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SOTU Sobriety …

January 24th, 2012 · No Comments

Honestly, the State of the Union (SOTU) has never been a time which I’ve seen as ‘getting drunk’ time. However, there has grown over the years a State of the Union drinking games tradition. And, well, 2012 builds on that tradition.

Let’s take a look, for a moment, at the President’s forshadowing of tonight’s SOTU address.

If one follows State of the Union 2012 drinking game (, then the expectation should be — considering the foreshadowing — that one will wake up with a serious headache tomorrow and little recollection of the Republican “response” to the President’s speech (with key messages coordinated / facilitated by representatives of foreign fossil fuel interests).

Now, when I conceive this tradition against what is projected for the State of the Union address, my game is simpler: will the President speech give rise for celebration as to a serious battle to address the most critical issues our nation faces to provide for prosperity and security in the decades to come?

Yes, I agree, the 1% dominance imperils our nation. Yes, I agree, the economic hardships on 10s of millions of Americans while Wall Street spews out $177 billion in bonuses is horrendous. Yes, I agree …

However, the most critical issue is to figure out how to navigate the Perfect Storm of economic havoc, energy supply challenges, and environmental limitations. These must be addressed as an integrated package because addressing them in isolation from each other will lead to (is leading to) catastrophe.

Yes, at the end of the day, it does come down to Global Warming and Peak Oil.

My prediction, amid discussion of ‘homegrown energy’, boosting U.S. oil production, and developing ‘alternatives’ (sigh, likely to again include “clean coal” and “natural gas”), neither term will come up.

And, well, those are my two ‘drinking game’ terms … and, thus, I expect to remain sober this evening.

PS: A bottle will be close at hand … Now, there is at least some reason to hope that I am wrong. As per EENEWS,

Energy and environmental insiders on and off Capitol Hill said yesterday that they were unsure whether Obama would again spend a significant amount of time calling on Congress to promote a clean energy standard that would require 80 percent of U.S. power to come from low-carbon sources by 2035.

E.g., it is possible that President Obama will forcefully lay a case for ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, will call for carbon and other pollutants to be made ‘internal’ to pricing, and … And, if so, then the bottle will not remain full.


Some good discussions to consider:

Green For All, A Plan to Keep America First

One way to put people back to work now is to seize the obvious opportunity in front of us. Shifts in energy production and consumption, in resource use and re-use, provide massive economic opportunities. And so, we respectfully submit to the President the following course of action – it provides the best short and long-term strategy to maintain American economic leadership.

Rather than “building an economy”, as the President states, we must work to “create a 21st economy”.

Francis Bernanke, NRDC, The Environmental State of the Union

The coming year will be filled with campaign-fueled debates about jobs and the recession. Clean energy can deliver what both parties are looking for: greater prosperity and market growth.

Let’s abandon once and for all the false choice of pitting economic progress and environmental protection. The two actually go hand-in-hand.

Smart standards protect our health and put Americans to work at the same time.

Brian Merchant, Treehugger, Obama’s State of the Union: A Big Chance to Stump for Clean Energy & Climate Action

I’d bet that he’ll make another push for clean energy (remember, his first 2012 campaign ad featured an energy independence and jobs theme), knowing well that most of the nation hasn’t been snookered by the GOP’s fixation on Solyndra.


The big question to many, however, is whether he’ll address climate change. Last year, as you’ll recall, he didn’t utter the words once. Gernot Wagner reminds us that he didn’t say ‘global warming’ or even ‘carbon’, either.

Brian suggests some optimism on clean energy but doesn’t think the President will weigh in on climate science, even as Brian provides a good case as to how he can and should. Let’s hope the WH follows Brian’s advice.

Get Energy Smart! NOW! An election about science

When it comes to the November 2012elections, few people identify science as the core issue. Economic concerns (JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!), fossil-foolish fueled anger at government, passions over the role of government, the Occupy Movement (what is happening to the 99% while the 1% profit?), and otherwise are among the many “core” issues. A hidden element of the election, for most Americans, is that this election is fundamentally about science.

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