Obama Threatens Congress with Executive Actions to Combat Global Warming

Obama tough on climate change state of the union address 2013

President Obama has used his State of the Union Address to emphasise the White House’s commitment to tackling climate change and transitioning the United States to a country less reliant on fossil fuels, regardless of opposition from within the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Alluding to the possibility of environmental measures being blocked by Republican sceptics, the President said:

If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

As well as stressing a desire for greater investment in solar and wind energy, he also promised to reduce regulations so as to increase domestic drilling for natural gas, a process which is already under way and which Obama claims has driven down the price of petrol.

However, he went on to stress that the revenue generated from fossil fuels extracted from federal land should be used to fund a move towards a future where the country is no longer dependent on such energy sources, saying:

I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.

As well as shifting America’s energy mix towards renewables, Obama also wants to ensure more efficient use is made of available power, setting an aim to cut wastage in business and homes by half over the next two decades.

The President also took the opportunity to direct his ire at climate change deniers, framing his proposals with reference to the numerous extreme weather events of recent times:

We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.

Green Steve’s Reaction

The position of the United States gives it a unique opportunity to take the lead in the fight against climate change and in finding ways to best adapt to it. I have long had the view that with Obama in the Whitehouse, there is a real chance of meaningful change – it certainly wouldn’t have been the case had the Republicans won the presidential election.

The use of his executive powers will get around the obstacles that those same Republicans will likely put in his way and I for one am glad to see a leader with some balls.

Ok he may be encouraging fracking to a much larger extent than most countries but his determination to transition the States to a more sustainable, renewably powered country is admirable and I just hope it isn’t all talk and that he acts upon his word.

I also liked how he trashed climate change deniers; we have to fight back with scientific evidence to stop these people misinforming the general population.

Steve (156 Posts)

I am chief writer and editor on Green Steve. Blogging since 2011, I like to delve into a wide number of topics to help people reduce their carbon footprint. You should follow me on Twitter here. And add me to your Google+ circles here.

Hire Me - did you enjoy this post? Let me write thought provoking environmental and green living articles for your website or blog

Comments are closed.

Will Durban 2011 Pass The World By?

If I had to guess I'd say that Joe Public probably doesn't know about the important climate talks that kick off in Durban, South Africa this week. I'd also hazard a guess that even if they did know, many wo...
Rio+20: Politicians Between A Rock And A Hard Place

So Rio+20 came to a close last Friday with a document – The Future We Want – apparently showing us the way to a more sustainable future. The problem is that scientists, environmentalists and other key stake...
More CCS Projects Needed to Check Global Warming

The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute issued a report on Wednesday urging governments to pass policies reflecting a much stronger commitment to the future of CCS. The group believes that unless a ...
Discovery of ‘Missing Heat’ Confirms That Climate Change is Accelerating

A recent study by Balmaseda, Trenberth, and Källén has shown that, despite claims to the contrary, the last 15 years have seen an increase in global warming, with an unprecedented rise in the temperature of...
LDCs Open Door to Climate Change Agreement

The world's poorest countries are now prepared to commit themselves to tackling carbon emissions, opening up the possibility of world wide agreement on measures to slow down global warming. Until now the L...
Should Environmental Policy Be Separate From Government?

After reading Tony Juniper's latest book on the economic benefits we get from nature (you can read my review here), one of the things that really struck a chord with me was how, in the final chapter, he tal...