“No challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.”
President Barack Obama struck a defiant pose on the environment in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, signaling a willingness to battle with Congress to keep his initiatives on climate and energy policy on track.
Citing a decade’s worth of record global temperatures — including last week’s announcement that 2014 was the hottest year since modern measurements began — Obama vowed to roll back any attempts to undo environmental regulations intended to cut carbon emissions.
“I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts,” Obama said. The remark suggested a likely veto for legislation that would block key White House initiatives to slash pollution from coal-fired power plants or interfere with efforts to reach a landmark treaty on climate change later this year in Paris.
The president referred mockingly to a favorite line used by politicians — “I’m not a scientist” — to deflect questions about human-induced climate change. “Well, I’m not a scientist either,” he said. “But you know what? I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA.”
Obama touted expansions in U.S. production of both traditional and renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. And he referred only indirectly to the Keystone XL project, the controversial pipeline that would transport Canadian petroleum to refineries in the United States. Rather than focusing on “a single pipeline,” he said, Congress should support an “infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs,” he said.