Barack Obama told Congress on Tuesday that the US has plans to further reduce carbon emissions while boosting renewables and energy efficiency.
In his annual State of the Union address, the US president said, “America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.”
He stressed the role played by natural gas, thanks to recent fracking developments across the US, and said that the country was using less foreign oil than ever before as a result.
“I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas”, Obama said.
While he didn’t clarify whether the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would be approved, the president said that the US wants to increase the production of renewable energy, in order to create a “cleaner and safer planet”. This particular sentiment echoes the content of a speech he delivered in June 2013.
“Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do”, he said on Tuesday.
Obama added that despite the US cutting its carbon pollution more than any other country over the past eight years, his administration wants to do more.
“We have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods.
“That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled.
The president added, “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.”