U.S. President Pledges Focus on Clean Energy

In his State of the Union Address yesterday, U.S. President George W. Bush said the nation must pursue policies that emphasize the goal of reducing its dependence on fossil fuels from overseas sources and increasing its reliance on alternative fuels produced domestically, with an overall objective of minimizing emissions from energy consumption that are harmful to the environment. And, for the first time in one of his annual speeches to the nation, he used the term "climate change" in framing the energy debate.

The President stated that protecting the interests of Americans depends, in part, on maintaining "a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean." Speaking before the Congress and assembled leaders of the government, Bush said that it is in the nation's "vital interests" to diversify its energy supply and that "the way forward is through technology."

"We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power," the President urged. "We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and bio-diesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol, using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes."

He continued:

"Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years....

"To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 — and that is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks — and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017."

Bush noted that the U.S. is "on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil." Then he added that "these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change." The remarks drew enthusiastic applause from the nation's lawmakers.

Following the address, the White House posted to its Web site a list of policy initiatives on the President's energy agenda, which it refers to as Twenty in Ten. These include:

  • Increasing The Supply Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels By Setting A Mandatory Fuels Standard To Require 35 Billion Gallons Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels In 2017.

  • Reforming And Modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards For Cars And Extending The Current Light Truck Rule.

  • Stopping The Projected Growth Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Cars, Light Trucks, And SUVs Within 10 Years.

In a speech on energy policy today in Wilmington, Del., Bush said that what he found "interesting about the debate" is that "it's the confluence of national security and economic security concerns and environmental concerns that come together and can be solved at the same time by technologies."

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