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Obama Addresses Climate Change, Cleaner Energy

President Barack Obama spent much of his speech discussing coal and the need to push for cleaner-burning energy. He tied in an emphasis on job creation, stating that the technologies needed for energy efficiency and cleaning burning fuels will require workers at a multitude of levels, from factory assembly lines to home installations.

"In the last four years, we've doubled the electricity that we generate from zero-power wind and solar power," he said.

He also stated that more natural gas is produced in the United States than anywhere else in the world, and that this leads to lower electricity bills for American families. Along with natural gas he discussed wind energy, citing that 25 percent of Iowa's electricity is generated from wind power.

Obama emphasized the importance of reducing pollution, stating that simple upgrades will cut pollution and create jobs. He used energy-efficient appliances as an example of upgrades that can be done to ease a transition into cleaner energy. He also called for an end to tax breaks for big oil companies, saying that focus should instead be invested in clean energy.

While much of his speech focused on the efforts that needed to be made domestically, he discussed the importance of changes taking place on a global level. He suggested working with developing nations to bring them to energy-efficient levels, and "skipping" the steps that the United States took in its earlier industrial days.

In his address, Obama said that changes made now will not go into effect immediately. He used a metaphor of pumping on the brakes of a car before coming to a completely stop, stating that issues such as sea level rise will not immediately disappear when carbon emissions are lowered. Therefore, he said that changes need to be included in plans for energy efficiency, including making changes to infrastructures to prepare for coastal flooding, citing changes already underway in Florida to protect drinking water from sea waters.

Watch a clip from his speech here: