Obama gives energy-themed speech

by Michelle Frey

October 23, 2009

Today, President Obama gave an energy-themed speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His speech is just ahead of hearings on the climate and energy legislation scheduled to be taken up by the Senate next week.

Here’s a statement by Damon Moglen, Greenpeace’s Global Warming Campaign Director:

“President Obama’s speech comes at a critical moment in the national conversation about how our country must respond to the global warming crisis, and we welcome his renewed engagement in this critical debate.

“However, with negotiations stalled just six weeks before international climate talks in Copenhagen, the world needs President Obama to go beyond political speeches and make firm commitments based on science.

“The climate and energy legislation passed in the House and now the similar Senate bill have been a source of international disappointment. The bills’ weak targets for reducing emissions, and billions in wasted giveaways to the coal industry, handicaps America’s ability to build a clean energy future at home and to provide global leadership on this life and death matter.

"It is clear that Congress will not pass legislation this year that goes far enough and fast enough in addressing the demands of climate change. The President must get out of the back seat and take the wheel of America’s climate policy. At a domestic level, the President needs to assert executive authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate decisive growth in the clean energy economy.

"At the international level, Mr Obama should be articulating ambitious vision and commitments for Copenhagen which are in-scale with the global need to address climate change.

"Tomorrow, the most widespread day of global political action the planet has ever seen will demand that world leaders secure a fair, ambitious, and binding treaty at Copenhagen capable of preventing the worst impacts of global warming. We hope President Obama will be listening because today the American plan to address the crisis falls short of this imperative.”

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