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United States

Obama renewables promise low on specifics

UNITED STATES: US President Barack Obama used his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday to call for the continued growth of renewable energy.

However, the President offered little in the way of policy specifics.

"Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more," Obama said.

"Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we."

The lack of specific policy proposals to accomplish this goal stands in contrast to last year. The president used his 2012 address to call on Congress to pass the expiring $0.022/kWh federal production tax credit and implement a clean energy standard. He also promised to open public lands to renewable energy development.

Obama did launch an expected second-term push on climate change in the speech, encouraging Congress to enact a market-based cap and trade plan and serving notice he will use his executive powers to act if lawmakers don’t.

Obama said: "I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."

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