During an address covering the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama spoke of the need to revise U.S. energy policy in order to move away from oil and prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future.
‘After all, oil is a finite resource,’ Obama said. ‘We consume more than 20 percent of the world's oil, but have less than two percent of the world's oil reserves. And that's part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we're running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.’
Noting that other countries – such as China – are already heavily investing in renewable energy, Obama stated that the ‘tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.’
‘The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we've already taken unprecedented action to jump-start the clean energy industry,’ he continued. ‘As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.’
Obama added that last year, the House of Representatives passed an energy and climate bill that ‘finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America's businesses.’ He stressed his commitment to working with both political parties to reach solutions that will move the nation toward greater use of renewable energy.
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, praised Obama's speech.
‘President Obama is absolutely right to call for national energy reform and for us to unite behind comprehensive energy legislation that takes our nation in a new direction – away from unsafe and unstable fossil fuels and toward a new clean energy economy with safe, reliable sources like solar,’ Resch said. ‘We have an opportunity to produce solar energy to power our buildings and charge our vehicles while putting America back to work here at home.’
‘No doubt we will recover from this terrible accident, but if we don't set ourselves down a new energy path, we will be ignoring our responsibility to the residents of the Gulf Coast and to the nation as a whole,’ Resch added.