President Obama Calls for Carbon Cap, More Clean Energy Investment

February 25, 2009

Naming energy as one of the three areas of investment "that are absolutely critical to our economic future," President Barack Obama has called for a greater investment in clean energy technologies and a cap on carbon emissions. "We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy, yet we import more oil today than ever before," noted the president in his address to Congress on February 24. The president asserted that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides a key investment that will save or create 3.5 million jobs, including jobs "constructing wind turbines and solar panels ... and expanding mass transit." He also noted that the ARRA will double the U.S. supply of renewable energy in the next three years. Claiming that "the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century," President Obama declared that "it is time for America to lead again."

"We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country," said the president, "and we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient, so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills. But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy. So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. And to support that innovation, we will invest $15 billion a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America."

President Obama also pointed to the example of Greensburg, Kansas, "a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado, but is being rebuilt by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community—how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay." DOE, by the way, was heavily involved in the effort to rebuild Greensburg using renewable energy and green building principles. See the text of President Obama's address to congress and the article on DOE's efforts in Greensburg from the May 2, 2008, edition of the EERE Network News.