Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Barack Obama Reirates Green Jobs Plan at Press Conference Announcing Members of His Energy & Environment Team - Transcript & Video

President-Elect Barack Obama reiterated his plans to create millions of new green jobs at a press conference in Chicago yesterday. Obama also introduced members of his new energy and environment team.

Below is a complete transcript of the President-Elect’s Remarks, along with video footage from the press conference:

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Announcement of Energy and Environment Team
December 15, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

Good afternoon. Over the past few weeks, Vice President-Elect Biden and I have announced key members of our economic and national security teams. In the 21st century, we know that the future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to one challenge: energy. So today, we’re pleased to introduce the team that will lead our efforts on energy and the environment.

In the next few years, the choices that we make will help determine the kind of country – and world – that we will leave to our children and grandchildren. All of us know the problems rooted in our addiction to foreign oil – it constrains our economy, shifts wealth to hostile regimes, and leaves us dependent on unstable regions. These urgent dangers are eclipsed only by the long-term threat of climate change, which – unless we act – will lead to drought and famine abroad, devastating weather patterns and terrible storms on our shores, and the disappearance of our coastline at home.

For over three decades, we’ve listened to a growing chorus of warnings about our energy dependence. We’ve heard President after President promise to chart a new course. We’ve heard Congress talk about energy independence, only to pull up short in the face of opposition from special interests. We’ve seen Washington launch policy after policy. Yet our dependence on foreign oil has only grown, even as the world’s resources are disappearing.

This time must be different. This time we cannot fail, nor be lulled into complacency simply because the price at the pump has – for now – gone down from $4 a gallon. To control our own destiny, America must develop new forms of energy and new ways of using it. This is not a challenge for government alone – it is a challenge for all of us. The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained, all-hands-on-deck effort because the foundation of our energy independence is right here, in America – in the power of wind and solar; in new crops and new technologies; in the innovation of our scientists and entrepreneurs, and the dedication and skill of our workforce. Those are the resources we must harness to move beyond our oil addiction and create a new, hybrid economy.

As we face this challenge, we can seize boundless opportunities for our people. We can create millions of jobs, starting with a 21st Century Economic Recovery Plan that puts Americans to work building wind farms, solar panels, and fuel-efficient cars. We can spark the dynamism of our economy through long term investments in renewable energy that will give life to new businesses and industries, with good jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. We will make public buildings more efficient, modernize our electric grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect and preserve our natural resources.

We must also recognize that the solution to global climate change must be global. I spoke a few days ago with Senator John Kerry, who updated me on the recent climate negotiations in Poland. Just as we work to reduce our own emissions, we must forge international solutions to ensure that every nation is doing its part. As we do so, America will lead not just at the negotiating table – we will lead, as we always have, through innovation and discovery; through hard work and the pursuit of a common purpose.

The team that I have assembled here today is uniquely suited to meet the great challenges of this defining moment. They are leading experts and accomplished managers, and they are ready to reform government and help transform our economy so that our people are more prosperous, our nation is more secure, and our planet is protected.

Dr. Steven Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who has been working at the cutting edge of our nation’s effort to develop new and cleaner forms of energy. He blazed new trails as a scientist, teacher, and administrator, and has recently led the Berkeley National Laboratory in pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies. Steven is uniquely-suited to be our next Secretary of Energy as we make this pursuit a guiding purpose of the Department of Energy, as well as a national mission. The scientists at our national labs will have a distinguished peer at the helm. His appointment should send a signal to all that my Administration will value science, we will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that the facts demand bold action.

For my Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, I have chosen Lisa Jackson. Lisa has spent a lifetime in public service at the local, state and federal level. As Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, she has helped make her state a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new sources of energy, and she has the talent and experience to continue this effort at the EPA. Lisa also shares my commitment to restoring the EPA’s robust role in protecting our air, water and abundant natural resources so that our environment is cleaner and our communities are safer.

Nancy Sutley will be an integral part of this team as the Chair of my Council on Environmental Quality in the White House. In recent years, we have seen states and cities take the initiative in forging innovative solutions on energy. Nancy has been at the cutting edge of this effort – working as a Regional Administrator for the EPA, at the state level in Sacramento, and recently as the Deputy Mayor for Energy and the Environment in Los Angeles. Now, she will bring this unique experience to Washington, and be a key player in helping to make our government more efficient, and coordinating our efforts to protect our environment at home and around the globe.

Finally, the scope of the effort before us will demand coordination across the government, and my personal engagement as President. That is why I’m naming Carol Browner to a new post in the White House to coordinate energy and climate policy. Carol understands that our efforts to create jobs, achieve energy security and combat climate change demand integration among different agencies; cooperation between federal, state and local governments; and partnership with the private sector. She brings the unmatched experience of being a successful and longest-serving Administrator of the EPA. She will be indispensable in implementing an ambitious and complex energy policy.

