President Obama Uses the CC Phrase

You’ve probably heard enough about that "CC" phrase in President Obama’s inaugural address, but just in case you haven’t, we, like everyone else in the green community, fell back in our chair gasping as we listened to him speak from his heart about climate change.

As someone that’s longed to hear these words for way too many years, my relief and gratitude came through in tears.

We’ve waited and waited – for decades – to connect the dots. And to connect those dots to the importance of renewable energy in a time when fossil fuels are once again booming in the US is important.

"His forceful commitment to take action will rekindle the hopes of so many that we are at long last approaching the political tipping point, beyond which we will finally start transforming our economy to sharply reduce global warming pollution and safeguard the future," says Al Gore in his blog.

In his most progressive speech ever on so many fronts, Obama finally put climate change and renewable energy front and center in his agenda:

"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.

"The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries -­ we must claim its promise.

"That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasures -­ our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."

Green Groups Response

Knowing there’s still a huge fight ahead with Republicans in Congress, not to mention behind-the-scenes conservative groups like ALEC and Heartland, at least Obama uttered the words (on the national stage) they have worked so hard to make taboo.

To put substance behind those words, the green community is looking for several priority actions:

1. Reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

2. Set carbon reduction rules for existing power plants

3. Use executive authority to drive clean energy forward

4. Be a leader at the international climate change talks

For example, how will renewables fair in the upcoming sequester and spending cuts? Will common sense regulations be issued for natural gas fracking? Will drilling for oil in the Arctic be allowed to continue?

We know renewables can power the US. Many studies show that. The question is how Obama (and Congress and the states) will balance that against the boom in oil and gas and even coal exports?

"This is a call to action against the climate chaos that is sweeping our nation and threatening our future. Now it’s time to act. Power plants are our single largest source of carbon pollution. We must cut that pollution. We must do it now, for the sake of our country, our children and the future we share," says Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

President Obama made it clear that the changes we desperately need and want won’t happen without strong citizen involvement that counteracts the power of the fossil fuel lobby.

The biggest rally yet is scheduled for February 17 on the National Mall to send the message to stop the tar sands pipeline.

Click here to join the rally in DC:

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