President Bush delivered his final State of the Union Address to the 110th Congress last night, but this year there was no mention of ethanol by name, no grand plans for an energy revolution, not even an indictment of an America “addicted to oil.” Instead, Bush put forward a plan for an international cleantech fund that would help developing economies better use clean energy: “Let us create a new international clean technology fund which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources,” the President said.
While Bush in his address offered no specific numbers, a White House communications brief described the fund as consisting of $2 billion over three years. This is a paltry sum for such an urgent issue, one in which India, China and private investment are already investing ten of billions of dollars. Just yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Japanese Prime Minister proposed a similar international cleantech fund — worth $10 billion.
And while President Bush said several times in his speech that America needs to continue to lead the world, it sounded more like the international cleantech world has left the Bush Administration far behind.
Bush’s discussion of energy was short and general, with “renewable energy” sandwiched between the pursuit of clean coal and some mythical “emissions-free nuclear power.” Indeed, the speech was notable for what it did not say about energy and climate policy. After spending so much time, in previous speeches, talking about ethanol and the ideal of powering American cars on American fuel, neither the word “ethanol” nor “biodiesel” was even uttered.
The word that was repeated over and over again was “trust” — Bush said we must trust “the creative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs” and “the skill of our scientists and engineers.” He also wants to give our scientists and engineers more money, saying he’s looking to double federal funding for research in the physical sciences.
Below is the complete, uncut excerpt of President Bush’s energy intentions from his address. The full State of the Union address is available here.
To build a future of energy security, we must trust in the creative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs and empower them to pioneer a new generation of clean energy technology.
Our security, our prosperity and our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil. consumption over the next decade, and you responded. Together, we should take the next steps. Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions.
Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power.
Let us continue investing in advanced battery technology and renewable fuels to power the cars and trucks of the future.
Let us create a new international clean technology fund which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources.
And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.
This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride.
The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change, and the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient technology.
To keep America competitive into the future, we must trust in the skill of our scientists and engineers and empower them to pursue the breakthroughs of tomorrow.
Last year, Congress passed legislation supporting the American Competitiveness Initiative, but never followed through with the funding. This funding is essential to keeping our scientific edge.
So I ask Congress to double federal support for critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure America remains the most dynamic nation on earth.