Obama: “The energy bill before the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy…. Make no mistake: This is a jobs bill…. I know this will be a close vote, in part because of the misinformation out there….”

… in a decade, the price to the average American will be just about a postage stamp a day….

There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy.  It’s happening.

Memo to Obama speechwriters:  The price to the average American household will be about a postage stamp a day (see Krugman takes on the “fantasists” of the “burn-baby-burn crowd” for opposing climate action that costs Americans 18 cents a day).

This afternoon, President Barack Obama made a special statement on Waxman-Markey, going well beyond what he said at yesterday’s press conference (see Obama: “I believe that this legislation is extraordinarily important for our country.”)

If you want to know what the best talking points on the bill are, read what he said today.  Not only is this a “jobs bill” (that will create 1.7 million net new jobs across the country) and that “will protect consumers from the costs of this transition” (especially with 7% lower electric bills by 2020), but “the price to the average American [household] will be just about a postage stamp a day,” (as reported by the CBO).

Below is a transcript of Obama’s remarks, and here are some early clips of the actual speech.   Read it, view it, and gain some serious inspiration for the next 48 hours.  There’s no better inspiration than our brilliant and eloquent president. Enough with the Republican falsehoods “misinformation” — America needs to pass this bill.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Statement on the Energy Bill
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Washington, DC

Good afternoon. Right now, the House of Representatives is moving towards a vote of historic proportions on a piece of legislation that will open the door to a new, clean energy economy.

For more than three decades, we have talked about our dependence on foreign oil. And for more than three decades, we have seen that dependence grow. We have seen our reliance on fossil fuels jeopardize our national security. We have seen it pollute the air we breathe and endanger our planet. And most of all, we have seen other countries realize a critical truth: the nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.

Now is the time for the United States of America to realize this too. Now is the time for us to lead.

The energy bill before the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy. It will spur the development of low carbon sources of energy — everything from wind, solar, and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal. It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.

Make no mistake: this is a jobs bill. We’re already seeing why this is true in the clean energy investments we’re making through the Recovery Act. In California, 3000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1000 jobs. In Michigan, investment in wind turbines and wind technology is expected to create over 2,600 jobs. In Florida, three new solar projects are expected to employ 1400 people.

The list goes on and on, but the point is this: this legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries. And that will lead to American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. I have often talked about the need to build a new foundation for economic growth so that we do not return to the endless cycle of bubble and bust that led us to this recession. Clean energy and the jobs it creates will be absolutely critical to this new foundation.

This legislation has also been written carefully to address the concerns that many have expressed in the past. Instead of increasing the deficit, it is paid for by the polluters who currently emit dangerous carbon emissions. It provides assistance to businesses and families as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies. It gives rural communities and farmers the opportunity to participate in climate solutions and generate new income. And above all, it will protect consumers from the costs of this transition, so that in a decade, the price to the average American will be just about a postage stamp a day.

Because this legislation is so balanced and sensible, it has already attracted a remarkable coalition of consumer and environmental groups; labor and business leaders; Democrats and Republicans. Now I urge every member of Congress — Democrats and Republicans- – to come together and support this legislation. I cannot stress enough the importance of this vote. I know this will be a close vote, in part because of the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth.

But my call to those Members of Congress who are still on the fence, as well as the American people, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past. We have been talking about this issue for decades. Now is the time to finally act.

There is no disagreement over whether our dependence on foreign oil is endangering our security. It is. There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy. It’s happening.

And there is no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy. The question is – which country will create these jobs and these industries? I want that answer to be the United States of America. And I believe that the American people and the men and women they sent to Congress share that view. So let’s take this opportunity to come together and meet our obligations – to our constituents, to our children, to God’s creation, and to future generations. Thank you.

Center for American Progress intern Austin Davis helped with this post.

19 Responses to Obama: “The energy bill before the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy…. Make no mistake: This is a jobs bill…. I know this will be a close vote, in part because of the misinformation out there….”

  1. MarkB says:

    What’s your call? Does the House have enough votes? Is it going to be that close as Obama suggests?

  2. MarkB says:

    On a lighter note, Joe Barton, key opposer of this legislation, said today:

    “It would radically change America as we know it,” countered Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. “It would mean the elimination of all fossil fuels used in America by the year 2050.”

    If only! Although not entirely true, the funny thing is he’s making such a claim as if it’s a BAD thing. How horrible it would be to gradually reduce our dependency on fossil fuels over several decades. Let’s keep the addiction alive!

  3. Dan says:

    WSJ argues that we’ll have less renewable energy with the bill than with BAU. It says because the EPA indicates efficiency will cut the amount of generation that will be added. If this isn’t a disengenous twist on the EPA’s report, I dont know what is. Sad.

    [JR: The disinformers at The Breakthrough Institute strike again!]

  4. David says:

    What percentage will the U.S. need to slash emissions at Copenhagen to get us stabilized at 450 ppm? And doesn’t this treaty have to be ratified by 2/3rds of the Senate?

  5. paulm says:

    They just dont get the risk involved here. Its crazy!

  6. Gail says:

    Wait! Stabilized at 450 ppm? I thought we are supposed to get back to 350 ppm in order to avert catastrophic climate change? I thought I saw somewhere that 450 ppm leads to feedbacks that bring us to disaster? Since when is 450 stable?

    [JR: Nobody knows. Goal is NOT to stabilize at 450, but peak near there and then go negative. Not easy, of course.]

