Saturday, October 02, 2010

Your Saturday Obama: Solar Power & a Clean Energy Economy

The threat to our new green economy comes not only from currency manipulation and foreign manufacturers that have governments willing to heavily (and maybe illegally) subsidize their wind, solar, and increasingly auto technology and products - but from Republicans who are insisting on returning to the "drill, baby, drill" policies that put us behind in the race in the first place.

President Obama reminds us this week of what we have started...

For decades, we’ve talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington.

So, year after year, our dependence on foreign oil grew. Families have been held hostage to spikes in gas prices. Good manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. And we’ve seen companies produce new energy technologies and high-skilled jobs not in America, but in countries like China, India and Germany.

It was essential – for our economy, our security, and our planet – that we finally tackle this challenge. That is why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012. Jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation. Jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks. Jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future.

... and what the Republicans have vowed to destroy.

Now there are some in Washington who want to shut them down. In fact, in the Pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway – even with all the jobs and potential that they hold.

This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future. To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil. And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs.

That’s what’s at stake in this debate. We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive. We know the choice that’s right for America. We need to do what we’ve always done – put our ingenuity and can do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future.

With the Democrats, we have a chance at addressing these trade issues that are currently hampering the growth of the green manufacturing economy. A chance. It won't be perfect, but it will be something. With the Republicans, we will lose what we have already gained and start moving backward, while the rest of the world profits from our own short-sighted idiocy that has been driven purely by the greed of the wealthy few.

That is the choice in front of you. Choose wisely. The race to be a leader in this sector is one we cannot afford to lose.