President Obama Uses Inaugural Address to Call for Use of Renewables; Chu Confirmed as Energy Secretary
In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama called for the US to “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories” and said that “with old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to ... roll back the specter of a warming planet.” This, noted the Department of Energy, marked the first references to US energy use, to renewable resources, and to climate change in an inauguration speech of a US president.
The new White House web site outlines the “Obama-Biden comprehensive New Energy for America” plan, which calls for a federal investment of $150 billion over the next decade to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. Elements include:
Provide short-term relief to American families by cracking down on “Excessive Energy Speculation” and swapping oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce prices.
Eliminate imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 years. This includes:
- Increasing fuel economy standards.
- Putting 1 million plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015.
- Creating a new $7,000 tax credit for purchasing advanced vehicles.
- Establishing a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
- A “Use it or Lose It” approach to existing oil and gas leases.
- Promoting the “responsible domestic production” of oil and natural gas.
Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.
Make the US a leader on climate change.
Ensure 10% of electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025.
Deploy the cheapest, cleanest, fastest energy source—energy efficiency.
Weatherize one million homes annually.
Develop and deploy clean coal technology.
Prioritize the construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.
Following the inauguration, the US Senate confirmed the nominations of Dr. Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy, Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture, and Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior, among others.