Obama flags solar achievements in final State of the Union address

Obama pushed back against climate-change detractors in his final State of the Union address. Image: jmtimages/flickr

US President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday night in Washington D.C., hitting on a variety of topics including solar in his last annual address to the American public. 

While Obama focused on issues such as national security and the upcoming election season, he also spent time to talk about the future of renewable energy in the US, as well as the threat of climate change.

Obama, who has helped introduce measures such as the Clean Power Plan in an effort to spur innovation and renewable-energy growth within the US, noted that the country has made significant progress in adopting new sources of energy during his presidency.

“Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history,” Obama said. “Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal – in jobs that pay better than average. We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy – something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support. Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.

“Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”

Obama continued, stating that the US needs to continue to shift away from fossil fuels and provide citizens with more bang for their buck when it comes to reliable energy.

“Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy,” he said. “Rather than subsidise the past, we should invest in the future – especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.  That way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system.

“None of this will happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo.  But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve – that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.”

Obama also took the time to disparage individuals who still discredit the issue of climate change, especially in regards to developing new sources of energy.

“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it,” he said. “You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it. 

"But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record – until 2015 turned out even hotter – why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?”

For Obama’s entire State of the Union address, watch below: 

Tags: barack obama, state of the union, united states