Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama MIT Green Speech: We Must Fight Cynics And Deniers On Climate Bill

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — President Barack Obama said Friday that opponents of his energy bill are disputing the evidence of global warming in a cynical ploy to undermine efforts to curb pollution and steer the nation to greener energy sources.

Obama said some opponents "make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change – claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary."

He also appeared to be taking on chief critics like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, though not by name.

"There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy, when it's the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs," Obama told his audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Using familiar refrains from his campaign and his administration as Congress mulls its next move on the climate bill, the speech was designed as a nudge for lawmakers to act on a top priority of the president's.

Next week, the Senate environment committee will take up its version of a global warming bill. The legislation would cut greenhouse gases by about 80 percent by 2050 – as the president called for in his campaign – and require more domestic energy to come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. The House passed a similar bill in June.

The two business groups to which Obama alluded oppose reducing emissions by allowing companies to buy and sell permits to pollute, a system known as cap and trade.

With work still to be done on health care and deep divisions in Congress over the best approach to climate change, the chances the Senate will pass a climate bill by the end of the year are slim. That means U.S. negotiators are likely to not have firm targets set before 192 nations gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, to hammer out a new treaty to slow global warming.

"This should not be a partisan issue," Obama said, urging bipartisan answers on a day largely devoted to raising campaign money for fellow Democrats. "The closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight."


Associated Press writer Dina Cappiello contributed to this report from Washington.

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On Thursday, President-elect Barack Obama called for doubling production of alternative energy in the United States over the next three years as part

On Thursday, President-elect Barack Obama called for doubling production of alternative energy in the United States over the next three years as part of his "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan." In a speech officially rolling out the plan, he also set a goal of retrofitting more than 75 percent of federal buildings and 2 million homes to make them more energy-efficient.

"In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced -- jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain," he said. (He did not say, nor is it entirely clear, why jobs manufacturing turbines and cars can't be outsourced.)

Obama also pledged to make major investments in infrastructure, including not just road and bridge repairs but construction of a new, national "smart grid" that "will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation."

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Prediction: Homes Sales to Rise 11 Percent

Sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, and sales of new homes will climb 21 percent over this year, Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann predicted in a speech Tuesday at the organization’s annual meeting.

"We still see a concentration in the lower end of the market," Brinkmann said. "The entry level homes are in demand."

Brinkmann also predicted further declines in existing home prices, with the median falling to $164,200 in the first quarter of 2010.

David Stevens, commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, concurred, adding that mortgage rates will rise to 5.6 percent by the end of 2010, though not enough of an increase to discourage a 12 percent increase in mortgage applications next year.

Source: Associated Press, Alex Veiga (10/13/2009)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Economists Predict Housing Recovery

Economic forecasters predict that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy, according to a survey released by the National Association for Business Economics.

Home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year, but forecasters don’t believe the increase in prices will discourage homebuyers.

More than 80 percent of economists surveyed by the NABE think the recession is over and recovery has begun, but they expect the expansion to be slow because unemployment persists.

Source: Associated Press, Mae Anderson (10/12/2009