Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Step Into the Future

We've said this before. And we'll say this again today. In order to solve the great crises that climate change, we must start with some simple steps.

Perhaps President Obama has been thinking about this. Last night, he surprised many media pundits with his climate proposals during his State of the Union address.

The President aggressively defended his administration's new rules on power plant emissions, then vowed to step up his administration's fuel efficiency standards for trucks. And he flat out rejected the climate denialism that continues to pollute the halls of Congress. The President made it clear that America can't afford to waste any more time trying to dismiss proven science, and that our time will be much better spent pursuing a smarter energy future.

So what about that smarter energy future? Will the President's plan live up to last night's hype? Well, it's complicated. While he indeed made a cogent case for climate action last night, he also somewhat negated his own message by reiterating his support for an "all of the above" strategy.

Can we truly afford "all of the above"? The US is currently ranked 43rd in the world in climate policy effectiveness. Last year was one of the hottest on record. And the UN Climate Chief has recently declared global renewable energy investment must triple in order to meet global greenhouse has emissions targets. Can we truly afford an "all of the above" strategy that includes dirty fossil fuels?

Contrary to inaccurate media reports, the renewable energy sector is humming along quite well. If anything, the fossil fuel industry keeps running into more trouble. So why continue propping it up with an "all of the above" strategy and with rules that favor fossil fuel conglomerates over renewables?

Instead of "all of the above", we need the best of the above. And that means we must invest more in the energy of the future. That also means we must be more efficient with the energy we already have.

Overall, this administration has made progress on climate change. It's even managed to do so despite a recalcitrant Congress. It would be horrifically tragic if that progress is offset by additional efforts to "Drill Baby Drill" into the dark money pit of fossil fuels. We need to finally break from that dirty past and step into the future.

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