McKibben to Ask White House to Install Solar Panels

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Friday, September 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

Environmental activist and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben has been driving down the East Coast in recent days to deliver to President Obama a solar panel President Jimmy Carter installed on top of the White House. McKibben, in a meeting with the White House today, will ask that the panel, one of several that were removed from the White House down during the Reagan administration, be reinstalled on the White House.

In an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, McKibben said installing solar panels on the White House would be a much-needed symbol of the Obama administration’s support of renewable energy, one that environmentalists need following a crushing legislative defeat on climate legislation this year.

McKibben, in the op-ed, also serves a bit of cold, hard reality regarding the likelihood of passing strong environmental legislation any time soon:

Clearly, a solar panel on the White House roof won’t solve climate change — and we’d rather have strong presidential leadership on energy transformation. But given the political scene, this may be as good as we’ll get for the moment.

It’s important to note that there is a strong underlying political backstory surrounding these panels. It comes down to Carter (who installed the panels) vs. Reagan (who took them down). For environmentalists this dynamic tells a broader story about the positions of Democrats and Republicans on climate change and it is a not-so-subtle metaphor for the current dynamics in Congress.

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Matt West
Comment posted September 10, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

I think it is premature to suggest that Obama has spurned solar panels. The White House is still trying to figure out how it can do the right thing without alienating voters. Ahead of midterms and behind in the polls, the President is simply being careful. Regardless of what the President does, McKibben's movement is a driving force to be reckoned with. See THE GREEN MARKET's take on Bill's trip to Washington:

Bill McKibben Goes to the White House

http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2010/09/350orgs-bill-mckibben-goes-to-white.html


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Comment posted September 23, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

I agree some solar panels on the White House would be a good symbol. But put up current ones not ones that are 30 years old. They have improved a lot in that time period. Just common sense which is in short supply.


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