MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 9 (UPI) — President Obama took a break from fundraising to give a speech at a Walmart in Mountain View, California on climate change and the need to embrace clean renewable energy Friday.
The president said he’d ordered $2 billion in upgrades to increase the energy efficiency of federal buildings, and used the opportunity to announce the White Houses new solar panel array.
(Jimmy Carter actually had solar panels installed on the White House when he was in office, but Ronald Reagan had them taken down.)
White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said the solar panels demonstrate the president’s “commitment to lead by example to increase the use of clean energy in the U.S.”
The president also added that the Department of Energy would be adopting new standards that represent the energy equivalent of taking 80 million cars off the road.
This Tuesday, the White House released the National Climate Assessment report, detailing the impact fossil fuels have had on accelerating climate change and laying out the impacts of global warming Americans are already facing.
Some have criticized Obama’s choice to speak at a Walmart, a company notorious for choosing profit over people, but the president has been taking what he calls a “pen and phone” approach to fighting climate change, reaching out to the private sector and soliciting promises from over 300 organizations — including big names like Walmart, Yahoo, Google, Apple, Ikea, and Home depot — to expand their use of renewable energies.
“This is going to make a difference,” President Obama said. “It’s the right thing to do for the planet. But it’s also the right thing to do for the economy. Because when you save that money, you can pass it to consumers in the form of lower prices. Or you can create more jobs.”
Obama has taken this approach because his administration has been unable to move any significant legislation on the matter through Congress in the face of GOP opposition.
“Unfortunately, inside Washington we still have some climate deniers who shout loud,” he said, referring to Republicans who have ignored or rejected reports on global warming.
“Climate change is a fact,” he added.
“We can’t afford to wait, and there is no reason why we can’t go further than we have so far,” the President said. “Climate change is real and we have to act now.”