US President Barack Obama

29 January 2014 — President Obama has used Tuesday’s 2014 State of the Union address to reiterate the reality of climate change, promote the solar power industry’s contribution to the economy and call for fossil fuel subsidies to be cut.

“Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced,” President Obama said.

“Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.”

Mr Obama said that the country’s energy policy was “creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet”.

“Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth,” Mr Obama said. “But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.

“The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

However, in the speech Mr Obama also said natural gas was “the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change”, saying he would “cut red tape” so $100 billion dollars of investment in gas plants could go ahead.