State of Union 2014: Obama Pledges Urgent Action on Climate Change

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Written By: Emma Websdale

During his 2014 State of Union address, President Obama pledged his commitment to combat climate change by shifting to a cleaner energy economy, with investments in natural gas and solar energy.

Barack ObamaIn his annual speech, delivered to Congress, Obama emphasized that climate change is real and that more needs to be done to curb it.

“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’”, said Obama.

Pledging his commitment to tackle climate change, Obama said that he would help develop the country’s natural gas and solar power industries in order to bring down carbon emissions. He added that the US has reduced its total carbon emissions faster than any other country, thanks to shale gas.

Obama also added that shale gas would remain a priority in the country’s energy mix because it has helped the US economy, both by reducing the costs of imported energy and by creating jobs. Obama stated that new safeguards would be put in place to ensure that local communities will be protected from the associated pollution released by the fracking technology that is used to retrieve natural gas.

“The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades”, Obama said.

Obama stressed to Congress that action to deal with climate change should be “urgent”, shining particular light on the need to reduce the country’s use of coal-fired power stations.

“We have to act with more urgency, because a changing climate is already harming western communities [who are] 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”, Obama said.

He added, “The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way, but the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”