Three Decades Of SOTU Climate Remarks Plus A Brand New Drinking Game

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"Three Decades Of SOTU Climate Remarks Plus A Brand New Drinking Game"

UPDATE: Obama’s extensive remarks on energy and climate — and his new plan for action — is here.

First the bad news, via a tweet from CNN White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar:

Pres. Obama will NOT announce regs on carbon emissions for existing power plants in the SOTU, per sr. admin official.

The good news is I have a brand new drinking game. And the “ugly” news is below the jump: All the climate mentions from State of the Union addresses (SOTUs) and joint Congressional addresses from 1992 through 2012, showing that talk has been cheap for a long, long time….

I needed a new drinking game after that whole Second Inaugural business, which led to a full week in Las Vegas with Charlie Sheen and Chelsea Handler (and then a month in rehab with Lindsay Lohan). So here it is:

  1. Each time the President uses the phrase “climate change” or “global warming,” down one beer.
  2. Each extreme weather event the President links to climate change, down a Hurricane or a Damn-The-Weather Cocktail
  3. Every time Obama talks up domestic oil production, drink an espresso.
  4. If Obama mentions clean coal, drink a cup of coffee.
  5. If Obama pushes his “all of the above” energy strategy, down an energy drink.
  6. Finally, the Gov. John Hickenlooper special: Every time Obama talks up domestic natural gas production, drink “a glass of fracking fluid produced by oilfield services giant Halliburton.”

And don’t worry about the fracking fluid, since the company asserts it is made entirely “of ingredients sourced from the food industry” — and who has more credibility than a firm once run by Dick Cheney or one that “intentionally destroyed evidence” of its culpability in the Gulf Oil disaster? (As an aside, there is plenty of stuff “sourced from the food industry” that no one should drink.)

Climate mentions in SOTUs and joint Congressional addresses, 1992-2012

Obama mentioned climate or global warming once in 2012, three times in 2010, and once in 2009 (5 total). Bush mentioned climate or global warming twice: once in 2008 and once in 2007. He also America is addicted to oil in 2006. Climate change or global warming were not mentioned from 2001-2005. Clinton talked about climate or global warming 6 to 7 times in his second term addresses, but not once in the first term.

2012

We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives.  The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.  But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation.  So far, you haven’t acted.  Well, tonight, I will.

2011

No mentions of climate.

2010

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives.  And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.  It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development.  It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies.  And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.  I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year.  And this year I’m eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate.  I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy.  I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.  But here’s the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -– because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.  And America must be that nation.  … We have gone from a bystander to a leader in the fight against climate change.

2009

But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

2008

This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride. (Applause.) The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change. And the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient technology. (Applause.)

2007

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

2006

No climate mentions, but this quote is relevant:

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.

2005

No climate mentions

2004

No climate mentions

2003

No climate mentions

2002

No climate mentions

2001

No climate mentions

2000

We will reverse the course of climate change and leave a safer, cleaner planet. … The greatest environmental challenge of the new century is global warming. The scientists tell us the 1990′s were the hottest decade of the entire millennium. If we fail to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, deadly heat waves and droughts will become more frequent, coastal areas will flood, and economies will be disrupted. That is going to happen, unless we act. Many people in the United States, some people in this Chamber, and lots of folks around the world still believe you cannot cut greenhouse gas emissions without slowing economic growth. In the industrial age, that may well have been true. But in this digital economy, it is not true anymore. New technologies make it possible to cut harmful emissions and provide even more growth.

1999

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt defined our “great, central task” as “leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.” Today, we’re restoring the Florida Everglades, saving Yellowstone, preserving the red rock canyons of Utah, protecting California’s redwoods and our precious coasts. But our most fateful new challenge is the threat of global warming; 1998 was the warmest year ever recorded. Last year’s heat waves, floods, and storms are but a hint of what future generations may endure if we do not act now. Tonight I propose a new clean air fund to help communities reduce greenhouse and other pollution, and tax incentives and investments to spur clean energy technology. And I want to work with Members of Congress in both parties to reward companies that take early, voluntary action to reduce greenhouse gases.

1998

Our overriding environmental challenge tonight is the worldwide problem of climate change, global warming, the gathering crisis that requires worldwide action. The vast majority of scientists have concluded unequivocally that if we don’t reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, at some point in the next century, we’ll disrupt our climate and put our children and grandchildren at risk. This past December, America led the world to reach a historic agreement committing our Nation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through market forces, new technologies, energy efficiency. We have it in our power to act right here, right now. I propose $6 billion in tax cuts and research and development to encourage innovation, renewable energy, fuel-efficient cars, energy-efficient homes. Every time we have acted to heal our environment, pessimists have told us it would hurt the economy. Well, today, our economy is the strongest in a generation, and our environment is the cleanest in a generation. We have always found a way to clean the environment and grow the economy at the same time. And when it comes to global warming, we’ll do it again.

1997

We must also protect our global environment, working to ban the worst toxic chemicals and to reduce the greenhouse gases that challenge our health even as they change our climate.

1996

No climate mentions

1995

No climate mentions

1994

No climate mentions

1993

No climate mentions

h/t R. Koronowski

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12 Responses to Three Decades Of SOTU Climate Remarks Plus A Brand New Drinking Game

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    This looks to be a rare occasion where it’s worth it to listen to the SOTU speech. Let’s hope Obama avoids the absurd dissonance of 2010, and takes us where we need to go. Unfortunately, if I play the drinking game I expect to be sloppy and jittery at the same time.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I get the feeling that today will be the day that all the excuses died. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

      • Mark E says:

        Both talk and lack of talk are cheap.

        He doesn’t really need to talk tonight about what he plans to do ADMINISTRATIVELY so I don’t place the same weight on tonight’s talk…. tomorrow’s executive-order pen is what matters.

  2. Merrelyn Emery says:

    1997-2000 seem to have been vintage years for a nice drop, ME

  3. David B. Benson says:

    Yawn.

    I expect it to be completely boring.

  4. Flakmeister says:

    Following the rules of the drinking game I seem to have caught a bit of a buzz…

    Can’t get rid of that tang in my mouth left by the fracking fluid though…

  5. Mark E says:

    7. Each call for still more “economic growth”, take ipecac.

    “Market based solutions to climate change”, that’s what he said. It’s delusional, and irrational, because there is no such thing as an environmental solution that depends on nonstop economic growth, forever.

    But I suppose its as good as we could hope for.

    • Steve L. says:

      Yes, but continued economic growth is the only thing we can hope for if we want to stop this crisis in its tracks. And, btw, economic growth itself is not the issue, but, rather, how some of it is achieved.

      • Ken Barrows says:

        No, economic growth is the issue, unless you think climate change is a nonexistent or minor problem.

  6. Anne says:

    Excellent timeline — that took some serious research! It’s going in my DO NOT TOSS file of significant historical memorobilia. Would be good to see a two-column piece — one side of “talked the talk” in SOTU’s and major speeches — the other column “walked the walk” and see how they correlate. (For example, Nixon didn’t talk a lot about the environment, but he created the US EPA.)