President Obama addressed the nation last night about the Gulf Oil spill, the government’s cleanup efforts and the path to move forward. But it was about more than just the oil, it was a call to arms.
Obama took the opportunity to challenge the nation to move our clean energy transition forward. As he noted, our thirst for oil has driven us to remote, dangerous and difficult places -- places that push technology and human reach to the limit—and is why we now see this disaster, perhaps 60,000 barrels a day of oil churning up into the waters of the Gulf.
With the graphic and costly destruction caused by the gulf spill as a backdrop, he called for a renewed commitment to clean energy:
"This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries.
"Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation –- workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors."
So now we turn to you, our Planet Forward members, to answer the question: “How do we use less oil and gas?” If this is our moment, if this is the pivot point in our energy future, what will it look like. Can we come together and find consensus on a path that moves us out of our dangerous addiction to oil, or are we going to spend our time bickering.
After all, it's been more than 35 years since Jimmy Carter first donned the cardigan to say the energy battle should be the moral equivalent of war. We're still talking.