President Obama said that, "America is closer to energy independence than we've been in decades," thanks to both natural gas (which is a good thing, "if extracted safely") and an ever-growing amount of solar energy. He said that another American home or business "goes solar" every four minutes and he called on Congress to "help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas." On the regulatory side, Obama said he would work "in the coming months" to set a new fuel economy standard for trucks. This means heavy trucks like semis, as light-duty trucks are already covered in the 54.5 miles per gallon CAFE standard for 2025 agreed to in 2011. The President did not mention biofuels or plug-in vehicles in his speech. He did acknowledge new General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who was a guest of the First Lady.
"The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact" - President Obama
As is usual with a State of the Union speech, details were scarce, so we'll have to see how this all plays out in the coming months. One thing that did come across loud and clear, though, was that Obama does not want to discuss the matter with global warming deniers. "The debate is settled," he said, "Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say 'Yes, we did.'"
You can find the full transcript of the SOTU speech here or watch it here. We have reactions from some groups in the green car sector available below.
"President Obama's State of the Union address tonight solidified his leadership on addressing climate change-pledging to "act with more urgency" to reduce our carbon pollution. As the President said, "...the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact," and it is already taking a direct and obvious toll on our communities. If we do not act now to reduce carbon emissions, we will face irreversible and catastrophic climatic changes. His administration has already made great strides with the establishment of the Climate Action Plan, and tonight's address reaffirmed his commitment to moving America toward a more sustainable energy future.
But there are still key opportunities ahead for the President to establish his legacy as a strong leader on climate and energy issues. Taking executive action to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline is the critical first step. Not only does the Keystone XL pipeline fail the President's climate test, as outlined in his speech at Georgetown last year, but it is simply a bad deal for America. As President Obama acknowledged this evening, "The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way." In seeking to leave our children a cleaner, safer planet, we can no longer afford to rely on dirty energy.
The President said tonight that he believes this can be a breakthrough year for America, and I could not agree more-2014 must be a year for action. But I also agree that we need to act with more urgency, and the time to act on climate change is now. We must act politically to ensure that we elect leaders who will put climate change at the forefront of our national dialogue.
Americans cannot afford to wait."
BlueGreen Alliance Reaction to the President's State of the Union Speech
WASHINGTON, DC (January 28, 2014) – Following President Obama's State of the Union address, the BlueGreen Alliance touted its Repair America campaign as a way to accomplish some of the goals the president laid out to address climate change and create good jobs. BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster released the following statement:
"We have the chance to focus our national priorities to ones that reflect the needs of the American people, like creating jobs, increasing competiveness, and protecting communities from the effects of climate change. Tonight, the president set forth for a strong set of objectives that grow the middle-class and create the new job opportunities our country needs.
"President Obama spoke about making communities more resilient to climate change, something we can do by strengthening and reinforcing our infrastructure-the systems that get us back and forth to work, supply our power and gas, keep us safe from floods when storms rage, and more. Climate change is testing these systems every day and the best insurance policy against these threats is to face the challenges of climate change and our nation's failing infrastructure simultaneously. By doing so, we will create and maintain quality, family-sustaining jobs.
"Congress should join the President and act on infrastructure and climate change immediately. A great start would be to pass the National Infrastructure and Development Bank Act. Additionally, doubling down on clean energy and energy efficiency investments-and the gains we've made on advanced vehicles and vehicle fuel efficiency-will create new demand for cleaner technology and tap into a vast potential to create jobs and drive growth. This will only further benefit American manufacturing, all while helping us address climate change.
"While we continue to wait for Congress to act, we applaud the president's commitment to make this a year of action. Repairing America, creating good middle-class jobs, confronting the challenge of climate change, and securing our own competitive advantage are the keys to our success. There is no excuse for inaction. It's time to roll up our sleeves and invest in America's future."
The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites more than 15 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.
To Address Climate Change, Turn to Renewable Fuel
Novozymes says the Renewable Fuel Standard is Nation's only long-term energy, climate policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 28, 2014 - Renewable fuels are a powerful, available answer and ready to address America's climate change and energy needs, according to Novozymes, a global leader in biotechnology and innovation. President Obama discussed energy and climate challenges in his prepared State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
"The President talked a lot about fuels of the future. The transportation fuel of the future is biofuels - and it's ready now," said Adam Monroe, Americas Regional President for Novozymes. "The Renewable Fuel Standard is the Nation's only long-term energy and climate policy. It has cut the emissions that lead to climate change, while creating wealth through investment, jobs and rural growth. Strong, stable policy is key to keeping this momentum. We can't let our environment and economy suffer because of policy instability."
Progress and Investment Under the RFS
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) continues to be the single-most important policy moving the U.S. towards energy security and fuel diversity. Advanced renewable fuel facilities are already in operation or under development in more than 22 states including INEOS Bio in Vero Beach, Florida; KiOR in Columbus, Mississippi; Abengoa in Hugoton, Kansas; POET-DSM in Emmetsburg, Iowa; and DuPont in Nevada, Iowa.
To date, domestic, clean and renewable transportation fuel production and investment has:
Replaced nearly ten percent of our fuel supply;
Created 400,000 good paying jobs and careers;
Laid the groundwork for 800,000 jobs for advanced biofuels by 2022;
Generated $43 billion in GDP in 2012;
Helped reduce foreign oil imports by 25 percent.
In May 2012, Novozymes opened its newest advanced manufacturing plant in Blair, NE, dedicated to making enzymes for renewable fuels. With more than 100 employees and $200 million in private investment, the Nebraska plant is the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in the country. Novozymes chose Blair and the United States over countries like China. A big reason for that choice was the RFS.
Investments like these are under threat following the US Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce its 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from the requirements set forth in law. The proposal would cut conventional biofuel to 13 billion gallons per year from 14.4 and cellulosic biofuels to 17 million from 1.75 billion. This move essentially asks America's renewable fuel industry to produce less domestic fuel. It also negatively impacts America's ability to reduce gas prices, protect the climate, attract private investment and create jobs.Conference Call Tomorrow, 1/29
Fuels America will host a teleconference tomorrow, Wed., Jan. 29th at 12:15 p.m. EST to provide reaction to the climate action plan President Obama is expected to unveil during his State of the Union address. Dial-in number: 1-888-427-9376; conference code: 5119661. Please RSVP to Sara Axelrod at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 295-0177.
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Novozymes is the world leader in bioinnovation. Together with customers across a broad array of industries we create tomorrow's industrial biosolutions, improving our customers' business and the use of our planet's resources. With over 700 products used in 130 countries, Novozymes' bioinnovations improve industrial performance and safeguard the world's resources by offering superior and sustainable solutions for tomorrow's ever-changing marketplace. Read more at www.novozymes.com.