" "OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, THE HISTORIC INVESTMENTS MYADMINISTRATIONHAS MADE INCLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH ANDTECHNOLOGYHAVE HELPED PRIVATE SECTORCOMPANIES GROWAND HIRE HUNDREDS OFTHOUSANDS OFNEW WORKERShile a clean energy standard will helpdrive private investment in innovation,Government funding will still be criticalon America's path to a low-carbon future,argues the country's President Barack Obama. Today, about two-fifths of our electricity comes fromclean energy sources. But we can do better than that. Ithink that with the right incentives in place, we candouble our use of clean energy. And that is why, in myState of the Union address back in January, I called fora new Clean Energy Standard for America: By 2035,80 per cent of our electricity needs to come from awide range of clean energy sources - renewables suchas wind and solar, efficient natural gas. And, yes, weare going to have to examine how we make clean coaland nuclear power work.In light of the ongoing events in Japan, I want to justtake a minute to talk about nuclear power. Right now,America gets about one-fifth of our electricity fromnuclear energy. And it is important to recognise thatnuclear energy does not emit carbon dioxide in theatmosphere. So those of us who are concerned aboutclimate change, we have got to recognise that nuclearpower is safe and can make a significant contributionto the climate change question. And I am determined to ensure that it is safe. So in lightof what has happened in Japan, I have requested acomprehensive safety review by the Nuclear RegulatoryCommission to make sure that all of our existingnuclear energy facilities are safe. And we are going toincorporate those conclusions and lessons from Japanin design and the building of the next generation ofplants. But we cannot simply take it off the table. My administration is leading global discussionsREMARKS ON ENERGY SECURITY030G8 MEMBER COUNTRIESBARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICAWPhoto: Official White House Photo by Pete Souzatowards a new international framework in which allcountries who are operating nuclear plants are makingsure that they are not spreading dangerous nuclearmaterials and technology.But more broadly, a clean energy standard can expandthe scope of clean energy investments because it gives cutting-edge companies the certainty that theyneed to invest. Essentially, what it does is it says to companies: you will have a customer if you are producing cleanenergy. Utilities need to buy a certain amount of clean energy in their overall portfolio, and that means that innovators are willing to make those bigcapital investments. And we have got to start now. In the 1980s, Americawas home to more than 80 per cent of the world's windcapacity, 90 per cent of the world's solar capacity. Wewere the leaders in wind. We were the leaders in solar.We owned the clean energy economy in the 1980s. Today, China has the most wind capacity. Germany hasthe most solar capacity. Both invest more in cleanenergy than we do, even though we are a largereconomy and a substantially larger user of energy. We have fallen behind on what is going to be the key toour future.Other countries are now exporting technology wepioneered and they are going after the jobs that comewith it because they know that the countries that leadthe 21st century clean energy economy will be thecountries that lead the 21st century global economy. I want America to be that nation. I want America towin the future.
G8 MEMBER COUNTRIES031A clean energy standard will help drive privateinvestment in innovation, but I want to make thispoint: Government funding will still be critical. Overthe past two years, the historic investments myadministration has made in clean and renewableenergy research and technology have helped privatesector companies grow and hire hundreds ofthousands of new workers. I have visited gleaming new solar arrays that are among the largest in the world. I have tested anelectric vehicle fresh off the assembly line. I havetoured factories that used to be shuttered, where they are now building advanced wind blades that are as long as 747s, and they are building the towers that support them. And I have seen the scientists that are searching for the next big breakthrough inenergy. None of this would have happened withoutgovernment support.I understand we have got a tight fiscal situation, so it isfair to ask how do we pay for government's investmentin energy. And as we debate our national priorities andour budget in Congress, we are going to have to makesome tough choices. We are going to have to cut whatwe do not need to invest in what we do need. Unfortunately, some people want to cut criticalinvestments in clean energy. They want to cut ourresearch and development into new technologies.They are shortchanging the resources necessary evento promptly issue new permits for offshore drilling.These cuts would eliminate thousands of private sectorjobs; it would terminate scientists and engineers; itwould end fellowships for researchers, graduatestudents and other talent that we desperately need toget into this area in the 21st century. That does notmake sense.We are already paying a price for our inaction. Everytime we fill up at the pump, every time we lose a job ora business to countries that are investing more than wedo in clean energy, when it comes to our air, our water,and the climate change that threatens the planet - weare already paying a price. These are costs that we arealready bearing. And if we do nothing, the price willonly go up.So at moments like these, sacrificing theseinvestments in research and development, insupporting clean energy technologies, that wouldweaken our energy economy and make us moredependent on oil. That is not a game plan to win thefuture. That is a vision to keep us mired in the past. Iwill not accept that outcome for the United States ofAmerica. We are not going to do that. nThe above remarks are excerpted from a speechPresident Barack Obama delivered at GeorgetownUniversity, Washington, D.C., on March 30, 2011 For more information visit: www.whitehouse.gov .