The general consensus on Pres. Obama’s State of the Union (‘SOTU’) address yesterday seems to be ‘good on energy’ but ‘bad on climate’. Indeed, he failed to mention climate change at all. It is worth remembering that Obama has his eyes set on the 2012 Presidential elections. That is why he has one foot firmly planted in the hallowed centrist/middle ground. With the internal battles waging in the Republican party and the insurgency of the Tea Party movement, perhaps he is right to nod towards the centre and assure moderate/swing-voters that he can be trusted to make the right decisions, with a cool head.
Unfortunately, climate change takes little notice of party politics. For Obama not to even mention climate change in the SOTU is very worrying! The US needs a President who is willing to lead on issues as important and (sadly) divisive as climate change. As the graph above shows (h/t to Climate Progress and Matthew Hope from Univ. Bristol), Obama has mentioned climate change even less than when george Bush was President.
We urgently need a pan-European grouping of leaders to raise the profile of climate change once again. The US cannot be allowed to shirk its responsibilities to the rest of the world.