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President Underlines Importance of Climate Change in Inaugural Address

Environment and Energy Study Institute
During his inaugural address, President Barack Obama spoke strongly about the moral imperative of climate change and devoted significant time to the issue. The president vowed that:

“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

More details about a potential climate agenda are expected in the February 12 State of the Union Address, but it is believed that the president will focus on using his executive powers to deal with climate change, rather than attempting to move legislation.

It is possible that President Obama will use regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict emissions from coal-burning power plants and use executive authority to create new energy efficiency standards for home appliances and buildings. In addition, the president will likely attempt to reduce carbon emissions produced by the federal government, especially the Department of Defense, which is one of the nation’s largest energy users.

It is still uncertain if President Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which many environmental groups believe will be the first test of his commitment to climate change action. Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for The Union of Concerned Scientists, said Obama and his team will need “a sustained campaign” to “overcome the opposition of entrenched interests to the rapid transition away from fossil fuels that’s needed to stabilize the climate.”