  7. David says:

    I don’t know. I’ve seen 450 as a number Romm has put up. I think 350 or lower is most desireable, but 450 is right before the tipping point which leads us to 800-1000 ppm. Anyone can correct me if I”m wrong.

  8. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    Gail and JR:

    How does one go “negative” on ppm in a world where the ‘bathtub effect’ happens?

    One can go down on new annual emissions, but not on total average ppm, right? At least not for a millennium, right?

    Are we talking about this correctly? Is 350 just a slogan for “need to do better” then? Tell me if I am missing something.

  9. Gail says:

    CSJ, I can’t tell you, I’m just a backyard gardener. i can tell you, I am frightened. Significant Other says he is convinced and optimistic that human ingenuity will find a magical way to not only reduce emissions but remove existing CO2 from the atmosphere. Oh and maybe make ocean water desalinization practical for agricultural irrigation.

    I am not so sanguine.

  10. A Siegel says:


    There are a variety of paths for ‘spinning the dial backwards’. For example, biochar/agro-char: sequestering carbon in ‘black soil’ via agricultural processes (take agricultural waste, charcoal it, and dig it into the soil). If CCS actually works, could take the carbon directly out of the atmosphere and sequester it. Etc …

  11. John Hollenberg says:


    Another person who is pretty concerned is David Fridley. He is now a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Chu was his boss. He believes to a certainty that society is literally running out of gas and that, perhaps within years, the trucks will stop rolling into Safeway and the only reliable food available will be that grown in our backyards.

    There is an interesting article about the “Transition Movement” (of which he is a part) here:

  12. Chris Winter says:

    Here’s an interesting (if tangential) bit. It’s probably referenced somewhere on ClimateProgress, but here’s the direct link:
    “Bush Hiding Truth: Global Warming Regulations Worth $2 Trillion Benefit”

    It has to do with a study of EPA GHG regulations that the Bush administration kept under wraps for a while. One of its findings was: “Assuming gas prices in the range of $3.50 per gallon, the net benefit to society could be in excess of $2 trillion through 2040.”

  13. Florifulgurator says:

    What A Siegel said.
    Agro-char our only hope? Joe?

  14. Greg Robie says:

    Making “clean energy the profitable energy” is an oxymoron (in the current collapsed/collapsing economic paradigm). The hegemony of the US dollar, and the “profit” it denominates, is systemically integral to dirty energy. Paradigm shifts are very destructive to old ways of thinking . . . and in the paradigm shift required to addressing climate change, which the science—and the trends in that science require, it includes what constitutes “profit.”

    Currently, “profit” and “wealth” is anchored in the dynamics that became possible when OPEC’s chose to denominate its oil sale in US dollars. This decision facilitated corporate America’s “need” for the US continued to tread away from being a nation of thrift to one of credit. OPEC’s decision complimented the abandonment of the vestiges of a constitutional currency that occurred around the same time. In 1971, didn’t the US currency fully became a fiat debt-based one? Wasn’t that when the dollar, as a silver certificate, joined the rest of the printed currency and became a Federal Reserve Note? Didn’t this completed change constitute an alignment of purpose relative to profit and wealth as debt that wealth; that measure of what profit is in our society.

    Is it helpful to remember that corporate citizenship, as a social concept, was 40-50 years old when consumer credit first got going; 80-90 at the time of the transition to a debt-based fiat currency; and now a century and a quarter old as the fears a loss of its sense of wealth inspires economic focuses re: this non -climate changing climate change bill? If Sapiens become sapient due to age, and the oldest living man is 113, whose dirty wisdom is now socially dominate? Can us/US relative youngsters learn to think for ourselves; think different; to feel and think clean; to imagine a just wealth?

    Not as long as we feel and think of “profit” as we do; trust in the “wealth” as we do. Darn the hard truths of paradigm shifts!

    The President is right. ACES/W-M is a jobs bill. It is a stimulus bill. Comparing it to Scotland’s legislation, it is NOT a climate change bill.

  15. Gail says:

    John Hollenberg, I cannot thank you enough for that link.

  16. dhogaza says:

    Well, looks like the CEI and knuckle-draggers like WUWT are pulling out all the stops, with the CEI claim of “EPA coverup” because they politely declined to include stuff like Spencer’s “water vapor is a negative feedback” pseudo-science in their assessment. Gosh, this came out a day before the vote. Pure coincidence!

  17. dhogaza says:

    Actually the negative water vapor feedback nonsense isn’t Spencer, it’s another whacko analysis done by a guy named Paltridge.

    RealClimate has a post up on “carbongate” for those interested.

  18. James Newberry says:

    This historic, if compromised and too long, bill is about Energy, Economy, Climate Change and Environment as well as National Security and Health Care.

    A substantial amount of our nation’s disease and death burden is directly due to many avenues (and roads) of public and ecosphere contamination. Clean energy is a transforming concept that directs us toward ecological economics that will ultimately eliminate the need to set mined or imported materials on fire. (We still need to work on the uranium addiction and security threat part.) The national security, health benefits and jobs creation potential of the bill are underestimated by many conventional economic models, which are based on twentieth century paradigms that no are longer functional. Let’s hold our noses, continue progress in the spirit of American Revolution and vote yes.

    A note to the administration: mined coal, oil, gas and uranium have nothing what-so-ever to do with clean, renewable energy. Anyone telling you different is either ignorant of sustainable energy policy economics or vested in the ideology of transnational dirty energy. Sincerely, JRN.