Clean Energy’s Prominent Place in the State of the Union

While few people outside the White House ever know what will be in the final version of the State of the Union before the president takes the dais, I remain confident that on Wednesday night, President Obama will say that clean energy investments can generate jobs and keep America competitive.

Jobs, after all, are the number one concern for many Americans, and shifting to cleaner energy will not only spur innovation across our economy but also create nearly 2 million jobs.

I also believe that during his speech President Obama will highlight the best way to unleash these opportunities: passing a clean energy and climate bill.

The president has been a strong leader on this issue and we expect he will continue to be, even as he addresses other priorities and challenges. What's important is that the country hears a clear call to action on clean energy and climate legislation, and that's what we'll all be listening to hear.

The American people want action on clean energy and climate solutions. We are looking to leaders in Washington to show leadership and move forward -- in the White House and on Capitol Hill -- on bipartisan legislation that will give us more security, more jobs and less pollution.

The president has demonstrated his leadership several times in the last month alone.

He did it when I met with him at the White House in December and he said that he wants the Senate to take a comprehensive approach to America’s energy and climate challenges. And he did it when he flew to Copenhagen and spent 15 hours sitting at the negotiating table and drafting parts of the Copenhagen Accord with his own pen.

Meanwhile, Todd Stern, the U.S. envoy on climate change, recently said President Obama intends to move forward with climate legislation this year. "There will be a significant effort on the part of all in the administration to press forward. The president is focused on it, and the White House is focused on it."

And just last week, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel met with Republican Senator Graham, Democratic Senator Kerry, and Independent Senator Lieberman to discuss bipartisan support for a clean energy and climate bill.

I have known from the start that passing the bill would require a bipartisan effort. Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts senate race may have shuffled the deck a bit, but it hasn’t derailed the push--from both sides of aisle--for climate solutions.

Pundits who foretell the demise of the bill speak too soon, and they discount the core principle behind the bipartisan support: the bill will benefit Americans in real and powerful ways--ways the New York Times clearly outlined in a Sunday editorial

From job creation to enhanced competitiveness in global markets, from renewed American credibility in the international arena to avoided natural disasters here at home, clean energy and climate legislation will improve the lives of Americans.

And that is why it earns a place in the State of the Union Address.