• Top Ad Placement

  • State of the Union Address 2011: Environmental Summary

    The political science geek-in-me secretly loves watching political speeches, debates and campaigns… even the opposing party’s negative reactions (I’m looking at you, Sarah Palin).  Monday’s State of the Union Address brought me joy similar to the sounds of “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz (and if you’re subjected to hang out with me on weekends, you’d hear it on repeat.)

    Like Red Green & Blue mentioned, while President Obama didn’t let the environment go AWOL, it wasn’t the focus. I’ll break down his ups & downs of environmental mentions in Monday’s State of the Union Address for those who need Cliff Notes (but are no longer in High School):

    • Props to Obama for putting responsibility back on big oil: (“We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”)
    • Missing: “Environment. Climate Change. Global Warming.”  These 3 words were absent from his hour-long speech… putting Obama dead last of ANY president in the last 20 years to pay attention to climate change. (yes, even W. Bush was ahead.)  The White House has also removed “climate change” from its website.  Why the worry? Investing in renewable energy delays initiatives GHG reductions needed to deal with climate change… so taking it out of speeches sends a bad message.
    • Amazing idea but I can see major roadblocks: (pun intended.) Obama challenged for 80% of Americans to have access to high-speed rail within 25 years, as we’re majorly behind China & challenging countries in these fields. PA to CA in a few hours… what what?!?
    • Pessimistic:  Climate adviser Carol Browner announced she’ll step down in the next few weeks, possibly without replacement.  This reinforces concerns that Obama’s compromising his once-ambitious green agenda to build more bipartisan agreement.  Browner made strides with increasing fuel efficiency in the auto industry as well as climate change bills.
    • Right on: Obama wants 80% of the electricity in 2035 to be sourced from ‘clean energy’.
    • I like it: Break foreign dependence on oil (using biofuels instead) and be the 1st country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

    Overall, it seems like Obama’s half-assing his green agenda to satisfy republicans.  While I’m glad there’s a traditionally-better-for-environment dem in office, I hope he steps it up and follows through with at least SOME of these goals… After all , the “State of the Union” is just a speech. We’ll have to see what happens in the future, especially after that bad taste from that nasty BP Oil Spill. We’re looking or real solutions –  Follow through with your promises, Obama! Try to make history and some real strides!

    Posted by Julie

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

    Your thoughts . . .