President Barack Obama Celebrates Earth Day by Pushing for a Green Revolution

By Sean Darras – Contributing Writer
Posted on Sunday 26th April 2009

On Earth Day (April 22nd, 2009) President Barack Obama made a strong push for a green energy revolution and the need to pass climate change legislation of historic proportion, from a speech a wind energy factory in Iowa. Vice President Joe Biden meanwhile took advantage of Earth Day to announce 300 million dollars in funding in Obama's 787 billion dollar economic stimulus bill for an expansion of clean, sustainable for state and local governments.

Obama made his case that bloated US energy consumption was inflicting an unacceptable cost on both the economy and the climate. "The American people are ready to be part of a mission," Obama said at a closed-down appliance factory that was converted into a facility that makes towers for wind energy turbines. Meanwhile, President Obama’s top environmental officials lobbied Congress.

While Obama boasted that his administration had already made more progress than in the previous 30 years of US energy policy, he warned the search for alternative fuels would not be without bumps on the road or be cost free. "On this Earth Day, it is time for us to lay a new foundation for economic growth by beginning a new era of energy exploration in America," Obama said. The president bemoaned the fact that the United States account forless than five percent of the world's population but consumes a quarter of its demand for oil. President Obama stated, "We cannot afford that approach anymore -- not when the cost for our economy, for our country, and for our planet is so high." “The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy -- the choice we face is between prosperity and decline."

The president also unveiled a program for renewable energy projects on waters of the US Outer Continental Shelf that produces electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. New regulations will help the United States tap into its vast ocean resources to generate clean energy. President Obama’s aides said the speech, and the testimony on Capitol Hill of top administration officials responsible for environment and energy issues, marked the launch of a concerted political push to pass historic energy legislation. They hope that Congress will clear the energy bill before the end of the year, including a market-based cap and trade plan designed to help slash greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

The former Maytag factory outside of Iowa was chosen as the location of this event as a means to highlight an economic as well as environmental dividend for cutting consumption and developing pioneering energy sources. Obama laid out a plan that calls for creating thousands of new green energy jobs, participating in a global effort to battle climate change and multi-billion dollar investments in a clean, green energy economy. The initiative is also designed to reduce the United State’s dependence on foreign oil with a new generation of cars and trucks running on alternative fuels and power generation from advanced biofuels and a new efficient power grid.

About Earth Day: More than a billion people around the world were expected to take part in 40th anniversary Earth Day events, designed to highlight how an educated global population can preserve its environment. Earth Day was the idea of late US senator Gaylord Nelson in 1969 and has since spread to 174 nations.

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