In a rather lengthy interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama spilled the beans about how he feels about the US government’s current climate and energy policy and the good news is that he’s just as unhappy with it as we are. In a talk that covered the most pressing issues that have come to his desk in the first two years of his presidency — from Guantanamo bay, to the war in Iraq, to the climate debate and the BP oil spill — he spoke candidly about what he believes is a failing in Congress to pass comprehensive legislative climate policy. Then he promised that the buck hasn’t stopped here and that change is coming.
“Climate change has the potential to have devastating effects on people around the globe, and we’ve got to do something about it. In order to do something about it, we’re going to have to mobilize domestically, and we’re going to have to mobilize internationally,” Obama said when asked by Rolling Stone if climate change was the major moral issue of the 21st century. He went on to note that his administration has “not made as much progress as I wanted to make when I was sworn into office. It is very hard to make progress on these issues in the midst of a huge economic crisis, because the natural inclination around the world is to say, ‘You know what? That may be a huge problem, but right now what’s a really big problem is 10 percent unemployment.'”
He continued by saying that the bill that has currently passed is only the beginning and starting next year he’s going to go full steam ahead putting together a set of policies that really matter. “One of my top priorities next year is to have an energy policy that begins to address all facets of our overreliance on fossil fuels. We may end up having to do it in chunks, as opposed to some sort of comprehensive omnibus legislation,” he noted.
In the midst of addressing the fact that our government is currently quite paralyzed by two parties that refuse to work together he noted his optimism that the future looks greener than the present. He said he feels confident that legislation will be passed and he promised more reform is coming. He stated the progress that renewable energy technology has made thanks to investments from the Recovery Act and that Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is on top of making sure that technology presses forward into a real renewable future.
Perhaps the most promising answer President Obama gave — well, most promising to us — came when he was asked by Rolling Stone if he can foresee a, “point at which you’re going to throw the whole weight of [your] presidency behind this, like you did on health care or financial reform?” The President responded with a resounding, “yes.” He noted that in the first two years of his presidency he’s accomplished 70% of his campaign promises and that within the remaining 30% lies the climate and energy policies he envisions and that he’s dedicated to seeing them through. The President noted that the government will continue to pursue smart grid technology, smart transportation technology, cleaner building practices, building retrofits and renewable energy technology. Now, I guess we sit back and wait to see if he keeps his word, but it looks like a pretty strong foot forward if you ask us.