Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress (text here) had to focus on the economy in this greatest of downturns since the great depression.
Yet he made clear that even in these darkest of times — indeed, especially in these darkest of times — we must make clean energy a top priority, we must address our dependence on oil, and we must “save our planet from the ravages of climate change” if we are to remain a great nation:
We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before….
Now is the time to jumpstart job creation, re-start lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down….
The recovery plan and the financial stability plan are the immediate steps we’re taking to revive our economy in the short-term. But the only way to fully restore America’s economic strength is to make the long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world. The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil….
We are a nation that has seen promise amid peril, and claimed opportunity from ordeal. Now we must be that nation again. That is why, even as it cuts back on the programs we don’t need, the budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future: energy, health care, and education.
Here is where he gets specific on clean energy and climate action: