'New energy can power our future,' Obama avows in DNC acceptance speech07. September 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Cheryl Kaften
"Unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan," U.S. President Barack Obama pledged on Thursday night, September 6, facing a packed hall of supporters in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC), as he officially accepted his party’s nomination and embarked on a second run for the White House.
During a nearly hour-long dynamic address, Obama assured the American public that he would continue the work he had begun 4 years ago, including his all-of-the-above energy plan, which is designed to free the United States of its dependence on fossil fuels, reduce emissions; and re-establish the nation’s lead in innovation, manufacturing, and worldwide exports.
His goals were ambitious: "We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports and … we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years."
Progress already has been made, he pointed out. "After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades."
Referring to the Republican platform, unveiled just a week ago in Tampa, Obama remarked, "We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet," he said, adding, "If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone."
On the all-important issue of unemployment, which still hovers nationwide at 8%, the President pushed an agenda that would include retraining in needed technological skills for returning troops and the jobless, better science and engineering education for undergraduates, and bringing jobs back to America from overseas – "not because out workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else."
And although he made few specific references in the speech to the solar industry – dodging the Solyndra issue – the President pointed out that he had fought for American clean technology jobs during the past 4 years. "Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions …. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers."
In contrast to the skeptics on the Republican side of the aisle, including opponent Mitt Romney, who finally admitted on September 6 in advance of the President’s speech that "the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences," President Obama recommitted himself to fighting climate change.
My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it," he told the U.S. electorate.
In the end, President Obama, asked Americans to continue to look forward, to hope – and to vote for him. "If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November," he stated.
As expected, the Republican candidate was not impressed. In a morning-after comment released by his camp, Mitt Romney said, "If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover. For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely. This is more of the same for middle class families who are suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. After 43 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, it is clear that President Obama just hasn't lived up to his promises and his policies haven't worked. We aren’t better off than we were four years ago. My plan for a stronger middle class will create 12 million new jobs by the end of my first term. America deserves new leadership that will get our economy moving again."
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