Obama: “To create more of these clean energy jobs … means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.”

Gov. McDonnell (R-VA) responds by pushing Bush-Cheney-Palin energy plan

This year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are [sic] the right thing to do for our future — because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.

Getting a bill passed won’t be easy, but Obama is clearly still committed to make it happen.

The President did not soft-pedal his support for climate action and clean energy jobs, as expected. Quite the reverse.

He could have avoided any mention of the science, as I’m sure many of his advisors wanted.

He could have given climate and clean energy a cursory mention, but he went out of his way to repeat the core message again and again and again. Indeed, he used the phrase “clean energy” ten times:

Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. 200,000 work in construction and clean energy. 300,000 are teachers and other education workers….

Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. From the first railroads to the interstate highway system, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products….

Tomorrow, I’ll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help our nation move goods, services, and information. We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities, and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy efficient, which supports clean energy jobs….

From the day I took office, I have been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious — that such efforts would be too contentious, that our political system is too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for awhile.

For those who make these claims, I have one simple question:

How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold?

You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China’s not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany’s not waiting. India’s not waiting. These nations aren’t standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They are making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs….

Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history — an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year’s investment in clean energy — in the North Carolina company that will create 1200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put 1,000 people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.

I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. This year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are [sic] the right thing to do for our future — because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation….

[Yes, the grammatical error is in the distributed text, and he uttered the mistake, too. And this is the most heavily vetted text in the universe.]

Kudos on the speech. Now he’s got to act.

As I’ve said, if he really wants a bill, the President is going to have to do exactly what he did in Copenhagen “” negotiate directly with leaders and iron out a deal with specific language.

Here’s the (brief) energy portion of the GOP response, from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell:

Advances in technology can unleash more natural gas, nuclear, wind, coal, and alternative energy to lower your utility bills.

Here in Virginia, we have the opportunity to be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce oil and natural gas offshore.

But this Administration’s policies are delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy expansion, and seeking to impose job-killing cap and trade energy taxes.

Now is the time to adopt innovative energy policies that create jobs and lower energy prices.

If you want to look at the source of his text, see:

What do you think?