Obama State of the Union: Clean Energy: 15; God: 2

Today, reading back through President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address I went looking for his discussion of energy and cleantech. I counted Energy with 15 mentions, crushing Healthcare at 7, and losing out to Jobs at 26. Of course, God only got 2 mentions in the final line (1 more than George W. Bush’s last state of the union address).

So what exactly did he say?

“To build a future of energy security, we must trust in the creative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs and empower them to pioneer a new generation of clean energy technology. Our security, our prosperity, and our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil.


Last year, I asked you to pass legislation to reduce oil consumption over the next decade, and you responded. Together we should take the next steps. Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power. Let us continue investing in advanced battery technology and renewable fuels to power the cars and trucks of the future. Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make a greater use of clean energy sources. And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.


This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride. The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change. And the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy efficient technology.”

Oh, wait, that was from George W’s last state of the union address. Hmmmh. Here’s President Obama’s:

“Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. (Applause.) Two hundred thousand work in construction and clean energy;
. . .

Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.
. . .

We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities — (applause) — and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs.
. . .

You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations — they’re not standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They’re making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America.
. . .

Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history -– (applause) — an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy -– in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (Applause.) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (Applause.) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. (Applause.) And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. (Applause.)

I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. (Applause.) And this year I’m eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. (Applause.)

I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here’s the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -– because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation. (Applause.)”

Reducing dependence on foreign oil? New technologies? Renewables? Energy efficiency? Combating climate change? New nuclear? Offshore oil drilling?

I like it all. And it seems like I’ve heard this before. And unlike Obama President Bush even mentioned clean technology by name. Stop talking and deliver.

Neal Dikeman is a partner at cleantech merchant bank Jane Capital Partners LLC and the Chairman of Carbonflow and Cleantech.org.

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