Obama on the Record: Edison Electric Vehicle Center

a flash of brilliance, but in the crucible of a deliberate effort over time. And often they take something more than imagination and dedication alone — often they take an investment and a commitment from government. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. That’s how we were able to launch a worldwide web. And it’s how we’ll help to build the clean-energy economy that’s the key to our competitiveness in the 21st century.

We’ll do this because we know, as Lavon just said, that the nation that leads on energy will be the nation that leads the world in the 21st century. Our children’s futures depend on it. That’s why, around the world, nations are racing to lead in these industries of the future. Germany is leading the world in solar power. Spain generates almost 30 percent of its power by harnessing the wind, while we manage less than 1 percent. Japan is producing the batteries that currently power American hybrid cars.

So the problem is not a lack of technology. You’re producing the technology right here. The problem is that for decades we’ve avoided doing what we must do as a nation to turn challenge into opportunity. As a consequence, we import more oil than we did on 9/11. The 1908 Model T — think about this — the 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the typical SUV in 2008. Think about that — a hundred years later and we’re getting less gas mileage, not better, on SUVs. Even as our economy has been transformed by new forms of technology, our electric grid looks largely the same as it did half a century ago.

So we have a choice to make. We can remain one of the world’s leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that would allow us to become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy. We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity.

And that’s what my recovery plan does. It will create or save 3.5 million jobs, nearly 400,000 of them right here in California — (applause) — in part, by making investments in areas critical to our long-term growth. And that is the forward-thinking purpose of the budget that I submitted to Congress. It’s a budget that makes hard choices about where to save and where to spend; that makes overdue investments in education, health care and, yes, in energy — investments that will catalyze innovation and industry, create green jobs, and launch clean renewable energy companies right here in California.

Over the next three years, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy. We’ve also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history — an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in science and technology. We will invest $15 billion a year to

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