"The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact."

These statements were made by President Barack Obama during his 2014 State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Among a plethora of other topics, Obama touted the need for a continued push in the energy efficiency market. This section of his speech took a focused look at the effects of natural gas and urged that its safe extraction could be the bridge fuel to America's energy independence.

"Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas," said Obama. "I'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas."
Continuing on the energy topic, Obama noted the importance of solar in the United States.

"Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can't be outsourced," his speech continued. "Let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do."

He went on to remind the American public that the current energy policy is creating jobs as well as a safer planet. According to Obama, the United States has reduced total carbon pollution over the last eight years more than any other nation.

"But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods," he explained. "That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way."

Industry Changes Ahead?
What exactly Obama and lawmakers have planned for clean energy in the future is yet to be written, but the statements made during the State of the Union address could be considered an advance warning on the changes that may come. It seems that a push towards natural gas could not only affect the auto industry, but with shipping, delivery drivers, and contractor fleets, this idea of natural gas cars might need to go on the distributor's radar.

Another item to look at is solar. Its increased use and federal encouragement could increase demand from a distributor's customer. That translates into a need for knowledge and possibly increased skus to support solar HVAC items.

The final clean energy thought Obama mentioned was the need for increased efficiency. He alluded to the further cutting of carbon limits that may be tough but necessary. With HVAC being approximately 30 percent of the built environment's power draw, it could be important to watch for changes in carbon limits and the legislation that may lead to a cap and trade scenario.

Catch the full State of the Union address, and let us know what you think about Obama's energy initiatives for the coming year.