President Barack Obama delivered a State of the Union address that aggressively defended his successful work to save the American auto industry, the centerpoint of American manufacturing, and directly addressed the unfairness of our economic system that has led to rapidly growing economic inequality.
However, the president avoided a direct admission of the greatest threat to the future of the American economy: rapidly increasing climate change from unlimited fossil fuel pollution. Instead, Obama promoted an “all-of-the-above” energy future:
This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.
Praising the boom in domestic oil and gas drilling, Obama announced that he is “directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.” He called for “every possible action” to develop “a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years.”
The “one hundred years” supply of gas is questionable. More importantly, burning that supply would emit about 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide.
Unlike the tepid applause he received when he called for an expansion of offshore drilling, Obama received roars of applause when he said:
We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.
Obama blamed Congress for federal inaction in his only mention of the fundamental threat of climate change, saying:
The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.
The President of the United States is supposed to address the state of the union in his annual address — but Obama sadly ignored the costliest year of climate disasters in American history, with over a dozen billion-dollar-disasters caused by our poisoned weather and our nation’s lack of preparedness. His work to build a clean energy future deserves the standing ovation it received in the Capitol tonight, but that future will be smashed by the destructive power of a polluted climate if much greater effort is not made.
Read the president’s remarks on energy, the environment, and his single mention of the existence of climate change: Read more