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Obama's Green Economy: Bring It On

In just over a week, President Obama outlined his policy agenda to a joint session of Congress and backed it up with a budget that -- to put it mildly -- will change how things are done. In his first address since these events, the president made it clear that there will be a strong tide of resistance and said, "I am ready."

Bold stuff.

Stepping back a bit, this could be the all-time greatest strategy … or the worst. Some have called it the big bang: Strike with the full agenda now while support is high and the votes will follow. Others say that trying to do too much will dilute focus and result in little or nothing being accomplished. (Jon Stewart, whose fake news is often better than the real version, quipped that Obama went over the top when he vowed to cure cancer … you had me at health care reform).

So, what does this all mean for green business?

First, energy and environment was the first of three major policy planks laid down on Feb 24 by the president. Was I the only one dumbfounded that his energy and environment agenda was placed before health care and education? With 10 percent of the recovery plan dedicated to cleantech, it seems clear that this administration sees green development as a key to economic recovery.

Second: With most of the big money lobbyists and pundits fully employed grappling with health care and tax reform, development of cleantech will be less of a target from opponents of "industrial policy."

Third: This administration is stacked with talent. The energy and environment team is experienced, competent and -- because most of them see an opportunity for legacy-making changes -- they are eager to move quickly. With the backing of the White House and wind at their backs with Congress and public opinion, expect to see rapid and significant moves implementing the green agenda.

We may look back on these times as salad days in the green business movement. Regardless of the outcome the next couple of years should be an interesting ride.

Tim Mohin is a principal consultant and team leader for EORM's growing sustainability and corporate social responsibility practice. Formerly, Tim was Apple's senior manager for supplier responsibility and led Intel's environmental and sustainability efforts. He also led the development of national environmental strategy at the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Senate, including the development of the National Environmental Technology Act. Email him by clicking here.

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