Obama State Of The Union: Addresses Clean Energy Jobs, Support For Climate Bill

In Wednesday's State of The Union, President Obama specifically addressed clean energy jobs, the climate crisis, energy efficiency and his commitment to passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill.

See his full remarks on the topic:

Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history - an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year's investment in clean energy - in the North Carolina company that will create 1200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put 1,000 people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And yes, it means 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. I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and 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.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA), one of the authors of the Senate climate praised the President's remarks, stating:

Tonight's address promised a seismic shift in the climate and energy debate," said Sen. Kerry. "President Obama reaffirmed that comprehensive climate and energy independence legislation is a top priority for his White House and threw the weight of his presidency behind a principled compromise that prices carbon to reduce pollution, invests in new energy, and also embraces nuclear, clean coal, and even drilling.

Environmental groups were quick to react to the statement as well. Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club said, "We join the president in making a renewed and urgent call for Congress to finalize bipartisan, comprehensive energy reform legislation this year. [....] We thank the president for his personal leadership on these vital issues. We will redouble our own efforts in the year ahead to help build a prosperous and more secure America fueled by homegrown clean energy."

Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resource Defense Council, put out the following statement of support. "The president is right on the money. His plan will get Americans back on their feet. Now it's our job 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 put America back to work."

Not all environmental groups were a celebratory about the speech, especially its references to nuclear power, coal and drilling. Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica wrote,

While we welcome President Obama's call for comprehensive climate and energy reform -- as well as his focus on job-creating high-speed rail and solar power -- it was alarming to hear him refer last night to a variety of dirty energy sources, including nuclear, coal, offshore oil drilling and biofuels, as clean.

President Obama's support for all these dirty energy sources was a big win for corporate polluters and their Washington lobbyists, but it was a kick in the gut to environmentalists across the country. The President was essentially telling these Americans that their voices don't matter.

Check back for updates from HuffPost bloggers and other environmental leaders to the president's remarks.

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