The following is a statement by Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, on tonight’s State of the Union Address by President Obama.
“We applaud President Obama’s commitment to ‘reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.’ The President is correct when he says ‘for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.’
“With the reality of more extreme weather on full display—from the Midwest droughts to Superstorm Sandy and the massive wildfires of 2012, we know that climate change is here. Not surprisingly, a majority of Americans want swift and effective federal action to confront this issue.
“The first order of business is setting limits on industrial carbon pollution from power plants. These plants account for the biggest share of the carbon pollution emitted by the United States. Congress directed the Environmental Protection Agency to address these pollutants, the Supreme Court confirmed the agency’s duty, and the President should ensure that the agency acts swiftly.
“Cutting carbon pollution from America’s aging power plant fleet, coupled with boosting energy efficiency and shifting to clean energy sources, will achieve significant reductions in global warming pollution and begin to slow the pace of climate disruption. The President’s plan to ‘cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years’ is a great idea. Meanwhile, we must reject all proposals that tie us to a continued or deepened dependence on fossil fuels as communities across the nation have discovered that the natural gas boom is anything but clean when it comes to their water and air.
“We agree with the President that ‘as long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.’ Our nation has the potential to become a world leader in the race for clean energy future—including wind and solar power. Investments in these technologies and in developing the power sources of the future will bring new jobs and new vitality to communities nationwide.”