Obama Slams GOP Claim America Can’t Compete: “I’m Not Going to Surrender to Other Countries.”

Last week, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) said “We can’t compete with China to make solar panels and wind turbines.”  As Climate Progress noted, this defeatism is  un-American in every respect.

This morning, President Obama responded bluntly:

I heard there was a Republican member of Congress who is engaging in oversight on this. And despite the fact that all of them in the past have been supportive of this loan guarantee program, he concluded, “You know what? We can’t compete against China when it comes to solar energy.”

Well, you know what?

I don’t buy that. I’m not going to surrender to other countries the technological leads that can end up determining whether or not we are building a strong middle class in this country.  So we’re going to have to keep on pushing hard to make sure the manufacturing is located here, new businesses are located here and new technologies are developed here. And there are going to be times when it doesn’t work out, but I’m not going to cave to the competition when they are heavily subsidizing all these industries.

Here’s the video:

TP Green notes that “Stearns, like dozens of other Republicans, are on record supporting the clean-energy loan guarantee program they now attack” and adds:

In fact, the clean energy sector in the United States is one of the few bright spots for the middle class in today’s economy. The U.S. solar industry was a net global exporter by $1.9 billion in 2010. U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20 percent of the world’s installed wind power. The clean energy sector grew by 8.3 percent between 2003 and 2010, nearly twice as fast as the overall economy, with good-paying jobs for blue- and white-collar workers.

However, Republicans like Stearns are actively trying to cripple the future of clean energy manufacturing, by killing off any rules or programs that reward clean work instead of fossil-fuel pollution.

America can compete — if anti-science, pro-pollution Republicans don’t stop us.

18 Responses to Obama Slams GOP Claim America Can’t Compete: “I’m Not Going to Surrender to Other Countries.”

  1. Paul Magnus says:

    oops. He should not have mentions the word surrender!

  2. Sasparilla says:

    I was watching this live today and it felt good to see the President point this out and call Republicans on it (to an extent) – as it makes them look like week-kneed losers (not an image they want). They’re really just being schills for the fossil fuel industry trying to kill of clean energy here before it becomes too big and too successful.

    The President also made a point of how much money the Chinese were pouring into their companies from State owned banks into these state owned companies whether they were profitable or not – and that we had to compete against that.

    Not going to help us pull CO2 out of the air, but it was nice to see him say all those things.

  3. Jacob says:

    Conservative: disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

    Even at the expense of the planet.

    It seems to me to be a good idea to expand R&D of clean technologies and clean energies as a way to create jobs and dig us out of the economic hole we’re in. Why would anyone vote for the people who would try to kill such programs?

  4. Bob Savage says:

    I think “surrender” is exactly the right word to use. Stearns an other politicians want us to surrender to China and Germany and other countries that are competing with us. Stearns (and Landrieu and the others) want us to Give Up.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Clean energy is one of the few instruements we have at our disposel, to prevent a climate Pearl Harbor. But it seems that we will have these kind of events soon at our doorsteps, brought to you by the Koch Brothers, which btw started their business when making business with Stalin.

    What are the near-term climate Pearl Harbors?

  6. Sumner says:

    “determining whether or not we are building a strong middle class in this country.”

    Little typo in transcript.

  7. Leif says:

    “Want us to give up” and want the Nation focused using the Military Industrial Complex on protecting the “status quot.” (i.e. burning fossil fuel like there was no tomorrow!) There is money to be made. Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead and all that. They like the fact that the CEO can make 475 times the average person. (Germany it is 15:1 )

    I guess that means the average CEO has 475 times the voting American now. Since corporations are people… people are now corporations.

  8. Thought Obama did a great job during that press conference when talking about the frustrations expressed through the Occupy Wall Street movement. He even admitted that his own speeches aren’t enough, and that he has to show them with action. So, at least, he gets it. He’s not oblivious to his own inability so far to deliver what’s needed.

  9. Leif says:

    The average CEO has 475 times the voting power as the average American. I apologize for the brain skip above.

  10. Nick Berini says:

    Joe – typos in the last sentence. (should be “America” and “if”)

    Otherwise, hear hear!

  11. Sundance says:

    “America can compete — if anti-science, pro-pollution Republicans don’t stop us.”

    The Republicans didn’t close Solyndra or Evergreen Solar.

  12. Paul Magnus says:

    Companies and nations are learning that the best way to create value without consuming resources is through services. This has far-reaching implications for the world economy, the internet and our way of life as we know it.

    Do you want a car or do you want mobility? Perhaps a car share service might be good for you.

    Do you want energy or do you want heat and light? Woking Borough Council in the UK has found a way to sell “heat” to households and then how to deliver that heat expending as little energy as possible.

    Businesses that sell services rather than products quickly find it’s in everyone’s interest to deliver the service with the least consumption possible. Unlike business models based on selling as much product as you can, services have the potential to decouple value creation from resource consumption.

  13. Paul Magnus says:
    Low Carbon and Economic Growth: Are both compatible in developing economies
    At the intersection of global energy depletion and concerns about human impact on the environment lie some serious and oft overlooked issues. Largely gone from our public discourse is the idea that oil is infinite. It is now accepted, even to previous

  14. Paul Magnus says:

    “In the winter of 2009, oil prices fell to circa $60 a barrel following the summer’s oil price spike to $147 a barrel. This spectacular drop in oil prices did as much or more to quickly bring the country out of recession than the government’s stimulus.”

  15. squidboy6 says:

    The US practically invented most of the high tech equipment which is getting sold back to us by the Chinese, invented along with other western governments primarily from military research. Then we let it go overseas to make even greater profits for a few, but it was paid for by all Americans.

    I’m not opposed to the Chinese replacing their dirty coal with solar but I’ll bet they’ll sell it to us instead.

    The US should support it’s own clean energy industries, especially since the panels that companies like Solyndra made were of superior quality, and had twice the life of the Chinese panels. I don’t buy Chinese boots or shoes because they won’t last one year, we need to force Congress to support US clean energy or we’ll all be serfs breathing smoggy air!

  16. Zach says:

    That’s really touching Obama, really, you’ve warmed my heart. But please cut the crap and start getting really serious about addressing this issue. Perhaps he’s waiting/hoping for a Democratic victory in 2012? I feel like I’m in a bizarre alternate universe where people abandon reason, in that only a handful of people seem to really take this issue seriously. I hope I’m proven wrong.

  17. Sundance says:

    The Chinese are NOT replacing coal with renewables as you correctly suspect. A report just came out showing that the Chinese will catch up to the the USA in CO2 per capita emissions of 19GT per year sometime near 2017. This would put Chinese emission at 25GT which is 4 times greater than current US emissions. The Chinese have not slowed their pace of building 1 to 2 coal plants per week.

  18. Pangolin` says:

    Getting really serious about this issue would mean that the foundations of our current economy are bogus and have to be scrapped. For starters the ability to produce domestic power and the means to produce domestic power is an obvious national security issue.

    Solar and wind power are uniquely resilient to disruption. If a particular solar field or wind turbine goes down due to weather or terrorist attack so what? We will have thousands more distributed across the landscape. We can work around it. If a nuclear or coal plant shuts down unexpectedly it’s a serious problem.

    If Obama works the national security issue and ties it to Pentagon solar and wind initiatives he gets the win.