President Barack Obama praised the rise of renewable energy production, and warned of the impact of climate change but did not offer an array of new energy and environment initiatives during his final State of the Union address to Congress January 12.
In the speech, which lasted less than an hour, Obama was critical of climate change skeptics and said that global warming is essentially a matter of settled science. The president said that those who argue against the science of climate change are going to be “pretty lonely” outside of Congress.
The president said that the nation must learn to harness emerging technology to solve issues like the impact of climate change. The president praised the advancements that have occurred in commercialization of wind and solar energy during the past seven years.
Obama said that early in his administration “we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.” Obama said that homeowners should have the option to generate and store their own electricity.
As might be expected, Obama’s energy comments did cause the usual stir on Twitter, where both supporters and critics of his energy efforts went to weigh in.
An official with the Institute of Energy Research (IER) Tom Pyle disagreed that wind power has become cheaper than “conventional” energy. “The true costs are hidden by subsidies,” Pyle said. IER also said that job losses in the coal-fired economy offset employment gains in wind and solar energy.
In Obama’s actual speech there was scant mention of the “conventional” power sources of coal, nuclear and even natural gas. On transportation fuels, the president did make a quip about gasoline costing less than $2/gallon
Wall Street Journal energy reporter Amy Harder summarized her take on “Obama’s relationship with fossil fuels” in a tweet. “Coal: never that into you. Oil: necessary but I’m not a fan. Natural gas: I’m not that into you – anymore.”