Proposed Green Budget in US brings mixed responses
News from America this week confirmed a proposed 13% cut in funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose core responsibility is the US’s Environment, Air and Water Quality, as part of the 2012 budget proposals.
However in a positive move for the renewable energy and clean technology industry, proposed overall funding for clean tech projects increased to $8billion partly provided for by cuts totaling $3.6bn including fossil fuel subsidies, funding for oil and gas R&D projects and possible increased taxes for fossil fuel producers.
Despite the cuts, the move by President Obama, maintains the EPA budget at a higher level than at any time during the Bush administration, and it is clear that this budget signals a long term goal to shift away from fossil fuel and sends out a positive message about the US’ future energy policy. This backs up Obama’s aim for commercial buildings to operate 20% more energy efficiently by 2020.
The bad news is that despite an increase in the spending on clean energy technologies, some important conservation projects have received a cut in funding, which will no doubt signal mixed messages to green campaigners in the US.
During these uncertain economic times, the US governments proposed financial commitment to clean technology research and development is welcome in the industry, however with some negotiation to come, and the Republicans keen to see deeper cuts of up to 17% to the EPA, the true picture is yet to become clear.
This latest news, along with recent similar budgets released by other nations, is a stark reminder of the fine balance between ensuring the positive rhetoric and more importantly, progress, surrounding climate change continues, whilst the correct action is taken to balance the books in the wake of the financial crisis.
Just how the worldwide clean technologies industry comes out of the recession remains to be seen as multi-national cross sector cuts continue to affect the global economy.