FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 28, 2014
Contact: Maggie Kao, 202-675-2384 or email@example.com
Sierra Club Statement on State of the Union
Washington, D.C. — Tonight President Obama gave his 2014 State of the Union address.
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, issued the following statement in response:
“Tonight, President Obama laid out his vision of opportunity for our nation and made it clear that our children will hold us accountable for what we do — or do not do — to address climate disruption.
“The President has taken significant steps forward by committing to hold dirty power plants accountable for their toxic carbon pollution and to protect our public lands. We’re also encouraged to hear his plans to help repair and modernize America’s infrastructure.
“Unfortunately, the sum total of the President’s commitments fall short of what American families need to ensure a safe, healthy planet for our children. We can’t drill or frack our way out of this problem. There is far more potential for good job creation in clean energy like solar and wind, and common sense solutions like energy efficiency.
“Make no mistake — natural gas is a bridge to nowhere. If we are truly serious about fighting the climate crisis, we must look beyond an ‘all of the above’ energy policy and replace dirty fuels with clean energy. We can’t effectively act on climate and \expand drilling and fracking for oil and gas at the same time.
“To fight the climate crisis, we must resist the temptation to trade away American jobs and public interest policies to foreign corporations. We must walk away from boondoggles like fracked gas. And we must seize on the opportunity and the obligation that the climate crisis has thrust upon us.”
|The State of Our Union:
Ready to leave fossil fuels behind.
If you tuned in to watch the State of the Union address tonight, you heard President Obama send a strong message on the need for urgent and bold climate action when 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.”
– President Obama, January 28, 2014
But in tonight’s speech, President Obama missed his opportunity to truly commit to that vision. As long as his administration keeps throwing lifelines to old sources of energy like oil and gas, we won’t be able to lead the world on clean energy solutions like wind and solar.
Tonight, President Obama said that natural gas is “the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” He also said, “I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.” He’s trying to have it both ways — but we can’t drill and frack our way out of the climate hole we’re in.
The president is right to be proud of America’s progress on solar energy and the historic steps he’s taking to crack down on dangerous carbon pollution. When he unveiled his climate plan last summer, I said it gave me hope that he would continue to lead on climate and clean energy solutions.
We know how to build a 100 percent clean-energy economy1 and it doesn’t include tearing up more of our national treasures to pull more dirty fuels out of the ground. Getting all of the energy we need without using fossil fuels is no longer a question of whether we can — but whether we will. President Obama has the power to put an immediate stop to future drilling and fracking on public lands, but it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to use that power.
Now is the time for that leadership. Oil and gas companies are relentlessly pushing the president to keep one foot in the past — we need to be just as relentless in showing him how to stand up to the fossil fuel billionaires. Take action now!
Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,
Sierra Club Executive Director
 A Plan for a Sustainable Future: How to get all energy from wind, water and solar power by 2030, Scientific American, November 2009