President Obama is scheduled to deliver his final State of the Union address tonight. As in previous years, he is likely to address climate change, energy and environmental issues. What will the 2016 State of the Union have to say about these topics?
We know from previous years' State of the Union speeches (2013, 2014, 2015) that energy, the environment, and climate change have played an increasing role in the Obama administration's priorities. While the administration released a "preview" video on Youtube for the 2016 address, the brief clip doesn't include any substantive remarks about climate, energy, or the environment.
However, the Obama administration has been active on climate, energy and environmental issues, with key developments in the past year such as the adoption of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan regulations limiting power plant emissions of carbon dioxide and the denial of the Keystone XL pipeline's Presidential Permit application. Indeed, President Obama has said that "no
challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet, and
future generations than climate change — and that no other country on
Earth is better equipped to lead the world towards a solution."
Climate change, energy, and the environment are likely to be mentioned along with other administration priorities such as international relations, national security, gun violence, and the economy. Indeed, the White House's State of the Union website features sections titled Economic Progress, Acting on Climate, Engagement in the World, Health Care Reform, and Social Progress and Equality.
Under the "Acting on Climate" heading, the administration website for this year's address notes the December 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, reduced domestic emissions, the largest investment
in renewable energy in U.S. history, and associated job creation. The website also provides a "Record on Climate Change", listing details of the administration's actions to address climate change.
President Obama's final State of the Union address to Congress will be streamed live at https://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu on January 12, 2016 at 9PM ET.