By the Policy & Legislative Affairs Department
President Obama’s State of the Union address last night has got people talking—especially in the environmental community. While we are encouraged to see the President directly address climate change, his ongoing support for natural gas and fracking remains a step in the wrong direction for the environment and the country.
The President’s unabashed recognition of climate change was one of the strongest statements we’ve ever seen from him. He stated:
“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.”
Global Green applauds President Obama for directly addressing the urgency to respond to climate change—and not merely under the umbrella of stimulating the economy through cleaner energy technologies. In the continuing media saga drawing undue attention to climate change deniers, it is refreshing to hear our nation’s leader confidently state the truth.
To that end, the President committed to setting higher fuel efficiency standards for trucks; new, tighter standards on the amount of CO2 that power plants can release into the air; and increased investment in solar rather than tax breaks for fossil fuels. Yet in almost the same breath, the President also championed natural gas as “the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”
Increasing our investment in natural gas, as part of the President’s “all of the above” energy strategy, is the wrong direction for the country. The infrastructure currently being built to support this industry will exist for several decades and continue to emit dangerous greenhouse gases.
More importantly, there is another way. Scientists, including Professor Marc Z. Jacobson of Stanford University (whom we recently honored at our 2013 Sustainable Design Awards), have outlined ways to power the United States—and even the entire planet—on 100% renewable energy without having to resort to dirty and dangerous options like fracking and natural gas production.
We will continue to support and promote clean, renewable alternatives like Jacobson’s as the right solution for the country, and will continue to follow this issue as it plays out on the national, state, and local levels.