Obama hails solar, natural gas in fifth State of the Union

President Barack Obama spent his fifth State of the Union address January 28 remarking on jobs and the economy, issues that he said can be improved by focusing on energy production and infrastructure development.

Kicking off his remarks on energy, Obama said his administration is pursing an energy plan that will result in greater energy independence in the U.S.

"The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades," Obama said.

One of the reasons for this is natural gas, which the U.S. has focused on extracting and selling on the world market. Obama referred to natural gas as a "bridge fuel" that can be extracted safely and used to help address climate change.

"Businesses plan to invest almost a hundred billion dollars in new factories that use natural gas. I'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas," he said.

Traditional power generation sources like natural gas will continue to grow, but so will renewable sources of energy, such as solar power, he said.

"Every four minutes another American home or business goes solar, every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can't be outsourced. Let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it so we can invest more in fuels of the future that do," he said.

Obama said the shift to a new, clean energy economy will require difficult choices and will not happen overnight, but progress has been made already.

"Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth," he said.

The science of climate change, Obama said, is an established fact. He called for more action to address climate change, which he said is already affecting communities through severe weather and droughts.

"When our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did," he said.

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