Can smart buildings be catalysts for a second term White House agenda?

Climate change remains one of the most contentious policy battlegrounds as we look into the second term of President Barack Obama. Mentions in Monday's inauguration speech and the recent publication of a national document on climate change provide fodder to argue that smart buildings can be the face of mitigation that simultaneously boosts businesses' bottom lines.

The President underscored the challenge of climate change and the opportunities embedded with new technology in this week's inauguration speech:

"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations …The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise."

Just one week earlier, on Jan. 11, the White House announced the publication of the first draft of the National Climate Assessment -- saying this "scientific document [which] makes no policy recommendations is intended to provide the public with the facts around climate change and the implications for our ‘health and livelihoods and the ecosystems that sustain us.’"

"Responses to climate change fall into two broad categories," the assessment continued. "The first involves ‘mitigation’ measures to reduce climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles, or increasing removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. ... More effective mitigation measures can reduce the amount of climate change, and therefore the need for adaptation in the future."

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