Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Joint Session

I'm not so sure that Fat Tuesday was the right context for the President's speech before the joint session of Congress last night, but the first day of Lent probably is. I missed the speech because a favorite Aunt was in town ,and even though she is going to be 80 soon, we still managed to walk the town and check out the energy on the street after dinner. And, as you might imagine, there was a lot.

Here's what Obama had to say about energy:

"the budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future: energy, health care, and education.

It begins with energy.

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. And yet, it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient. We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.

Well I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders – and I know you don’t either. It is time for America to lead again.

Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.

We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history – an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine, science, and technology.

We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.

But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. And to support that innovation, we will invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America." more

Except for asking for a carbon tax or fee, there is little here that I don't agree with. And if all the carbon emission caps are auctioned, and not given away to industry, (which seems to be gaining support) a market based trading system can act very much like a tax or a fee on the emission of carbon into the biosphere.

Later this afternoon, a fellow colleague asked me if I had watched the speech last night. I told him I had not. And then he offered what a joy it is to have a President that you can enjoy listening to, who is articulate, and who is smart.

Knowing my pal as I do, I suspect he watched from his own joint session.

Here's the full speech from White House. gov.




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