By Ben Geman - 01/29/10 09:10 PM EST
“Nobody's been a bigger promoter of clean coal technology than I am,” Obama said, referring to development of technologies to capture and bury emissions from coal-fired power plants.
“I've said that I'm a promoter of nuclear energy, something that, you know, I think over the last three decades has been subject to a lot of partisan wrangling and ideological wrangling. I don't think it makes sense. I think that that has to be part of our energy mix,” Obama said at the GOP event in Baltimore.
Obama also noted his support for increased offshore oil-and-gas production.
His comments came in response to a question about coal and jobs from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who said she feared the effects of a proposed cap-and-trade plan and an “aggressive” EPA on the coal-rich state.
White House officials in recent days have insisted that they’re not walking back from their push for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that would be coupled with new support for “clean” energy sources.
But Obama’s chief political adviser David Axelrod downplayed climate change and stressed energy production measures in a short interview with The Hill this week.
On Friday, Obama avoided any specifics on emissions policy but did refer to a “serious disagreement” with Republicans that he said he hoped the Senate could help solve.
“We have to plan for the future. And the future is that clean energy -- cleaner forms of energy are going to be increasingly important. Because even if folks are still skeptical in some cases about climate change in our politics and in Congress, the world's not skeptical
about it,” he said.
“If we're going to be going after some of these big markets, they're going to be looking to see is the United States the one that's developing clean coal technology? Is the United States developing our natural gas resources in the most effective way? Is the United States the one that is going to lead in electric cars? Because if we're not leading, those other countries are going to be leading,” he added.