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President Obama touts clean energy, export growth in SOTU

January 28, 2010

Cap and trade supporters–including the President of the United States–are taking Republican pollster Frank Luntz’ rhetorical advice to heart. 

Speaking last week at the National Press Club, Luntz appeared with Environmental Defense Fund’s Fred Krupp and unveiled polling results showing Americans aren’t responding well to phrases like cap and trade or green jobs.

In his State of the Union Address (SOTU), President Obama didn’t mention the words cap and trade, carbon, greenhouse gas, or green jobs, but he did tell Wednesday night’s joint session of Congress that part of his program to create jobs involves energy.  

By the way,  the new name for cap and trade is a “comprehensive climate and energy bill with incentives.” 

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 investments in clean energy -– in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives.  And 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.  And this year I’m 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.  I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.  But here’s the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are 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. 

Cap and trade supporters National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a news release backing the president’s call for legislation without any references to cap and trade, carbon, or greenhouse gas.   

But NRDC and a host of other environmental groups backing cap and trade are now calling for a comprehensive energy bill with a carbon limit.  In their letter to the Senate, the groups indicate their oppositon to an “energy only” bill.   That letter does not express support for nuclear energy or offshore energy exploration, either.

One of the most surprising elements of the president’s speech involved his call for doubling U.S. exports.

Third, we need to export more of our goods.   Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America.   So tonight, we set a new goal:  We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America.  To help meet this goal, we’re launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security. 

We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are.  If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. 

Here, here Mr. President.   Let’s start by ratifying each of the pending free trade agreements — Columbia, Panama, and South Korea — before the end of the year.   The Columbia FTA was signed Nov. 22, 2006.   Panama FTA was signed July 11, 2007.   South Korea FTA was signed June 30, 2007.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 8:28 am

    Obama’s comments continue to reflect society’s support of clean energy. Agriculture can benefit greatly by supporting incentive and spending programs that reward clean energy research, development and deployment; energy efficiency; and agriculture based energy resources.

    The challenge now is to navigate through “cap-and-trade” debris field in Congress and develop an energy/environment policy that recognizes agriculture’s contribution and encourages it to be a leader in a clean energy future.

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