The president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday gave a boost to the administration’s all-of-the-above energy policy, much to the dismay of major players in the environmental movement. The head of at least one green group has plans to push back.
“Last night’s speech clearly showed that the administration has not yet reconciled the discrepancy between its energy and climate policy,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in an interview. “But Sierra Club along with many other environmental organizations will continue to emphasize this point.”
Brune went on to say that the Sierra Club will make the case that President Obama’s energy policy is undercutting his climate agenda by documenting how the carbon footprint has expanded dramatically with increased domestic oil and natural-gas production.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that the heads of a number of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the League of Conservation Voters, sent a letter to the White House saying that an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy stood at odds with the president’s commitment to act on climate change.
“The problem is that this all-of-the-above energy policy is, in practice, an all-of-the-below policy,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, an international campaign to end climate change. “It’s a policy that promotes digging up every form of hydrocarbon we can find on this planet. If one were serious about dealing with climate change, one would not have an all-of-the-above policy.”
McKibben hesitated even to give Obama credit for mentioning climate change during the speech. “Sure, the president talked about the importance of acting on climate, but the idea that anyone should get points for that at this point strikes me as pretty questionable,” he said.
Brune did sound a note of optimism in his response to the address. “There were parts of the speech that were quite good,” he said. “It was great to hear the president say he’s committed to fighting climate change, good to hear him talk about curbing coal pollution in power plants, and investing in modernizing our energy infrastructure.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that 350.org signed onto the letter to the president.
What We're Following See More »
"President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments" to former Playboy model Karen McDougal "who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump." The FBI seized the recording during an April raid of Cohens office. "The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election," which may violate federal campaign finance laws. Days before the election, Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks denied any knowledge of the payment, and said that the allegations were "totally untrue."
Conservative Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, a former CIA agent, says in a New York Times op-ed this morning that Russian intelligence is "manipulating" President Trump. "The leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad," he writes.
"Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved. 'Important verbal agreements' were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements," and cooperation in Syria.
"Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election. The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation. Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed."