A lot of Americans have questions about the economy – will the momentum of the past months keep up? What can we do about these gas prices eating away at our paychecks? And where will the good jobs come from for our next generation?
The jobs numbers this morning gave a positive sign on the first question, with another 268,000 private sector jobs in April bringing the total to more than 2 million over the past 14 months. The answers to the other two questions can be seen in part in factories like the one the President visited today in Indiana -- Allison Transmission. It’s a business that is creating jobs making transmissions for hybrid vehicles after a boost from a matching grant out of the President’s clean energy investments.
President Barack Obama examines a part held by Mike Clements during a tour of Allison Transmission in Indianapolis, Ind., May 6, 2011. Plant manager Mike Clements stands at right. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
As the President put it,
“This is where the jobs of the future are at”: This is the kind of company that will make sure that America remains the most prosperous nation in the world. See, other countries understand this. We’re in a competition all around the world, and other countries -- Germany, China, South Korea -- they know that clean energy technology is what is going to help spur job creation and economic growth for years to come.
And that's why we’ve got to make sure that we win that competition. I don't want the new breakthrough technologies and the new manufacturing taking place in China and India. I want all those new jobs right here in Indiana, right here in the United States of America, with American workers, American know-how, American ingenuity. (Applause.)
He added that this is also how we’re going to get gas prices under control:
But if we can transition to new technologies, that's what’s going to make a difference over the long term. That's how we’re going to meet the goal that I’ve set of reducing the amount of oil that we import by one-third by the middle of the next decade. We can hit that target. We can hit that target.
Now, in the short term, we still need to do everything we can to encourage safe and responsible oil production here at home. In fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. So I want everybody to remember that if people ask -- because sometimes I get letters from constituencies saying, why aren’t we just drilling more here? We’re actually producing more oil here than ever. But the challenge is we’ve only got about 2 to 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves and we use 25 percent of the world’s oil. So we can’t just drill our way out of the problem.
If we’re serious about meeting our energy challenge we’re going to have to do more than drill. And that’s why the real solution is clean, homegrown energy. The real solution is advanced biofuels -- and there’s a lot of good biofuel work being done here in Indiana. It means that we’ve got to have natural gas vehicles. We’ve got a lot of natural gas that can be produced here in the United States of America. It means making our cars and trucks more energy-efficient, because if we use less oil, that reduces demand; that brings the price down; and you will see the impact at the pump. That’s what’s going to make a difference and that’s why what you’re doing here is so important.
We put together a graphic to help summarize the President’s approach – check it out below, or download it, print it, send it to your family, or hang it on your wall to add a splash of color:
COMMENTARY: I think Obama's green energy agenda is bold, visionary, but renewable energy sources like wind and solar account for only about 6% of America's total energy needs. There are other problems:
- Renewables aren't all that competitive on a cost per watt basis, and rank at the bottom of the scale when ranked against hydro, fossil fuels, coal and nuclear energy.
- Renewables take huge investments in capital, and the only way to scale up and make a real dent to our total energy needs will require huge government direct investment, direct loans or loan guarantees.
- Renewables are also a political hot potato, with many conservates on the right believing that there is no such thing as global warming, and that we should be drilling more oil wells in the Gulf, and using more domestic coal and natural gas.
- We have a huge abundance of coal and natural gas, ranking No 1 or 2 in both, when compared to the rest of the world, and the supply could last for several centuries. One problem, carbon dioxide emissions, speeding up global warming (if you are a believer).
In short, trying to solve America's future energy needs with renewable energy sources is like trying to break an iceberg with an ice pick when you really need TNT.
For those of you who would like to read the rest of my green technology blog posts, click HERE
Courtesy of an article dated May 6, 2011 appearing in The White House Blog