Biden: Most Important Thing Obama Can Do Is Get a Handle on Climate Change

Penny Starr | June 17, 2015 | 12:28pm EDT
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Vice President Joe Biden spoke on June 16, 2015 at the White House Clean Energy summit. ( Starr)

( – Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that climate change is the “single most important thing” that he and President Barack Obama will address during their eight years in office.

“This is the single most important thing that Barack Obama and Joe Biden can do in eight years of a presidency and vice presidency is to actually get a handle – get a handle -- on climate change,” Biden said at the White House’s clean energy summit.

As previously reported, in his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015, Obama said, “No challenge--no challenge--poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.


At the summit, staged to announce $4 billion in private sector investment in clean energy research and development and detail executive actions taken by Obama to increase the federal government’s role in investing and developing clean energy, Biden touted that role and importance of fighting climate change.

“What you’re doing really, really matters, and I want to tell you you’ve got a partner in us,” Biden said to a crowd of alternative energy advocates and activists. “We’ll do everything that’s reasonably possible, and there’s no pride of authorship here. We’re doing things that aren’t working.

“We could do more to make it work better for you, all to make it more attractive to invest and be engaged. Let us know, because this is the single most important thing that Barack Obama and Joe Biden can do in eight years of a presidency and vice presidency is to actually get a handle climate change,” he said.

Biden also pointed out that alternative energy is not what powers the United States.

“North America is now [and] will remain the epicenter of energy for the remainder of the first half of this century at least and probably well into the next century,” Biden said. “We’re no longer going to be talking about the epicenter being Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or Venezuela – North America is the place.”

But, Biden said, renewable energy is “the future,” despite the small percentage of energy it currently produces.

“Right now, renewable energy … generates about 13 percent of our electric energy needs and about 10 percent of all of our energy needs in the nation,” he said.

“Since 2008, solar generation has increased 20-fold,” Biden said. “Granted, it still only represents about one half of one percent of our needs, but over time, there’s no reason why they can’t increase exponentially.”

Biden said wind and solar power have increased and predicted the energy those sources produce will double in the next five years.

“There’s not a single reason on God’s green earth – and you are going to help keep it green – that by the year 2020 renewables aren’t doubled and represent 27 percent of the electric generation and 20 percent of all energy generation,” Biden said.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, using data from the federal U.S. Energy Information Administration, 95 percent of the U.S. transportation sector consumption is fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – with only five percent coming from alternative energy sources.

Fossil fuels also meet around 82 percent of U.S. energy demand, according to the federal government.

The IER website also states: “Despite the rapid growth of global demand for petroleum products, the EIA estimates that less than half the world’s total conventional oil reserves will have been exhausted by 2030. These estimates include existing oil reserves and anticipated reserves resulting from new technologies and discoveries. World oil reserves at the end of 2014 totaled 1655.56 billion barrels, over 3.1 times their level in 1971. The world’s oil reserves have steadily increased even in the face of rising consumption.”

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