U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to pass legislation to support clean-energy research and fight climate change. The president issued the challenge Friday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of America's premier research universities.
President Obama says there is a global competition to develop clean-energy alternatives to fossil fuel. He is urging Congress to advance America's cause by passing comprehensive energy legislation.
"From China to India, from Japan to Germany, nations everywhere are racing to develop new ways to produce and use energy," said President Obama. "The nation that wins this competition will be the nation that leads the global economy, I am convinced of that. And I want America to be that nation."
The U.S. House of Representatives this year passed a plan to limit the greenhouse gas emissions of factories and power plants, which are blamed for contributing to global warming. The Senate is considering similar legislation.
The president says the $787-billion economic stimulus plan he signed earlier in the year contains the largest-ever investment in clean energy.
"The Recovery Act includes $80 billion to put tens of thousands of Americans to work, developing new battery technologies for hybrid vehicles, modernizing the electric grid, making our homes and businesses more energy-efficient, doubling our capacity to generate renewable electricity," said Mr. Obama.
Mr. Obama says he expects opponents of energy legislation to fight harder as the bills move closer to passage. But he says he believes a consensus is growing.
"The young people of this country that I have met all across America, they understand that this is the challenge of their generations," he said. "Leaders in the business community are standing with leaders in the environmental community to protect the economy and the planet we leave for our children."
The president says passing an energy bill is one way to energize the sluggish economy, and reducing dependence on foreign oil is necessary for national security.
Mr. Obama's visit to MIT is part of a political fundraising trip to the Northeastern states of Massachusetts and Connecticut.