Human Journey

Everybody’s Happy With State of the Union

While President Obama did mention a green economy, green jobs, high-speed rail, and climate legislation like Green Guide thought he would, he also revealed some potentially brown aspects of his energy agenda.

In discussing his energy plans, he brought up investment in nuclear energy, offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, and “clean” coal as ways to create green energy jobs–a move I thought would prompt criticism from environmental groups.

However, most environmental organizations that released statements about last night’s speech lauded the president–and mostly for prodding the Senate to pass meaningful climate legislation. Greenpeace was the notable exception, saying in its statement, “It was … disappointing to hear the President promote coal, offshore drilling, and nuclear power, since these forms of dirty energy are expensive distractions that stall the fight against climate change.”

Groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, and Alliance for Climate Protection were among those supporting Obama’s speech.

Business organizations such as the American Wind Energy Association, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and the Nuclear Energy Institute were obviously pleased with Obama’s speech, focusing on the jobs their respective types of energy create. They estimate job gains in the thousands.

James Robertson


Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • Steve Gates

    Here at ACCCE, we are pleased with President Obama’s assessment that continued investment in clean coal technologies will help create clean energy jobs. We’re also pleased that the president reiterated his support for the coal industry today, telling lawmakers at a House GOP retreat that “nobody has been a bigger advocate of clean-coal technology than I.”
    Of course, the president is right. Investments in clean coal technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) WILL create clean energy jobs – and allow us to keep the jobs we already have. In fact, research shows that depending on how many CCS-equipped plants are deployed, some five to seven million man-years of employment could be created during construction and a quarter of a million permanent jobs added during ongoing operations. As we seek to continue to help our economy rebound, these clean energy jobs will be more important than ever.
    In addition, thanks to over $90 billion invested in advanced technologies, today’s coal-based generating fleet is 77% cleaner in terms of emissions currently regulated under existing Clean Air Act programs per unit of energy produced. In addition, we are on the cusp of more breakthroughs to lead us to ultra-low emissions because of the support of the president and both parties in Congress. We appreciate the bipartisan support we receive and president’s kind words today.

  • The Window Man

    This was a disappointing statement about coal and offshore drilling. Though we can be “self sufficient” regarding energy, this is not sufficient for the welfare of mother earth.
    “I am here to serve.”
    The Window Man

  • Linda

    Well this is a kinda practical view. Yet this isn’t sufficient to utilise the natural resources. The president’s idea can be worked out to certain extend. Still many more new implementations should be designed which would satisfy both the environment’s purity as well as industrialist’s pockets.
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    I feel that some five to seven million man-years of employment could be created during construction and a quarter of a million permanent jobs added during ongoing operations.
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