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Renewable Energy a Priority in President Obama's State of the Union Address

U.S. President Barack Obama has been adamant about research and investment in renewable energy throughout his term in office. Now, pandering to a republ...

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|Jan 26|magazine8 min read
U.S. President Barack Obama has been adamant about research and investment in renewable energy throughout his term in office. Now, pandering to a republican-led congress, Obama is making his way to the front of the party lines, coming off as more centrist than he has ever been to-date in an attempt to cooperate with his republican counterparts.

America’s conservative base has a large majority that is still suspicious of renewable energy, and believes that the immediate fiscal benefits of exploiting all of the United States’ oil and coal reserves far outweigh the negative environmental implications. However, the fact remains that there is a finite amount of these reserves available to the world, and renewable energy eventually must take over.

In his State of the Union Address, the president attempted to appeal to republicans when remarking on clean renewable energy. Obama incited the republican values of entrepreneurialism and business development that characterize the renewable energy movement, believing that the fast-emerging market is key to creating jobs of various skills sets, thus reviving the American economy. He promised to redirect billions of dollars in taxpayer money away from subsidies for oil companies toward renewable energy research and development.

President Obama stated, “clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.”

Obama also set a goal of having 1 million alternative energy vehicles on the roads by 2015, and stressed the need for the U.S. to break its foreign dependency on oil.

The president even went so far as included clean coal and nuclear energy—favorites among republicans—as sources of clean renewable energy along with solar and wind (although coal is certainly not renewable as there is a finite amount in reserves).

Interestingly, apart from interchanging the words “renewable” energy with “clean” energy, the president made no mention of global warming and other environmentalist arguments in his call for an alternative energy future, making it all the more obvious that his message was directed to the still skeptical republican base.

In spite of the media backlash Obama is taking for his newfound interest and sleight shift to the right, the fact of the matter is that this is the smartest thing the president could do at this conjecture. He may even be able to accomplish more in the second-half of his term than the first by understanding his conservative counterparts and working together to create tangible solutions to the problems facing the United States and the world at-large—because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about American politics in the last 20 years, its that republicans, more-so than democrats, tend to get their way. When they don’t, they often refuse to collaboratively participate in the congressional process. So Obama may as well start learning how to work with them, otherwise it’s going to be an utterly wasted second-half of his presidential term.

 Source: The White House