Global climate change is the most pressing environmental and national security issues facing us today. We need an energy policy that will reduce the pollution that causes global warming and, at the same time, lessen our dependence on oil shipped in from other countries. The task is great, but the challenge also provides the opportunity to create new jobs in the United States and in North Carolina.
The solution lies in shifting our infrastructure from a carbon-based system to one based on clean energy, a change that will result in a dramatic shift in our economy.
The benefits that North Carolina will see are endless. With research facilities that stretch from the Research Triangle Park to Charlotte, North Carolina can be a leader in research and development for the technology that will provide clean, renewable energy. This work will lead to new industries and new jobs, many of which will stay here in our state.
I believe the nation's policy on energy and global climate change must:
* Reduce carbon emissions. We should no longer have to rely on foreign oil to provide the energy we need in the United States. We can create cleaner energy here, and put Americans to work providing it.
* Ensure investments in renewable energy, not just in wind and solar power technologies, but also in biomass and biofuel technologies that will allow us to tap into our state's rich agricultural base. An investment in this area can help farms become more efficient.
* Ensure adequate funding to update our electric grid so that renewable energy can get from production sources to our homes and businesses.
* Provide incentives for conservation efforts and those companies who help consumers create them. Already, one North Carolina company, Durham-based Cree Inc., is leading the way in LED lighting products. Researchers and entrepreneurs here have the chance to create similar businesses and job opportunities.