During his first term, President Obama ran into considerable obstacles in his quest to combat climate change, and the topic itself became quite politicized. During Obama’s first term, his stimulus package did contain an unprecedented number of resources to set up clean energy projects and companies.
Unfortunately, some of the Department of Energy’s financial assistance ended up going to companies that eventually went bankrupt or ran into other significant financial trouble. Solyndra, for example, was a topic drawing the ire of Republicans who held the endeavor up as an example of a poor and unnecessary investment. So, too, were Fisker Automotive, A123 Systems, Abound Solar, and considered to be failed endeavors.
Even Democrats criticized President Obama, not for lack of interest in and awareness of climate change, but for not taking aggressive action on the topic.
In fact, on the campaign trail both Obama and Romney stopped using the term altogether, deeming the topic too controversial and politically polarizing.
So, during the inauguration speech, the President’s direct mention of the need for sustainable energy sources in the effort to combat climate change was a huge shock to nearly all. President Obama defined clean energy sources as natural gas, renewable energy such as solar and wind power, and clean coal and nuclear power.