Obama's State of the Union address tonight is expected to serve as a "spotlight" for his single-handed dictatorial push to bankrupt the coal industry and make electricity prices "necessarily skyrocket," despite polling results indicating that addressing climate change is the dead-last, lowest priority issue for Americans.
President will use spotlight to try to get the public behind new rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent, The Guardian
Barack Obama removes his jacket before he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington, 25 June 2013. [He won't be able to pull the same theatrics tonight during perhaps the coldest SOTU speech in history.]
Campaigners are looking to Barack Obama to expand his use of executive powers to deliver action on climate change in Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
Obama unveiled a sweeping climate plan last June, after warning in last year's State of the Union address that if Congress did not act on climate change, he would.
The president is expected to reaffirm his commitment to that plan in Tuesday night's address, defending his decision to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
He is also expected to offer details on actions by other federal government agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote wind and solar energy, and prepare for a future under climate change.
"I am sure it will be part of his comments in the State of the Union," Carol Browner, who served as White House climate adviser in Obama's first term, told a conference call with reporters. "What we see is a real commitment to moving us forward."
The core of Obama's climate plan remains the EPA's proposed rules for power plants, the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions.
The agency plans to release the next set of proposed rules, which would limit emissions from existing plants, by June of this year.
Obama was widely expected to use the spotlight on Tuesday night to try to get the public behind the new power plant rules, that are at the core of his climate plan.
But Heather Zichal, another former Obama climate adviser, said she expected other federal government agencies to take up climate change.
Zichal said last week she expected the president to press for further tax credits and other incentives to promote renewable energy.
But campaigners will be looking for Obama to expand even more on his climate plan.
They are also unlikely to be happy with Obama's continued promotion of oil and gas drilling, somthing they say is incompatible with action on climate change.
Obama was widely expected to talk up domestic oil production in the speech. "I expect we will hear a message that is consistent with the 'all of the above' message we have heard before," Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, said.
Last year was the fourth hottest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. Despite Obama's directive to the EPA, US carbon dioxide emissions rose 2% in 2013, because power plants burned more coal.
Without additional measures, America will fail to meet its commitment to cut emissions by 17% from 2005 by 2020...
|Addressing climate change was the lowest priority issue by far of the 13 domestic and foreign issues polled