The day before President Obama was to deliver his State of the Union speech, members of the BlueGreen Alliance held a telepresser to urge the president to take initiative on issues of climate change. David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, offered six steps we can take to improve infrastructure and create jobs while incorporating green initiatives.
Citing a warmer climate, more extreme weather, and a troubled economy, all speakers urged the president and Congress to work together to pass legislation that would regulate greenhouse gases, provide tax credits for clean energy companies, offer incentives for remodeling schools and homes with technology that would cut back emissions, rebuild water systems and gas pipelines, and repair transportation and infrastructure systems.
The BlueGreen Alliance is comprised of American environmental organizations and unions that aim to create jobs and improve infrastructure through an environmentally conscious approach. Partners include The Sierra Club, Service Employees International Union, and the National Wildlife Federation. In addition to Foster, today’s telepresser speakers included Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United SteelWorkers union, Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Mike Langford, General President of the Utility Workers Union of America.
“It’s time we move forward with a bold vision to get the systems we rely on every day in America –power, water, transportation, and communications – back to where we need to be to safeguard our communities as best we can.” Foster continued, “We’re calling on President Obama to lay out a clear path for reducing carbon pollution, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, creating good jobs and building a stronger, cleaner, and fairer economy.”
A recent report from Yale University’s Project on Climate Change Communication illustrates how concerned Americans are about the issue. A majority of registered Democrats and Independents polled believe climate change is an important issue that cannot go unaddressed, lest we risk affecting future generations. Slightly under 50 percent of Republicans agree.
After the State of the Union address, President Obama will hold an online call to discuss how supporters can help in implementing what is laid out in his speech before Congress. Climate change is expected to join the economy, jobs, gun control, and immigration on the president’s list of talking points in both.
During the call, Knobloch warned, “Extreme weather is going to be much more common as climate change continues and we need to get our country ready for it. The president has made it clear that action on climate change will be a priority in his second term, and the highest priority is to make our energy systems, manufacturing facilities, transportation options and infrastructure more resilient while deeply reducing heat-trapping emissions from every source.”
President Obama’s first term has already signaled a commitment to this issue. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included initiatives to advance green industries, providing tax credits to companies who invest in clean energy. The president also passed fuel efficiency standards in the auto industry that will change the future of cars made in the U.S., as well as our dependency on foreign oil. Also, under Obama’s supervision, the EPA placed regulations on air pollution that have additionally limited the use of coal. While more can be done, the president signaled in his inaugural speech in January that climate change will be an important issue in his second term.
Listen to the call here courtesy of BlueGreenAlliance.com
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)