US President Barack Obama said Saturday that a transition to cleaner energy will help create more American jobs as he promoted his new initiative designed to reduce US energy imports by a third.
Shifting toward a clean energy economy "will ensure that the United States of America is home to the jobs and industries of tomorrow," Obama said in his weekly address after new figures showed the unemployment rate reached a two-year low in March, signaling a turnaround in the troubled labor market.
"That's how we'll win the future. And that's how we'll leave our children an America that is more secure and prosperous than before."
While still high at 8.8 percent, the jobless rate was the lowest since March 2009, thanks to a solid rise in nonfarm payrolls, the Labor Department reported.
On Wednesday, Obama also called for cutting US oil imports by a third in a just over a decade. In a major speech laying out a blueprint for a secure American energy future, he warned that events like Japan's tsunami tragedy and crises roiling across the Middle East made it even more vital to shield the US economy from rising fuel costs.
The plan calls for tapping new sources of energy, including natural gas, biofuels like ethanol, switchgrass, wood chips and biomass -- and highlights government efforts to cut energy consumption.
"We're going to use cleaner sources of energy that don't imperil our climate," Obama said in his radio address. "And we're going to spark new products and businesses all over the country by tapping America's greatest renewable resource: our ingenuity."
He noted that significant steps had already been made, but more needed to be done.
"As we make our cars and trucks more efficient, we've got to harness new technologies to fuel our vehicles with everything from biofuels to natural gas to advanced batteries," the president noted. "And the good news is, these technologies aren't science fiction anymore. They exist today."
Innovators across America were testing new products he praised for holding "incredible promise" not just for new vehicles, but for new jobs."
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