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Promises Made: Energy

/ Source: staff and news service reports

Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama made many promises to the American people. has chosen 14 of these to explain, explore, and track. See if the new president keeps his word, and vote on his progress during the first 100 days.

Obama’s words: President BarackObama promised in January 2008 that he would be “a president who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.”

The issue: Obama pledged during the campaign to “invest $150 billion over the next ten years in alternative sources of energy like wind power, and solar power, and advanced bio-fuels, investments that will create up to five million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.”

Until August 2008, Obama opposed additional offshore oil drilling, arguing that it would take at least five years for more drilling to lead to lower gasoline prices.

But in a significant change of position, Obama said on Aug. 1, 2008 that he would be willing to support limited additional offshore drilling.

Obama said he’d make this compromise if it were necessary to get enough votes in Congress to pass a comprehensive plan to encourage fuel-efficient vehicles and develop alternative energy sources.

Following through: In his inaugural address Obama promised to “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories,” an indicator of his interest in solar, wind and biofuel power.

On Feb. 17, Obama signed a $787 billion congressional stimulus package. Included in this package is about $50 billion for energy programs, focused chiefly on efficiency and renewable energy. Among the eco-centric funding:

  • $5 billion to weatherize modest-income homes
  • $6.4 billion to clean up nuclear weapons production sites
  • $11 billion toward a so-called "smart electricity grid" to reduce waste
  • $6 billion to subsidize loans for renewable energy projects
  • $6.3 billion in state energy efficiency and clean energy grants
  • $4.5 billion make federal buildings more energy efficient
  • $2 billion in grants for advanced batteries for electric vehicles

Obama touched on this promise during his address to Congress on Feb. 24, promising to "invest $15 billion a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power, advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars."

He also said, "We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country."

On April 9, the president's science adviser, John Holdren, outlined the White House's climate and energy plans.

He discussed geoengineering, or the concept of using technology to purposely cool the climate.

One option raised by Holdren and proposed by a Nobel Prize-winning scientist includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays.