President Obama is using his State of the Union speech Tuesday night to chastise lawmakers who deny the science of climate change, saying they will “be pretty lonely” as the world moves toward cleaner energy in the future.
“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it,” Obama wrote, according to prepared remarks released by the White House.
Obama has often admonished members of Congress who doubt climate science, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who last year took a snowball onto the Senate floor to decry what he considers alarmist conclusions about man-made global warming.
Obama is highlighting his work on clean energy in the speech, framing the international climate deal reached in Paris one month ago as a statement by the world’s nations that more needs to be done to cut carbon emissions and keep the earth from warming in the future.
He said the U.S. has come a long way on green energy in his term, noting American investments in wind and solar power, both of which have boomed during his tenure in the Oval Office.
“In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power,” he wrote.
“On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal — in jobs that pay better than average.”
Obama's remarks also note low gasoline prices, something attributed in part to high American oil production.
“We’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth,” he said. “Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”
Obama’s comments are likely to please environmentalists and greens, who have lauded the work the president and his administration did on climate change during 2015.
But fossil fuel organizations, including major oil and coal interest groups, knocked Obama’s energy plans earlier on Tuesday, calling on him to institute policies to help develop more oil and gas and support the coal industry in his last year in office.
“We believe it’s time for the administration to re-examine its assumptions about energy,” American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard told reporters. “We know the U.S. can lead the world in both emissions reductions and in oil and gas production.”