Obama Gives Full-Throated Call for Clean Energy and Climate Legislation that Puts America Back to Work

President Obama’s issued a full-throated call to action tonight, charging the Senate to pass the comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. 

President Obama made it clear that investing in clean energy and climate solutions will help tackle Americans’ two biggest concerns right now: economic recovery and job creation. To succeed, the President said, requires:

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.

Advancing that bill will generate great benefits for America. President Obama spoke tonight about building a new foundation for prosperity. If we use the clean energy economy as its base, we also make our country stronger and more secure.

We can become a nation where innovation drives our economy, where our workers dominate the clean-tech global market place, where our energy comes from renewable, homegrown sources instead of dirty fuels sold by unstable regimes, and where our children breathe cleaner air and count on a stable climate.

President Obama said to resounding applause tonight:

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 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.

We can start building this new prosperity by passing clean energy and climate legislation right now. Tonight, President Obama demonstrated his commitment to this legislation. Now it is time for the Senate to take up the challenge.

Senators from both sides of the aisle already support the real, on-the-ground benefits that a clean energy and climate bill will bring: jobs, prosperity, security, and global leadership.

Leaders from both parties need to move the bill forward so that we can deliver these benefits now, when Americans need them most.

But we also have a job to do. We need to let our senators know where we stand. This is our moment. This is our charge too. It’s time to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, and because this is what it can achieve:

Create Good Paying Jobs

Tonight President Obama called on Congress to pass a jobs bill that promotes investment in clean energy. That is a great start, but passing a clean energy and climate bill will go much, much farther. The version that passed the House of Representatives in June, for instance, would create nearly 2 million new jobs.

These are real opportunities for American workers, including in our ailing manufacturing centers. That is why several labor unions support the bill. Tom Conway, the international vice president of the United Steelworkers explains, “This is about jobs, jobs, jobs.” I spoke to Conway at a union hall in Gary, Indiana last fall, and here is a clip of the event. Watching the United Steelworkers members, you see that clean energy means good work.


Retain America’s Competitive Advantage

These steelworkers have seen contracts and jobs drain out of their city in the past decade. President Obama’s wants to reverse that trend, and the best way to do it is by positioning ourselves at the forefront of one of the biggest global market of the 21st century: clean energy technology. Each time another nation commits to reducing its global warming pollution--as China, India, and Brazil have recently done--that market grows.

And the race to lead it is on. Every hour, China invests about $12.6 million in clean energy, while Spain and Germany vie for control in the West. If America wants to win that race, we must make a national commitment to reducing global warming pollution and invest heavily in the technologies that will get us there.

Tonight President Obama said:

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. Well I do not accept second-place for the United States of America.

Enhance National Security

President Obama spoke in his address about protecting Americans from looming threats. Climate change is one of them, according to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Intelligence Council. Meanwhile, retired Navy Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “Our growing reliance on fossil fuels jeopardizes our military and affects a huge price tag in dollars and potentially lives.”

A clean energy and climate bill would disarm these treats. The House version of the bill would reduce oil imports by as much as 5 million barrels per day. By 2050, we could prevent $2 trillion from going overseas to import oil.

This is what clean energy and climate legislation can accomplish. And tonight, the President made it clear that the time to pass it has come. Let your senators know that you agree.