numerous tax credits created and extended under the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, combined with existing federal energy programs and state climate change mandates, are bound to stimulate investment in large renewable energy projects and new jobs. The Energy Improvement Act, therefore, may act as a springboard for the incoming Obama Administration's expected overhaul of U.S. climate change policy and for its announced large-scale public works program that includes a "green" technology component.
1. John M. Broder, "Obama Affirms Climate Change Goals," The New York Times (Nov. 18, 2008).