President Obama’s Inaugural Speech Highlights Climate Change as a National Priority

President Obama reignited the conversation on climate change during his inaugural speech Monday morning. He devoted eight sentences to the issue of climate change, more than he did for any other subject in his speech. This was a crucial moment in history, as addressing climate and energy issues will necessarily require robust executive support to drive any new policy action in the United States.

President Obama emphasized the effect of climate change in increasing the occurrence and strength of natural disasters, a topic highlighted in Energy Innovation’s report, The Extremes Become the Norm. While noting that “the path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult,” President Obama stated that America must lead the global transition to new energy systems and “cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries.” Energy Technology Innovation Leadership in the 21st Century recommends policies to support nascent energy technologies from their early research stage through to market deployment, as well as policies to support tightening appliance efficiency and vehicle fuel mileage standards. These policies all appear to be on the table in Obama’s second term and will hopefully remain administration priorities throughout the next four years.