"State of the Climate" is Obama's Challenge
President can't rely on fossil fuels to achieve climate change goals.
(The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.)
We are encouraged that President Obama made climate change a centerpiece of his speech tonight. We applaud his commitment to facing this challenge, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.
President Obama has taken courageous actions so far to back this commitment. His leadership in achieving strong clean car standards has been a huge accomplishment, and we are thrilled with his leadership in tackling carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source of climate change pollution. And tonight, the President went further and affirmed that we can’t allow destructive energy development on our pristine public lands.
The success of the President’s climate plan and our children’s future depends on viewing all fossil fuels decisions through the lens of climate impacts, as the president has said he would do for the Keystone XL pipeline. Those agencies responsible for drilling off our coasts, fracking, mountaintop removal, and fossil fuel exports have to prioritize climate change just as the EPA is doing, and the President needs to ensure that they do.
An ‘all-of-the-above energy strategy’ cannot work for the President’s own climate action plan and the climate vision he espoused tonight. All energy sources were not created equal. Clean energy is better for our families, communities, future generations, and American competitiveness. The United States should be placing our bets on ‘best of the above,’ not ‘all of the above.’ The President rightly called out the need to invest in solar energy that can power our homes and our economy rather than fossil fuels.
While the President touted natural gas, we shouldn’t be committing ourselves to a future fueled by gas. The President is right that we must protect air and water and stop the methane pollution coming from the gas sector now. But we should not be locking ourselves into fossil fuel dependence that doesn’t pass the President’s own climate test.
Trip Van Noppen served as Earthjustice’s president from 2008 until he retired in 2018. A North Carolina native, Trip said of his experience: “Serving as the steward of Earthjustice for the last decade has been the greatest honor of my life.”