A well-rested President Obama spoke in Las Vegas on Monday night, telling an audience at the National Clean Energy Summit about new commitments the White House is making toward thwarting the effects of climate change via the use of clean energy.
"I recently committed this country to getting 20% of our energy from renewables beyond hydroelectric power by 2030," Obama said. "Today, we’re announcing new public- and private-sector commitments that will add new solar capacity on more than 40 military bases."
Obama announced executive actions and money from the private sector to help Americans transition to cleaner energy, including $1 billion in loan guarantees for innovative technology, improving solar panels, installing solar panels on military housing and helping low-income families become more energy-efficient.
"We’re also going to make it even easier for individual homeowners to put solar panels on their roof," Obama said, adding, "Americans are going solar and becoming more energy-efficient, not because they’re tree-huggers ... but because they’re cost-cutters."
Coming off a week in Martha's Vineyard where he vacationed with his family, the president boasted about environmental improvements the country has seen under his administration:
"America generates 20 times as much solar power as we did in 2008," he said, adding, "As well as we’re doing in wind, we’re making even more progress in solar." Every three minutes, the president noted, "another home or business in America goes solar."
Two other upcoming trips will also focus on climate change. On Thursday, the president will go to New Orleans for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and next week, Obama will be the first sitting president to visit the Alaskan Arctic. Taken together, the administration hopes to present a strong backdrop to awaken Americans to an impending crisis.
"In Alaska, glaciers are melting ... The state's God-given natural treasures are at risk," Obama said in a video previewing his Alaska trip.
Earlier this month, the White House put new rules into place to cut emissions from power plants. And last year, the president brokered an unprecedented agreement with China to cut carbon emissions. The climax could come this December, with the United Nations climate summit in Paris, where nearly 200 nations could pledge to cut carbon emissions.
But Obama landed in Las Vegas to a scathing editorial in the local paper. "The president is advancing his agenda with unconstitutional abandon because the Republican Congress won't pass it," it said.
Some Republicans, like House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are strongly opposed to the president's clean power plan, saying it will destroy jobs.
Ahead of the president’s Monday address, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid Obama of Nevada praised the president, saying that while Obama will be remembered for many things, “he will forever be remembered” for his work to stop climate change.