Obama: 'Smart energy policy' key to 'competitive America'

We’ve also launched an unprecedented effort to make our homes and businesses more energy efficient.  We’ve announced loan guarantees to break ground on America’s first new nuclear plant in nearly three decades.  We are supporting three of the largest solar plants in the world.  And I’ve said that we’re willing to make tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development.   

But to truly transition to a clean energy economy, I’ve also said that we need to put a price on carbon pollution.   Many businesses have embraced this approach – including some here today.  Still, I am sympathetic to those companies that face significant transition costs, and I want to work with organizations like this to help with those costs and get our policies right. 

What we can’t do is stand still.  The only certainty of the status quo is that the price and supply of oil will become increasingly volatile; that the use of fossil fuels will wreak havoc on weather patterns and air quality.  But if we decide now that we’re putting a price on this pollution in a few years, it will give businesses the certainty of knowing they have time to plan and transition.  This country has to move towards a clean energy economy.  That’s where the world is going.  And that’s how America will remain competitive and strong in the 21st century."