Climate & Energy Blog

“All of the above” underachieves, under-delivers and overshadows harmful climate and trade policies in State of the Union

Posted Jan. 29, 2014 / Posted by: Adam Russell

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Friends of the Earth was disappointed by President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, in which the president reiterated his “all of the above” energy policy and continued to support environmentally destructive trade deals, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica made the following statement:

“Except for natural gas drilling, it is nearly impossible to understand what President Obama stands for. Last night the State of the Union address was filled with numerous climate contradictions. You simply cannot have an ‘all of the above’ energy policy and be serious about addressing carbon pollution. You cannot threatened to wield the regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon pollution and call for regulatory streamlining and free-trade deals that limits governments ability to protect human health and the environment. And you simple cannot call for protecting more public lands and the elimination of tax breaks for oil and gas producers while continuing to back the expansion of natural gas drilling and other fossil fuel extraction.  

"Simply put, instead of exhibiting leadership the president has abdicated his role in leading the country in the battle to fight carbon pollution.” 

In addition, the inability to express a coherent carbon pollution strategy, President Obama discussed trade negotiations. Pica had the following comments. 

“President Obama gave only quick lip service to his support of the controversial Trans Pacific and Trans Atlantic trade deals and his request for corporate-friendly, trade promotion authority to move them through Congress without full consideration. Perhaps he was reticent to promote the streamlining of trade pacts that will undermine government regulations while trying to implement carbon pollution policies and discuss structural inequality in the United States.

"The president has argued in the past that TPP and TTIP would create jobs, citing optimistic projections of jobs gained through exports but ignoring the far larger number of jobs lost from new imports, particularly jobs for the 63 percent of Americans without college degrees. In his State of the Union address the president deplored income inequality, but his trade policy would increase it.

"The threat to our environment from these trade deals can't be understated. The TTP and TTIP would allow foreign investors to bypass legitimate courts, and sue countries before business-friendly tribunals, for millions or billions of dollars as compensation for obeying environmental laws. Even as the world faces a true global warming crisis, a wide array of progressive energy policies would be put at risk, including potential TPP attacks on any decision to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and TTIP attacks on Europe’s fuel quality directive, which disadvantages high carbon tar sands oil exports. Across the board deregulation related to toxic chemicals, smoking and food safety, among others, can be expected from the two deals endorsed by the President’s contributors but not the American people.”

Two weeks ago, 18 environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth, sent a letter calling on the president to move past his “all of the above” energy policy. For further State of the Union responses on Twitter from Friends of the Earth and Erich Pica, click here

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Contact:
Eric Dyson, (202) 222-0730, edyson@foe.org

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