On February 12, President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty by delivering the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. He also offered some of his goals and policy ideas that he would like to see implemented over the next few years. While much of it dealt with the economy, Obama also took some time to discuss to an issue that he touched upon in his second inaugural address in January: energy and climate change.
The President began with a series of achievements the United States has made over the last several years, “After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.”
However, he shifted to climate change, something that has been political taboo in the recent past, “But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. 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.”
What does this mean in practice? The President threw his support behind two promising ideas. First, he called upon Congress to “pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change.” But, if Congress fails to act, he declared, he will direct his cabinet to take action. That likely means the EPA will set greenhouse gas limits on existing power plants.
For the President’s second proposal, he called for an “Energy Security Trust.” The Presidenet elaborated, “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. If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we.”
Organizations of retired military and business leaders, like ASP, strongly support using resources to fund R&D in next-generation energy technologies. It is critical we develop the clean energy technologies of the future to ensure we deal with the threat of climate change. ASP has a done a significant amount of work on climate security, defense energy, and the security implications of fuel economy.
The endorsement comes on the heels of an energy plan recently published by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Minority Leader on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In Sen. Murkowski’s plan, she called for a similar idea – an “Advanced Energy Trust Fund” that would be funded by revenues from oil and gas production on public lands. The revenues would be used exclusively to fund R&D to displace oil, and managed by the Department of Energy. With the President and the top Republican on energy supporting this idea, there may be some area of compromise.
ASP applauds the President’s support for dealing with both climate change and energy security. ASP believes that both present America with national security threats, and must be dealt with in a bipartisan fashion.
Watch the full State of the Union Address below: