In his victory speech to supporters in Chicago, the newly re-elected US President Barack Obama appears to have reaffirmed his focus on tackling climate change and energy security.
Speaking to his supporters at the victory rally in Chicago last night, after winning a second term in office, Obama said: “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”
Pointing to how he would be approaching the issue of energy security, Obama said that will be returning to the White House “more determined and more inspired than ever” to working with leaders of both parties to tackle issues such as “freeing ourselves from foreign oil”.
In a statement, Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, said that, with his re-election, Obama now has the opportunity to “fulfil the promise of his campaign” to tackle the greatest challenges of our generation.
“At the top of the list should be climate change – which is already taking a serious toll on people, property, resources and the economy,” said Steer.
Greenpeace is also holding Obama to his word …
Last week, New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Obama for the presidency, citing the steps he has taken over the past four years in addressing climate change and sustainability.
As he returns to the White House, Obama will now have the opportunity to show where his climate change allegiances lie, particularly with regard to one project – the Keystone XL pipeline.
The project is a proposal to build a 1,897 km (1,179 miles) pipeline that would cut through six US states, including Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, to carry tar sands oil from operations in Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the US Gulf Coast.
The pipeline is being backed by the Canadian company TransCanada and has already faced lawsuits from oil refineries and strong reaction from environmentalists, including the Sierra Club.
The U.S. State Department is expected to make a decision on whether the pipeline is to go ahead or not in early 2013.
Back in March, Obama already approved the building of the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done,” said Obama at the time, during a speech in Cushing, Oklahoma.