Predicting political speeches is always fraught with difficulty, but there have been enough leaks to suggest that Barack Obama’s State of Union address will scale back his ambitious plans on both health-care as well as climate change.
Instead the President will focus on the economy and helping recession-hit families.
Although the White House has denied Obama is scaling back his plans, this is exactly what they are doing.
There is no doubt that climate change has slipped down the list of the President’s priorities since Scott Brown’s election last week and the fiasco of Copenhagen.
And in essence Obama may just be reflecting the way that climate change has tumbled down the list of voter’s priorities in the US too.
The Economy, jobs and terrorism all scored highly in the Pew Centre’s latest survey of voter’s priorities for 2010, with 80 per cent or more rating it as a “top priority”.
In contrast only 28 per cent put global warming as a top priority, the bottom of the list.
This is bad news for anyone pushing climate as an issue.
This means that the chance of Cap and Trade legislation being passed this year look extremely slim.
“Realistically, the cap-and-trade bills in the House and the Senate are going nowhere,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who is trying to orchestrate a bipartisan package of climate and energy measures told the New York Times. “They’re not business-friendly enough, and they don’t lead to meaningful energy independence.”
It is not surprising that many in the energy industry are ecstatic. “Reality is hitting, and the reality is the American people are interested in jobs, not extreme legislation,” said Larry Nichols, chief executive of Devon Energy and chairman of the American Petroleum Institute. “Because of the shift in raw political power, there now has to be compromise.”
And we all know that a “compromise” in Washington is in real terms a victory for the industry lobbyists.
So it remains to be seen what Obama will say today, but don’t hold out any high hopes.
According to the Guardian, some Obama aides are “advising the president to downplay or even avoid mention of the words ‘climate change’,” in his speech.
What a difference a year makes..