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

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.”