Everyone will have their own reaction Obama’s show on network TV tonight. I’ll just comment on one bit.
As prelude, remember that a) efficiency is the fastest, cheapest, most economy stimulating and economy strengthening way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, b) every wonk in the world is obsessed with efficiency, c) reporters don’t understand it or cover it much, and d) no political campaign has ever focused on it.
So naturally I got a Matthews-style tingle up my leg when Obama said this:
All across America I’ve seen entrepreneurs and innovators who point the way to a better future, starting with energy independence. Recently, I visited the McKinstry Company, in Seattle. They’re retrofitting schools and office buildings to make them energy efficient, creating jobs, saving their customers money, reducing carbon emissions, and helping to end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. As president, I’ll use companies like McKinstry as a model for the nation. I’ll invest $15 billion a year in energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy, like wind, solar, and biofuels, creating five million clean energy jobs over the next decade — jobs that pay well and can never be outsourced.
Now, there’s nothing new here policy-wise. But notice he didn’t choose an energy supply company, renewable, nuclear, or otherwise. He chose one that reduces energy demand. That’s his model for the nation. And perhaps it’s subtle, but the investment used to be in renewables and efficiency — now it’s in efficiency and renewables.
Tonight was efficiency as job one — the marquee policy in an energy platform. That’s new.
Postscript: By the way, congrats to hometown heroes McKinstry, a company that’s been around since 1960 but has reinvented itself for the 21st century. They just got publicity you literally can’t buy. Not that they need any help recruiting — they were rated No. 1 best place to work by Washington CEO last year — but I’m guessing a national primetime endorsement from Barack Obama isn’t going to hurt.