Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Excerpts of President Obama's Address from the Oval Office


Excerpts from President Obama's televised speech on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico delivered from the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday at 8pm (EST):

"[O]ne of the lessons we've learned from this spill is that we need better regulations, better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that, no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk.

Oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20 per cent of the world's oil, but have less than 2 per cent of the world's oil reserves. And that's part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean: because we're running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we've talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires.

Time and again, the path forward has been blocked, not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candour.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean-energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now.

Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America's innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

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 jump-start 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 some day 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.

You know, when I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill, a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America's businesses.

Now, there are costs associated with this transition, and there are some who believe that we can't afford those costs right now. I say we can't afford not to change how we produce and use energy, because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security and our environment are far greater.

So I'm happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party, as long as they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings, like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development, and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

All of these approaches have merit and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet.

You know, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II. The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon.

And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is the capacity to shape our destiny, our determination to fight for the America we want for our children.

Even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like, even if we don't yet precisely know how we're going to get there, we know we'll get there.

It's a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbours in the Gulf right now...

The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before, and we will surely know them again. What sees us through - what has always seen us through - is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it.

Tonight, we pray for that courage, we pray for the people of the Gulf, and we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America."

_____________________________________

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