President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama received a hero's welcome in Chicago on Tuesday night as he took the stage to deliver his farewell speech. Credit: AP

Obama recently delivered his farewell speech to the American people in the historic city of Chicago. While there wasn’t a dry eye during his speech as he recapped his message of ‘hope and change, I’d like us to look back at the top achievements that defined his administration.

For the past eight years, he fought hard to protect our planet for future generations. From permanently banning new drilling from the Arctic to designating 28 national monuments and signing onto the historic Paris climate agreement.

“In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil; we’ve doubled our renewable energy; we’ve led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet,” said Obama in the farewell speech in Chicago on January 10, 2017.

“But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change. They’ll be busy dealing with its effects: more environmental disasters, more economic disruptions, waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.”

The U.S in general—the renewable sector specifically owes much gratitude for its tremendous growth under Obama.

Back in 2008—when I just got into the industry—the U.S had only 1.2GW of solar and 25GW of wind energy capacity installed. Today, that tally has reached 31GW of solar power capacity and 75GW of wind energy.

Think of the leap! Plus it doesn’t end there:

Under the Obama administration, the EPA announced its first-ever plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants. The same government rejected the ambitious and “big oil” backed Keystone XL pipeline.

The administration finalized a fuel-efficiency standard of 54.5 MPG by 2025, signed into the audacious Paris Agreement, banned offshore drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, and permanently protected the Arctic from new drilling.

To stop the growth of coal, Obama pushed forward and stopped new coal mining on all federal lands and announced new protections for 60 percent of America’s waters.

To boost renewables, the administration expanded solar and wind energy development on public lands.

To protect wildlife, President Obama announced a near-total ban on interstate ivory trade. To safeguard America’s monuments; He established the Atlantic ocean’s first maritime monument and 28 other national monuments across the country.

“Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to solving the problem. But to just deny the problem not only betrays future generations, but it also betrays the essential spirit of this country — the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.” Obama added in the speech.

Thanks, Obama!

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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