Obama in city, talks energy

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Portsmouth Mayor, Steve Marchand and Senator Barack Obama, look at information about the Portsmouth Library and its construction geared toward "green technology" and being friendly to the environment during a quick tour Monday. Obama then spoke at a forum in the library on "Real Leadership on Energy."
Deb Cram/dcram@seacoastonline.com
Don Clark
Barack Obama (D) Senator, Illinois
Born: 08/04/1961
Birthplace: Honolulu, HI
Home: Chicago, IL
Religion: United Church of Christ
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PORTSMOUTH Presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama outlined an aggressive energy policy Monday at the Portsmouth Public Library before an invited audience of supporters including environmental activists.

Obama's three-step plan takes a top-down, bottom-up approach by focusing on both industry and the way individuals consume energy.

He advocated the development of new power sources biofuels, wind and solar but also recognized that traditional sources of fuel will not be replaced by new technologies.

"We must find a way to stop coal from polluting our atmosphere without pretending that our nation's most abundant energy source will just go away," Obama said. "It won't."

The Democrat said he would ban the construction of "traditional" coal facilities and invest in clean coal technologies.

He spoke about seeking safer ways to use nuclear power, focusing on the "safe, secure treatment" of nuclear waste.

Also outlined in the speech were ways in which he hopes ordinary Americans will contribute to curbing climate change, which he called "the planet's greatest threat."

"I will immediately sign a law that begins to phase out incandescent light bulbs," the presidential contender promised, calling it "a measure that will save American consumers $6 billion a year on their electric bills."

Other bottom-up approaches include proposals to make all new buildings constructed in America carbon-neutral by 2030, with the federal government taking the lead in having all its buildings carbon-neutral by 2025.

The three-step strategy is topped with a plan to phase out the carbon-based economy.

"As president, I will set a hard cap on all carbon emission at a level scientists say is necessary to curb global warming an 80 percent reduction by 2050," Obama said.

The second part of the ambitious plan calls for heavy investment in the "development of clean, affordable energy."

The $150 billion investment would go toward promoting more efficient biofuels than the currently-popular corn-based ethanol, such as switchgrass and wood chips.

"The struggling paper mills in New Hampshire would be back in business if they could use wood to produce biofuels," Obama said.

The third step was calling on "business, government and the American people to make America 50 percent more energy efficient by 2030."

During his introduction and his conclusion, Obama emphasized the need for America to get back to leading the world in tackling problems such as climate change.

"From the moment I take office, I will invite the world back to Washington and let it be known that the United States of America is ready to lead again, that we are ready to rejoin the community of nations in taking on the greatest challenge of this generation," Obama said.

He spoke of holding a Global Energy Forum that will "lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols as well as create "an alliance of oil-importing nations and work together to reduce our demand, just like OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) nations strategize on supply."