Last night, the President gave the annual State of the Union – a unique opportunity to argue for his policy agenda for the next year in front of the entire country and all of Congress. Climate change and clean energy have been a significant part of his previous five speeches and this year was no different.
The President strayed from touching on hot button political issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and instead led off with a call for Congress to go “all-in” on innovation by reversing sequestration cuts to research and development. He also reinforced his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, namely the central role natural gas has played in modestly cutting carbon emissions and the rapid success of the solar industry. In addition, the President laid the groundwork for implementing fuel efficiency standards on medium-and-heavy duty trucks and his laser-like focused on regulating carbon emissions from power plants.
The question remains though how the President reconciles his continued push for a bigger role for natural gas, a cleaner but not carbon free fuel, with the world’s long-term climate goals. Is the President doing enough? Is he saddling future Administrations with a bigger policy lift? How much can the President actually do with a Congress that largely refuses to view climate change as an immediate policy issue?
The Energy Collective’s Jesse Jenkins, Capitol Energy Report columnist Matthew Stepp, and ITIF policy analyst Megan Nicholson discuss these issues in the latest #EnergyChat and unravel the implications of the President’s latest State of the Union address on U.S. climate and energy policy.