“The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future…. And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution.”
The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months. I will make the case for a clean energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done. But we will get this done. The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century.
Insiders had said the President would begin the pivot from the BP oil disaster to the need for comprehensive climate and clean energy jobs legislation this month (see “write Obama’s ‘pivot’ speech to the climate and clean energy jobs bill“).
Obama’s speech at Carnegie Mellon University today has garnered a lot of press attention for doing just that. Here are the key excerpts:
The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error – or corporations taking dangerous short-cuts that compromised safety. But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth – risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren….
The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future. That means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy efficient…. And it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.
But the only way the transition to clean energy will succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future – if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed. And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution….
The House of Representatives has already passed a comprehensive energy and climate bill, and there is currently a plan in the Senate – a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans – that would achieve the same goals. The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months. I will make the case for a clean energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done. But we will get this done. The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century. We will not move back. America will move forward.
Perhaps Obama has finally listened to his campaign pollster: “In the aftermath of the oil spill disaster, voters overwhelmingly support a comprehensive clean energy bill”¦. Voters understand the dangers of our dependence on oil. Now, they’re ready to hold Congress accountable.”
Or countless others (see Robert Redford tells President Obama it’s time to lead “America on a path to cleaner, safer energy”).
Senators Kerry and Lieberman released this statement:
Kerry, Lieberman: President Obama Personally Pushes for American Power Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), authors of the Senate’s comprehensive energy independence and climate change legislation, today praised President Barack Obama for committing to round up votes to pass the American Power Act:
“President Obama is clearly putting his shoulder to the wheel to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year. Nothing could be more definitive than his explicit commitment today to find the remaining votes needed to pass this vital legislation.
“Today marks four times in just the last twelve days that the President has thumped the bully pulpit to urge Senate action. We share the President’s determination to pass this critical bill so that our nation can begin to move toward a clean energy future. The tragic events in the Gulf underscore the need to move without haste to ensure, as the President eloquently stated, that ‘the next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century.’ This is clearly a moment demanding bi-partisan action. It can attract votes on both sides of the aisle. It’s good policy and good politics both. We have to leverage this moment to get the American Power Act passed this year.”
Now the President just needs to do this a few times a week for months, including a prime time speech and personal lobbying.