President Obama addressed the nation last night and discussed climate change as an opportunity for America going forward. It has been a while since the president spent as much time discussing climate change in a State of the Union address.
In his intro, the president made mention that autoworkers are producing the "most fuel efficient cars in the world", that America is weaning itself off of foreign oil and that for the first time in 20 years America is producing more oil at home than it imports.
He later devoted 10 paragraphs to climate change and climate change innovation!
"Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The "all the above" energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades.
"One of the reasons why is natural gas. If extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost a hundred billion dollars in new factories that use natural gas. I'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.
"Meanwhile, my administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and jobs growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, our communities. And while we're at it, I'll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.
"Now, it's not just oil and natural gas production that's booming; we're becoming a global leader in solar too.
"Every four minutes another American home or business goes solar, every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can't be outsourced. Let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it so we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.
"And even as we've increased energy production, we've partnered with businesses, builders and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars. In the coming months I'll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.
"And taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth.
"But we have to act with more urgency because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods. That's why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.
"The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require some tough choices along the way.
"But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did."
As most of the nation sits in below freezing temperatures and snow falls on the south, it is heartening to hear that climate change issues are back on the nation's radar. While the president touched on tangential successes he avoided mention of the Keystone pipeline and other hot button energy issues.
America needs a president to say more than, "Yes, we did." America needs to always hear a president say, "Yes, we are!"
— Mark Butkus