Will Obama omit climate change from State of the Union speech?

January 20, 2010

There are mounting fears for environmental groups that President Barack Obama could sideline global warming issues in his State of the Union address. Environmentalists are lobbying hard for the President to send out a strong signal about his commitment to addressing climate change.

However, the recent loss experienced by the Democrats in Massachusetts could be a deciding factor. Republican Scott Brown’s victory there over Democrat Martha Coakley is akin to a Protestant becoming the Pope. Massachusetts has long been a Democratic stronghold and the loss is attributed to Obama’s focus on the healthcare bill. Many Americans believe that the President should be focusing on the economy instead.

This factor alone could be the one that influences Obama in his stance on environmental issues. Inaction on the part of the U.S. can be used by other countries like India and China as an excuse for delaying any action on global warming. “[Everyone is] looking to see what he might say in the State of the Union to suggest that the administration continues to move forward on this agenda, or that they are going to back off somehow because of a variety of political realities.” said Steve Cochran of the Environmental Defense Fund.

However, the prospects are not looking good for the environmentalists, as the Democratic Party is still reeling from the Senate seat loss and will place a great amount of pressure on Obama to scale down commitment on one of the signature issues he promised to address during his campaign.