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RELEASE: Recommendations for President Obama’s Energy and Environmental To-Do List

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Center for American Progress released two analyses that preview President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, evaluate his fifth-year clean energy successes, and recommend new actions that would leave our health, climate, economy, and environment far better off than when he took office on January 20, 2009.

An analysis by Daniel J. Weiss, Jessica Goad, and Shiva Polefka propose 5 additional climate and clean energy policies that build on the 10 energy and environmental priorities that CAP recommended for President Obama prior to his inauguration last year to build on his first-term clean energy successes. Now, one year later, with the annual State of the Union address coming up, we can assess the status of these recommendations and add five new actions that would further enhance our health and safety, grow our economy, and protect our air, water, and climate.

Because of this urgency, CAP recommends that the Obama administration promptly take the following steps:

  1. Establish an ambitious 2025/2030 national climate pollution reduction goal
  2. Extend wind, solar, and other renewable energy tax incentives through 2020
  3. Permanently protect the Arctic Ocean from high-risk oil production
  4. Keep American oil at home
  5. Establish a carbon pollution reduction plan to guide the management and conservation of America’s public lands

An analysis by Matt Lee-Ashley and Jessica Goad notes that 13 of the 18 presidents since Theodore Roosevelt have discussed land and water conservation in their State of the Union speeches. They identify three ways in which President Obama can use the State of the Union as an opportunity to re-energize his conservation agenda, jumpstart the outdoor recreation economy, and build a lasting legacy for America’s lands, water, and wildlife:

  1. President Obama should challenge Congress to protect new national parks and wilderness areas, making it clear that he will use his executive authority to do so if Congress fails to act
  2. The president should make the protection of places that are “too special to develop” a core component of a balanced, sustainable, and strong energy strategy
  3. As part of his Climate Action Plan, the president should announce that his administration will establish a carbon-emissions reduction strategy to guide the management and conservation of America’s public lands and waters

Read the analysis:

To speak with an expert, contact Anne Shoup at or 202.481.7146.