Blog Post

President Obama: If Congress won’t act on climate change, I will

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

President Barack Obama urged Congress to adopt market-based solutions to fight climate change in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, and asked Congress to consider options like the clean energy and climate bill that John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on a few years ago. But the president also followed that urging with a stick, and said if Congress refuses to act on fighting climate change, he will direct his cabinet to develop executive actions that they can take to reduce carbon emissions and deliver adaptation to climate change.

Obama proclaimed:

If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.

Obama attempted to take these types of actions a few years ago when he worked with the Environmental Protection Agency on a controversial plan to attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Now that Obama is in his second term, and doesn’t have to worry about being voted into another term, he seems to be getting more aggressive on his original campaign goals on clean energy and fighting climate change.

In addition to Obama’s discussion of fighting climate change with market means, the president issued several other promising declarations on energy:

  • Make natural gas cleaner: “My Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.”
  • Create an Energy Security Trust for R&D for non-oil transportation: “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 non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we.”
  • Energy efficiency: “I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”
  • Fight power grid cyber attacks: “Earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.”

10 Responses to “President Obama: If Congress won’t act on climate change, I will”

  1. Martin O'Malley

    A little known technology now exists which has the potential to change all of the liquid or gaseous fuel production game rules. CELLULOIL(TM) has been generated as an efficiently produced chemically reduced version of any cellulose without consideration given to sugar content, fermentation, or biochemical reduction. This has been proven with batchwise chemical reactors but can also be accomplished through a continuous “on-line” production process as well. Enhancing of the energy density and purification is accomplished using petroleum, natural gas, and hydrogen. Several competing reaction mechanisms have been proposed using either strict thermodynamic/kinetic catalysis or conversely electrochemical reduction similar to recent advances made with “Brown’s Gas.” The resultant product not only represents a renewable carbon-neutral energy source but can be likewise employed for the production of durable goods such as plastics and organic chemicals currently generated from petroleum feedstock. Turning one gallon of petroleum into two using carbon-neutral CELLULOIL(TM) means the resultant carbon footprint of usable fuel is cut in half. The chemicals needed to affect the reaction are renewable being derived from wood, water, electricity, and naturally occurring plant matter organic substances.

  2. RobPaulGru,

    What economic damage exactly has President Obama caused?


    If that is an actual synopsis of a Heritage Foundation Study… I have lost all respect for the organization. The statements made there go against all published data from every climate record keeping database that exists…

    The statement that President Obama made about the 12 hottest years on record have occured during the past 15 years (and substantiated by NOAA, NASA, etc.) clearly illustrates why the comment about no global warming for the past decade is entirely without merit.

  3. RobPaulGru

    It will take DECADES to recover from the damage Obama has done to the American economy and global peace. Witness the conflagration occurring in North Africa and the Middle East thanks to his catastrophic policies. The only thing that will heal the damage is his leaving office. Will it be too late?

    • Neo-Con’s finally got what they aimed for in North Africa and the Middle East. They overarching rational for invading Iraq was to show the Arab world how amazingly well democracy can work for them and have it sweap across the region. Instead we took out the main country balancing against Iran – and then “democracy” swept through the region on it’s own. Historically and as can be seen in the Arab world, attempting democracy without strong civil institutions, without a long democratic history, and/or without inspired non-powerhungry individuals like our enlightened founders, results in instability or tyranny of the majority.

    • This is a tech blog, and one reason I come here is to avoid idiots spouting nonsense everywhere else online. Plot a trace of US and global GDP over the last decade (easy to do off, and you’ll notice the trend in the US almost exactly matches that of the entire world, with consistent averaged annual growth since 2009. And only an American would be foolish to enough to surmise that the decision of oppressed millions in the middle East to try and grab power from their oppressive rulers is a result of Obama’s magic mind control!

  4. Something to think about, taken from the Heritage Foundation:

    Swept into office four years ago based, in part, on promises to slow sea-level rise, President Obama initiated a radical climate agenda. It seems we are seeing a rerun in 2013. It is worth asking what is different four years after his first State of the Union Address?

    There have been four more years of no global warming. In 2010, there had been no significant world temperature increase for over a decade. The streak is now 16 years long. We have four years of costly lessons on the waste and inefficiency of green-energy subsidies.

    The scientific basis for catastrophic climate change gets weaker and weaker. The economic argument for green subsidies has already collapsed. It is time for the administration to quit using both arguments to justify a regulatory and fiscal power grab.

    – David W. Kreutzer, PhD, research fellow in energy economics and climate change, Center for Data Analysis

    • Pedro Lopes

      The energy dependency on fossil fuels is still at large and is a menace to all mankind. Obama has got his heart on the right place. More efficient, greener energy is the way to go. Saying that the global warming effects are not as bad now is a bad argument. If the global warming effects were at hazard levels and now are just bad, it does not mean that it is ok just to drop green energies incentives.

      It is easy to get the underlying statement on that Heritage Foundation quote. “Never mind the enviroment, we just want to pay less, consume more and live at large”. The enviroment is everybodys business, and I find those kinds of statements egocentric and greedy.

    • Like a Ross

      The “streak” is based on a misnomer. The last 16 years have been hotter than the previous 16, thus it is safe to say that the climate is warming up.

      Global warming isn’t about beating the max temperature constantly; more about seeing whether the average is rising, which it is.