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Barack Obama: five years at the top



Five years ago today, Barack Obama was elected the 56th president of the US. Charlotte Malone takes a look at the environment, energy and climate track record of his tenure so far.

Environmental issues have played an increasingly prominent role in Obama’s policies and are likely to continue to do so through his second term.

Despite the 2012 presidential campaign being noticeably silent on climate issues, Obama was regarded as the best candidate by the green sector.

In his second inauguration speech, Obama pledged to “respond to the threat of climate change”. Blue & Green Tomorrow previously looked at how Obama’s cabinet reflected this aim.

During his time in office, Obama has spoken out about the need to curb carbon emissions and tackle climate change numerous times. Most recently, he announced the creation of a Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

The climate taskforce aims to remove barriers and create incentives in order to encourage investments, practices and partnership to improve the resilience against against climate impacts.

In June, Obama made a commitment to tackle climate change and save future generations from a “planet that’s beyond fixing”. During a speech at Georgetown University, he said would not tolerate discussions on whether or not climate change is real and vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost clean energy.

The speech was credited with helping boost investment in clean technology, which saw a 56% increase in venture capital financing during the same quarter.

In a separate speech, Obama commented on the importance of renewables. He said, “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”

He has also noted that Sweden was far ahead of other countries in terms of renewable energy and as a result the US can learn from the country.

Meanwhile, during a visit to Tanzania, the president spoke about the importance of sustainable investment for African countries in order to improve their self-sufficiency in the emery and food production sectors. He added that this could “unleash the next era of African growth”.

Further reading:

US can learn from Sweden advancement on renewables, says Obama

Clean technology investment ‘reenergised’ after Obama climate speech

Obama calls for sustainable investment in Africa

Obama send strong climate change message to global counterparts in speech

Obama orders new curbs on carbon emissions and vows to act on climate change