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Last night, President Obama gave his fifth State of the Union, his first since being reelected last November. The Guardian reported on how the President tackled climate change in the address with his call that “if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” He vowed to push for more solar and wind energy at cheaper prices and to encourage more drilling for domestic natural gas. Energy efficiency was also included in the address, with President Obama setting a goal of cutting energy wasted in homes and businesses in half in the next 20 years. Microsoft’s own work with smart buildings has shown that IT can be used as one of the main ingredients to cut out energy waste.
Renewable energy was a hot topic ahead of the State of the Union too. Earlier this week Climate Progress reported that Bloomberg New Energy Finance has released a new Sustainable Energy in America 2013 Factbook. Commissioned by the Business Council on Sustainable Energy, the factbook includes detailed information on energy consumption, renewable energies, improved efficiency and provides a detailed account of the current energy market. Climate Progress also highlighted the factbook’s findings on federal and state policy for renewable energy, arguing that policies like a feed-in tariff or carbon tax have a significant role to play in supporting investments in renewable energy.
While the U.S. needs to focus more of its attention on climate policy and sustainability, some parts of the country can act as an example for the rest. Three U.S. cities were featured on FreshHome’s list of the 10 most impressive smart cities on earth, reports Wired. San Francisco, Seattle and New York were all featured on the list, which was created based on how a city combines information and technology to reduce environmental impact and boost livability.