During President Barack Obama's first campaign, he promised to invest $150 billion to encourage a "green" business sector. In 2009, we rated this In the Works, because the stimulus package included funding for the clean energy industry, energy efficiency initiatives, green transportation, and an upgrade to the nation's electricity grid.
Now with Obama's second term wrapping up, we wanted to see if he had reached the $150 billion mark.
That's where things get tricky.
Kenneth Medlock III is the senior director at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University. He says it's difficult to put an exact price tag on money invested in the "green business sector" because it doesn't have a specific definition.
"That can get murky because of how one can count expenditures on the 'green energy business' sector," Medlock said. "Some of these things are direct expenditures to businesses in the 'green' energy space, while others are indirect but still support the effort."
So, while it's impossible to tell what was invested in the so-called "green business sector," billions of dollars were invested into advancing alternative energy and battling climate change.
For example, the Energy Department announced in 2015 more than $59 million in funding to support solar energy. The Obama administration also announced $4 billion in commitments by foundations, institutional investors and other long-term investors to improve clean energy and climate-change solutions.
The Energy Department Loan Programs Office "generated more than $50 billion in total project investment, supported job creation, cut pollution and enhanced American competitiveness in the global economy." It still has $40 billion left for "clean energy projects and advanced technology vehicles manufacturing."
Rachel Cleetus, a lead economist and climate policy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that research and development for clean energy was a focus under the current administration.
"The Obama administration made a lot of strides in that sense, really starting to kickstart clean energy," Cleetus said.
Finally, under the Obama administration, the United States entered into the Paris Agreement and Mission Innovation, a worldwide effort to curb climate change.
Obama also promised to "create 5 million 'green' jobs." We rated that Compromise in a separate fact check because, like the "green business sector," the definition of "green" jobs isn't clear cut.
Obama promised to "invest $150 billion in the 'green' business sector." Because it is not clear exactly what qualifies as part of the "green business sector," it is difficult to determine how much money was invested. However, the Obama administration started many clean energy initiatives and programs. We rate this Compromise.