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US: US clean energy law key to global economy: Obama

24 Jun 2009 3:06 AM

WASHINGTON, June 23 AFP - US President Barack Obama says landmark legislation before Congress pushing for clean energy will enable the country to spearhead the 21st century global economy.

Noting that the House of Representatives was moving ahead on "historic" legislation that will transform the way the United States produced and used energy, he said on Tuesday it would "finally spark a clean energy transformation" reducing dependence on foreign oil and battling carbon pollution.

"We all know why this is so important. The nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy," Obama told a White House news conference.

"That is what this legislation seeks to achieve -- it is a bill that will open the door to a better future for this nation. And that is why I urge members of the House to come together and pass it," Obama said.

The energy bill will create a set of incentives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal power.

It will also spur new energy savings, like "efficient windows" and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.

"These incentives will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. And that will lead to the development of new technologies that lead to new industries that could create millions of new jobs in America -- jobs that cannot be shipped overseas," Obama said.

The US leader also moved to allay concerns over possible high costs to implement clean energy measures as the country reels from a ballooning budget deficit.

"At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe.

"It also provides assistance to businesses and communities as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies," he said.

Obama's Democratic allies, who control the Senate and House of Representatives, have said they want to have a energy bill ready to lend momentum to December global climate change talks in Copenhagen.