Today, President Obama addressed a group of 750 students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In his remarks, the President spoke about the spirit of progress that has always driven the American people to seek out new frontiers, imagine new technologies, and build a better America for their children and grandchildren. If we harness that spirit once again, the President said, we will ensure that the United States leads the world in clean energy in the 21st century:
This is the nation that harnessed electricity and the energy contained in the atom, that developed the steamboat and the modern solar cell. This is the nation that pushed westward and then looked skyward. We have always sought out new frontiers and this generation is no different.
The President noted the investments the administration is making to transform this vision into a reality. The Recovery Act invested $80 billion in our clean energy future, investments that will put tens of thousands of people to work weatherizing homes, installing solar panels, and modernizing our electric grid. The impact of those investments is already being felt in Massachusetts – because of a $25 million investment made through the Recovery Act, hundreds of people will be put to work constructing a new Wind Technology Testing Center in Boston, not too far from the MIT campus.
Investments like these enable us to take control of our energy future and create the jobs of tomorrow. More than ever, the American people understand and agree on the need to achieve these lofty goals. Members of the armed services know our dependence on fossil fuels poses a threat to our national security. Young people in our country recognize that they will bear the future impact of the energy decisions we make now. And more and more of our lawmakers – Democrat and Republican – recognize that transforming the way we generate and use energy is an objective that people of all political persuasions can agree on. For all these reasons, the President expressed confidence that America can continue in its greatest traditions:
This is the nation that has led the world for two centuries in the pursuit of discovery. This is the nation that will lead the clean energy economy of tomorrow, so long as all of us remember what we have achieved in the past and we use that to inspire us to achieve even more in the future.
Heather Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change