“If congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”
US President Barack Obama directly addressed climate change as a grave danger to future generations, stressing the role of solar and wind as a solution and a job creator in his State of the Union address on February 12th, 2013.
In his most aggressive statements on these issues in years, President Obama stated that he would take federal action on climate if Congress does not act. However, besides calling for greater investment in science and research, he offered few specifics for advancing renewable energy.
"We have doubled the amount of energy that we get from wind and solar – with thousands of good jobs to show for it," said President Obama. "But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change."
"If congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will."
"All of the above", except coal
Before talking about climate change or renewables, President Obama first outlined the work that his administration has done to move towards energy independence, including decreasing imports of foreign oil and increasing vehicle mileage standards.
And while Obama also stated that the United States is attempting to catch up to other nations that have taken the lead on renewables, he followed his remarks on renewable energy with an emphasis on natural gas, as part of an "all of the above" energy strategy.
In practice, the Obama Administration has backed every form of electricity generation except coal. Through the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy (DOE), the Administration has enabled expanded oil and gas exploration, including drilling on public lands, and provided loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors, while also supporting renewables.
Under President Obama, the DOE and the new Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) have also invested in both research and development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies including solar technologies.
More may be on the way. In his State of the Union speech, Obama called for investment to reach "a level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race".