Later this week, I will be announcing my designee for Secretary of the Interior, which will fill out my energy and environmental team. The Interior Department will play a critical role in meeting the challenges that I have discussed today.

Looking ahead, I am confident that we will be ready to begin the journey towards a new energy frontier on January 20th. This will be a leading priority of my presidency, and a defining test of our time. We cannot afford complacency, nor accept any more broken promises. We won’t create a new energy economy and protect our environment overnight, but we can begin that work right now if we think anew, and act anew. Now, we must have the will to act, and to act boldly.

Thank you.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Al Gore, Barack Obama Talk About Green Jobs & Global Warming - The Green Jobs Report

Former Vice President Al Gore talked about how the fight against global warming could help create millions of new green jobs as he addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland last week.

“…we hear the reports that leaders once resistant to fiscal stimulus are now calling for massive new initiatives to create jobs in ways that also reduce CO2 and the Secretary general of the United Nations who has provided such tremendous leadership for the world in this process has himself called for what he terms a green new deal in the world,” Gore told international leaders gathered for the Conference in Poznan.

“As we start making these changes, we will see that they do strengthen our economies, they do create millions of new jobs, and they do improve the standard of living,” he noted later in his speech.

The former V.P. also made reference to green jobs when discussing to his recent meeting with U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama.

“Just prior to coming here to Poznan, I went to Chicago for a meeting with president-elect Barack Obama and he emphasized that the climate crisis will be a top priority of his administration,” he said. “We discussed how to create millions of new jobs in a new clean energy economy, and he emphasized that once he is president, the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations and help lead toward a successful conclusion.”

Gore met with Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden last week to discuss the climate crisis, as well as approaches to solving the nation’s dual economic and energy crises.

After the meeting Obama had this to say:

"This is a matter of urgency and national security...[but] it is not only a problem, it is also an opportunity," President-elect Obama said. "We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country in all 50 states to repower America, to redesign how we use energy and think about how we are increasing efficiency to make our economy stronger, make us more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make us competitive for decades to come -- even as we save the planet."

Al Gore has been a leading political force in the movement to stop global warming for many years now. The arrival of the Obama administration in the White House will offer Gore and other environmentalists a real opportunity to make progress in their fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create new green jobs, and stimulate economic growth.


$3.7 Million Tax Credit Helps Global Wind Systems Inc. Bring 807 New Green Jobs to Michigan

The wind power start-up Global Wind Systems Inc. has chosen Michigan as the site of its first facility, according to information released by Governor Jennifer Granholm. The move is expected to create 807 new green jobs statewide, including 356 working directly with the company.

The new facility will be located in Novi, Michigan. The company will receive a state tax credit worth around $7.3 million for bringing its business to Michigan, thanks to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.


Hemlock Semiconductor Group Plans to Create Up to 2,900 New Green Jobs In Michigan and Tennessee

The Hemlock Semiconductor group announced plans today to create as many as 2,900 new green jobs in Michigan and Tennessee. The group will invest up to $3 billion to ramp up production of polycrystalline silicon, a key material used in the manufacturing of solar cells.

Plans to build a new facility in Clarksville, Tennessee are expected to create 1000 new construction jobs, and up to 800 permanent jobs once construction is completed.

Operations in Hemlock, Michigan will also be expanded, creating 800 new construction jobs and as many as 300 new permanent jobs.

“Making this investment in today’s volatile economic climate is a testament to both the long-term outlook of the solar industry, as well as Hemlock Semiconductor’s ability to add capacity to meet the needs of customers,” said Rick Doornbos, President and CEO of Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation.


Governor Kaine Launches Initiative to Create New Green Jobs for Virginia

Last week, Governor Timothy Kaine announced the launch of a new initiative, “Renew Virginia” designed to create new green jobs for Virginia. A press release described the Governor’s plan to stimulate economic growth through programs that will attract renewable energy companies, protect the environment, and make Virginia a leader in energy efficiency and conservation.

"In today's economy, we can turn our energy challenges into an opportunity," Governor Kaine said. "Our goal is to position the Commonwealth as a leader in alternative energy generation, energy conservation, and research and development. By developing a green energy industry here, we will not only move towards a more environmentally responsible approach to addressing our growing energy needs, but we will also help stimulate Virginia's economy."

Governor Kaine realizes that the best way to create new jobs is to invest in the technologies that will drive our nation’s economy in the future. He joins a growing chorus of leaders who understand that the goals of environmental protection and economic growth can be achieved together.