Mr. Green Dreams

Obama touts renewable energy on Earth Day.

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Today is Earth Day, and while some may be swarming to theaters to see polar bears swimming and ducklings jumping out of trees, President Obama is all business. Abroad, Iran gives the official go-ahead on nuclear talks, but Israel stalls on peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Obama scores a 25 on the Change-o-Meter.

Obama’s Earth Day activities include a visit to a converted energy plant in Iowa and an op-ed from his secretaries of energy and labor, published in several regional newspapers, focusing on energy independence and green jobs. He also announced that he would ask Congress to pass a bill that would commit $15 billion a year for 10 years to renewable energy. Though a lot of this is talk, the president’s commitment to going green (demonstrated more concretely in a provision from the stimulus bill to train workers for renewable-energy jobs) is good for 20 points.

The Iranian government announced that it is ready to engage in nuclear talks, making official the statement from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week that Iran would be willing to take part in the multilateral talks with six countries, including the United States. Though the government reiterated its refusal to stop its nuclear enrichment program, it did say that it would “actively cooperate” with the United Nations’ nuclear agency. We’ll believe it when we see it, but the step toward talks is still a victory for Obama’s foreign-dictator-outreach program. Ten points on the ‘Meter.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, announced that he plans to stop Palestinian talks until the United States makes progress in decreasing Iranian nuclear capabilities. Obama had hoped to bring peace to the region in the opposite order, first dampening Iranian influence in the region through anti-Israeli organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. For this new roadblock, the ‘Meter takes back five points.

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