Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Obama State of the Union Expected to Call for Clean Energy Development

Tonight in the US President Obama gives his annual State-of-the-Union address (SOTU, for short).  Among many other topics (the SOTU tends to be a laundry list of generally unattainable desires), Obama is expected to note ongoing efforts to reframe the energy debate toward cleaner, greener technologies.  Given the continuing lagging jobs picture (job growth always lags economic recovery), he is expected to focus the discussion on how clean energy will help grow jobs.

While this has been a key plank in his platform from the beginning, it takes on new emphasis now that last year's cap-and-trade bills reached a precipice and promptly leaped off.  With the change in the make-up of Congress and promises to try to block EPA's greenhouse gas regulations, Obama will need to show how a shift to CO2-reduction technologies is good both for the environment and for job creation.  Specifically he will try to demonstrate that moving away from a fossil fuel-dependent energy system will result in increased competitiveness on the global marketplace.  This last point is critical as countries like China are investing in the development of wind and solar energy, both in terms of technology advancement and as a source of job creation.  China may be working hard to corner the fossil fuel markets now, but it is working even harder to position itself for the new world energy leadership it desires.  Obama will try to show that the short-sighted disagreements between members of Congress is actually holding back American ingenuity and giving a boost to our international competitors like China.

Also, in a nod to the new instant information era, the President will address questions posed to him by the American populace via YouTube or Twitter.  Questions must be received by midnight tonight and Obama will answer the top-rated ones on Thursday at 2:30 pm EST.  Questions should be submitted at: YouTube.com/askobama, or by using the hashtag #askobama on Twitter.

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