Obama stands by energy strategy while pushing climate change fund

President Obama isn’t backing down on his “all of the above” energy strategy or his promise to tackle climate change with the release of his 2015 budget proposal.

Obama’s proposal, released Tuesday, supports his belief in natural gas as the “bridge fuel” to help curb carbon pollution and mitigate climate change, and it outlines investments in “cleaner-burning fossil fuel technology.”

{mosads}The increased investment will likely draw criticism from environmental groups, which seek to convince Obama to abandon his “all of the above” plan for a “best of the above.”

Groups including the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund wrote to Obama earlier this year, warning him that his energy strategy fundamentally clashes with his climate change legacy.

“We believe that continued reliance on an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy would be fundamentally at odds with your goal of cutting carbon pollution and would undermine our nation’s capacity to respond to the threat of climate disruption,” the letter said.

Still, while touting natural gas investments, Obama also included the $1 billion climate fund in his proposal, which will help communities better prepare for and adapt to extreme weather events caused by climate change.

The fund, which is a new element not included in Obama’s climate plan announced last June, would need approval from Congress. It would be a tough sell for many, but groups like the Sierra Club are optimistic.

“I think the reason why it has a chance of making it into the final budgetary package is because what he is doing is addressing a number of congressmen and senators and so much of this climate fund is assisting states and localities prepare for the inevitable,” Melinda Pierce of the Sierra Club said.

“Lawmakers oppose it at their own peril because their own mayors and state legislatures need these funds. These are literally common-sense solutions that are not just good for the climate but good for public health and good for the pocket book,” she added.

Republicans in Congress, however, show no signs of surrender when it comes to Obama’s climate policies; Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) has said the fund doesn’t stand a chance.

A fact sheet provided by the administration also states that the budget looks to expand and make permanent tax credits for renewable energy production and eliminate the $4 billion per year in taxpayer subsidies to the oil and gas industry.

Republicans blasted Obama for his intent to eliminate the oil and gas subsidies after taking credit for the country’s record crude oil production.

“The president should be concerned about the deficit of new ideas in his budget,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute. “Raising taxes on U.S. oil and natural gas companies would undermine the investments in energy production that are driving job creation and moving us closer to energy security than we have been in decades.”

Tags bridge fuel Climate change climate fund John Hoeven Melinda Pierce Natural gas Sierra Club

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