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State of the Union 2008

Increasing Our Energy Security And Confronting Climate Change
The Administration Is Taking Steps To Reduce U.S. Dependence On Oil, And To Advance U.S. Leadership In Developing A Global Response To Climate Change

Tonight, President Bush will call on Congress to work with him on the next steps to improve our energy security and confront the challenge of climate change without undermining economic growth.  Last month, the President signed an energy bill that will help cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce U.S. dependence on oil, which harms America economically through high prices at the gas pump.  As world demand for energy continues to increase, the President urges Congress to act on the remaining proposals from his energy security agenda:

  • We must continue changing the way America generates electric power through even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power. 

  • We must increase our domestic supply of oil in a prudent and environmentally sensitive way.  The President urges Congress to pass legislation that opens access to domestic energy sources in the Outer Continental Shelf and Alaska and that protects America against supply disruptions by doubling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

  • President Bush is committing $2 billion over the next three years to create a new international clean energy technology fund to help confront climate change worldwide.  Along with contributions from other countries, this fund will increase and accelerate the deployment of all forms of cleaner, more efficient technologies in developing nations like India and China, and help leverage substantial private-sector capital by making clean energy projects more financially attractive.

The President Will Call On Congress To Work With Him To Take Advantage Of New Clean Energy Technologies

President Bush supports an increase in the use of nuclear power as a clean, safe, and affordable alternative energy source to meet America's growing needs for electricity.  Nuclear power produces no greenhouse gases, and a growing number of people believe it is an environmentally necessary choice.  Without its use, power sector CO2 emissions would have been 28 percent greater in the electricity industry in 2005 – nearly equal to the annual emissions from all 136 million passenger cars in the U.S.

President Bush seeks to fund new technologies that can produce power from coal with significantly lower carbon emissions.  Coal is America's most abundant and affordable energy resource, responsible for generating about 50 percent of America's electric power.  We are now cutting harmful air pollution from coal, and we have to learn to cut CO2. 

President Bush is dedicated to strong growth in renewable electricity generation.  Since 2001, wind power in the U.S. has grown 550 percent and photovoltaic solar power grown by 525 percent; overall, renewable power has nearly doubled. The U.S. led the world in new wind capacity in 2006 and 2007.  The President’s Solar America Initiative – launched in 2006 – doubled U.S. investment in solar energy.  The U.S. leads the world in geothermal electricity generation, with almost 3,000 megawatts of new capacity planned for development in the West.

The United States will continue to lead the way in developing the clean and efficient technologies critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while fostering economic growth.  Since the President took office, the Federal government has committed nearly $18 billion to research, develop, and promote clean and efficient technologies and help get them to market.  The private sector has responded with significant investments, ranging from corporate research and development to the venture capital markets. 

To complement the new international clean technology fund, the United States and the European Union have jointly proposed in the WTO to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to clean energy and environmental technologies and services.   Global trade in the goods covered by the proposal totaled $613 billion in 2006 and could increase by an additional 7-14 percent annually according to the World Bank.

The Administration Continues To Lead The Effort To Reach A New, Post-2012 Global Agreement

The President will reaffirm the United States' commitment to work with major economies and through the UN to complete an international agreement that will 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. 

This week, the United States will host the second Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change.  President Bush announced this initiative in May 2007 to work with all of the world's largest energy users, including both developed and developing nations, to produce a detailed contribution from the leaders of these countries to help establish an international agreement by 2009 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  In September, the U.S. hosted representatives of 17 world leaders plus the United Nations.

In December, the United States joined the global consensus at the UN Climate Conference in Bali to launch a comprehensive "roadmap" for global climate negotiations.  The Bali Action Plan is a critical first step in moving the UN negotiation process forward toward a comprehensive and effective post-2012 arrangement by 2009.  The United States looks forward to participating in the negotiations envisioned in the Bali Action Plan, including through the Major Economies Process and other appropriate channels to achieve an effective outcome.

The Energy Independence And Security Act Of 2007 Will Reduce U.S. Gasoline Consumption And Help Diversify America's Energy Sources, And Produce Some Of The Largest Greenhouse Gas Reductions In U.S. History

In December, President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which responded to his "Twenty in Ten" challenge in last year's State of the Union Address to improve vehicle fuel economy and increase alternative fuels.  This bill will help reduce America's dependence on oil, improve efficiency, and cut emissions by:

  • Mandating that fuel producers use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022.  Although on a longer timeline than the President proposed last year, the new requirement represents a nearly five-fold increase over previously required levels.

  • Mandating a national fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 – which will increase fuel economy by 40 percent and save billions of gallons of fuel.  This requirement represents the first statutory increase in automobile fuel economy standards since 1975 and includes an important "attribute-based" reform the President called for that will ensure that increased fuel efficiency does not come at the expense of automotive safety.

  • Mandating increases in energy efficiency of light bulbs by 30 percent.  This will effectively phase out most common types of incandescent light bulbs by 2012.

  • Mandating new efficiency standards for nine appliances and encouraging the development of more efficient commercial buildings, in addition to work already underway to update dozens of existing standards.

  • Mandating that Federal government operations reduce total energy use in Federal buildings by 30 percent by 2015, reduce annual petroleum consumption by 20 percent by 2015, and increase use of alternative fuels by 10 percent by 2015. These new provisions effectively adopted key requirements of an Executive Order that President Bush issued last year.  Because the Federal government is one of the world’s largest consumers of energy, these steps will not only have significant energy security and climate benefits, but will also help boost markets for cleaner, more efficient technologies.

Taken together, these programs will cumulatively reduce projected greenhouse gas emissions by more than six billion metric tons by 2030, according to preliminary estimates.