Biden Takes Victory Lap on Climate Change in State of the Union Without Any Plans


I will be honest with you. Joe Biden’s State of the Union address seemed harmless enough. Biden didn’t offer anything new. He stayed true to his Democratic talk points, made jabs at the GOP hecklers, and seemed alert and awake, which is a victory in itself.

It is a fact that the State of the Union address has little to no content. The most notable aspects of the State of the Union address are the reception and the crowd. We as a nation tend to move along between 24 and 48 hours. We’ll be done by Friday morning and this speech will be a part of the history book “A Thing That Happened”.

Everybody has their own view of what happened, from the “decorum of the GOP hecklers to the “decorum of Biden’s extreme views about guns” and everything in between – but what was not said at the State of the Union address is what matters most.

Climate change.

Joe Biden did refer to the “Inflation Reduction Act” environmental bill, and he did criticize oil companies for making large profits… but that was all. He did not offer any new strategies to combat climate change nor did he go into the details of what Congress’ environmentalism bill would accomplish. These subjects were not his forte. Why?

A group called “Grist”, made a note of Biden’s inability to comment on the future of combating climate change. The reaction of the environmental left to that last night is worth watching. Here’s Grist’s statement.

The State of the Union did not have a clear vision of how it would tackle the numerous climate deadlines that were looming over the next two years. This included new emissions limits for coal-fired power stations and vehicles, as well as efficiency standards for appliances, industry, and other areas. The Environmental Protection Agency has been experiencing delays and staff shortages. There is also concern about federal court obstructions to climate action, resulting from a large bench of conservative judges who were appointed under the Trump Administration.

Jamal Reed serves as the executive director at Evergreen Action, a Washington-based climate advocacy group. Reed spoke to Grist ahead of Tuesday’s address. He said that Biden’s investments have been huge for the transition to a cleaner economy. However, he acknowledged that there are still many things that need to be done in D.C. regarding climate change.

Reed stated that “The IRA” and “the current baseline” do not take us to the place we need to honor climate obligations. Reed was referring to the law’s projected reduction of emissions by 42 percent by 2030 – 8 percent less than the U.S. has committed to under international agreements. We need to encourage states to invest more quickly than ever before in these investments. We must implement the Inflation Reduction Act quickly, efficiently, and equitably to ensure that we get those dollars out of the door.

Biden actually made an old political call to action last evening – a return to American manufacturing dominance. This is something that environmentalists don’t like. Also, the president mentioned off-hand that “we are going to need oil at least for another decade,” which is not something the left is happy to hear.

Only 38 percent of registered voters said climate change was a top issue prior to the November midterm. This is far below the number of key issues listed by Pew. In a Gallup poll, it was not listed as a major issue.

Biden and his staff see and comprehend this. Biden’s speech was not about the economy or bipartisanship. The same Gallup poll found that voters most care about leadership in office, followed closely by inflation and the economy. Biden’s record on climate change is good enough to run on for his base. It seems unlikely that he will push for more between now, and the 2024’s presidential election (assuming he is even running).

His team and he knows it will be difficult to get the House on board with anything even remotely similar to their agenda last night. This includes a broad agenda that includes gun control, police reform, teacher and worker pay increases, as well as gun control and policy reform. There will be strategic battles, and the White House may not find the energy to fight climate change worth it.

This could prove to be a backfire. Biden is already unpopular within his party. Biden hopes that base voters who are more focused on green issues than any other issue will vote for him because they hate Republicans more. This is a safe bet but one he will hate.