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President, U.S. Public Both Advocate Action On Climate Change

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As expected, President Barack Obama followed up his inaugural address with stronger climate and energy rhetoric during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. He urged Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, but also pressed the issue further:

“But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

Though Congress remains divided on the topic, a national poll conducted immediately after the speech by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Public Policy Polling found that the majority (65 percent) of Americans think that climate change is a serious problem, and that 60 percent of Americans also support the president in using his authority to reduce dangerous carbon pollution.

In PR and communication terms, "climate" has become a bit of a no-no over the last few years when addressing the purpose of the cleantech movement. To avoid skepticism, "climate" was replaced with other benefits like "green jobs," "energy independence," and even "national security."

With Obama in his second term and no longer operating under the possibility of re-election, he’s made a notable shift in his communication around climate change—an issue he seemingly hasn’t mentioned since his original presidential campaign. Tuesday’s speech was the clearest call for action against climate change by any U.S. president, ever. This support is a positive for the cleantech industry—which is working to regain the unanimous support it enjoyed a few years ago.

 

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Tania Ku

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