Obama makes a full-throated de­fense of re­new­able energy

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

U. S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama made a full- throated de­fense of re­new­able energy Mon­day, hit­ting coal- cham­pi­oning crit­ics as free mar­ket hyp­ocrites.

With one eye on a loom­ing bat­tle over power plant emis­sions lim­its, Obama took on fos­sil fuel sup­port­ers dur­ing a speech in the parched desert oa­sis of Las Ve­gas.

Fram­ing cli­mate change as “one of the most im­por­tant is­sues not just of our time, but of any time,” Obama said re­new­able energy of­fered a vi­able so­lu­tion.

He made the eco­nomic case for de­vel­op­ing green in­dus­tries that pro­vide “a steady stream of well pay­ing jobs.”

“The so­lar in­dus­try now em­ploys twice as many Amer­i­cans as min­ing coal,” he claimed.

His com­ments come af­ter the White House backed the first na­tional emis­sions lim­its for power plants. That has energy firms and law­mak­ers in coal­rich states such as Ken­tucky lob­by­ing heav­ily pro­pos­als.

He ac­cused coal cham­pi­ons as be­ing fair- weather cap­i­tal­ists, per­haps a sub­tle dig at the U. S. Se­nate’s op­po­si­tion party leader Mitch McCon­nell.

“We see the trend lines, we see where tech­nol­ogy is tak­ing us, we see where con­sumers want to go,” Obama said.

“That, let’s be hon­est, has some big fos­sil fuel in­ter­ests pretty ner­vous. To the point where they are try­ing to fight re­new­able energy.”

“It’s one thing if you are in­sis­tent on be­ing free mar­ket, it’s another thing if you’re free mar­ket un­til it’s so­lar that’s work­ing and peo­ple want to buy it.”

So­lar power cur­rently makes up a frac­tion of Amer­ica’s energy mix and has en­joyed gov­ern­ment grants and sub­si­dies to get up and run­ning.

But Obama also said it was an ex­am­ple of Amer­i­can in­ge­nu­ity.

“We can do good and do well at the same time,” he said.

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AP

U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, left, and U.S. Sen­a­tor Harry Reid, leader of Obama’s Demo­cratic Party in the U.S. Se­nate, wave on stage at the Na­tional Clean Energy Sum­mit in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada, Mon­day, Aug. 24.

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