The President was widely criticized last week for omitting certain words critical to explaining the State of the Union (see “Obama calls for massive boost in low-carbon energy, but doesn’t mention carbon, climate or warming” and Brulle: “By failing to even rhetorically address climate change, Obama is mortgaging our future and further delaying the necessary work to build a political consensus for real action”).
This weekend, his climate hawkish science adviser, John Holdren, was not so reticent. Today, in a Penn State speech on energy efficiency, Obama reemerged as a ‘climate eyas’, an unfledged young climate hawk, with these remarks:
Right here at Penn State, a university whose motto is “Making Life Better,” you’ve answered the call. Today you’re preparing to lead the way on a hub that will make America home to the most energy-efficient buildings in the world. Now, that may not sound too sexy, “energy-efficient buildings.” But listen. Our homes and our businesses consume 40 percent of the energy we use. Think about that. Everybody focuses on cars and gas prices, and that’s understandable. But our homes and our businesses use 40 percent of the energy. They contribute to 40 percent of the carbon pollution that we produce and that is contributing to climate change. It costs us billions of dollars in energy bills. They waste huge amounts of energy.
The good news is we can change all that. Making our buildings more energy-efficient is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, combat pollution, and create jobs right here in the United States of America. And that’s what we’re going to do.
As Brad Johnson writes,
Reflecting many of the idea’s in the Center for American Progress’s Rebuilding America proposal, the president’s goal of increasing building energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020 is tied to new tax incentives for commercial building retrofits, expanded loan guarantees, a new competitive grant program for states and municipalities, and new training program and extension service for businesses in energy efficient building technology.
With his strong clean-energy jobs push, President Obama is addressing the crises facing this nation. Steering America to fight climate pollution is his great unmet challenge. He missed the opportunity to teach Americans about the true nature of the severity of the climate crisis in his first two years in office, even as Nashville, Fargo, Russia, Pakistan, Australia, and the rest of the world were pummeled by the hottest, wettest climate on record. He must do more than mention “carbon pollution” in passing before a friendly, collegiate audience, but it’s a start.
You have to squawk, before you can fly….