An all-star cast of the leading voices in the new Obama era is convening at the Newseum in Washington DC to discuss the future of U.S. energy policy. The National Clean Energy Project follows a similar meeting convened by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last summer in Nevada. But much has changed in the past few months. The new administration — including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and White House energy adviser Carol Browner — have committed to a multibillion investment in a new clean energy grid with the economic recovery act signed into law last week by President Obama.
The live webcast of the event can be seen at NationalCleanEnergyProject.org.
Joe Romm is liveblogging the summit at ClimateProgress. The Wonk Room is liveblogging the summit below.
Former senator Tim Wirth of Colorado introduces the meeting.
10:30 PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
Every time before in the last thirty years when I started this … every time oil dropped people said give my Hummer back. They’re not saying that any more. I want to thank everybody this economic recovery bill has good things in it and I’m grateful as a citizen. We have to maximize the value of this economic recovery. The big short-term gains in jobs and greenhouse gas reductions are in energy efficiency advances.
10:35 VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE
We really do have a planetary emergency. This sounds shrill to many ears. We’re still not used to thinking in those terms. We’ve seen the oil price roller coaster. This roller coaster’s headed for a crash and we’re in the front car.
10:45 HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI
We have to hold together or we will all regret the missed opportunity.
10:55 T. BOONE PICKENS
Geothermal does not operate an eighteen-wheeler. Get realistic… I’m running out of time. But we are going to have an energy policy in America.
11:00 JOHN PODESTA, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND
We have to recognize we’re living through a terrible recession, a dependence on fossil fuels, and the almost existential threat of global warming.