As most here know, President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the White House roof in 1979. At the dedication ceremony for the (then) cutting edge green technology, President Carter made the following observation:
In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy…. A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American peopleIt turns out President Carter was right on one prediction and wrong on another.
Unfortunately, President Carter's most pessimistic prediction came true: the solar panels he ordered for installation on the White House roof, rather than signaling the advent of a new era in innovative, green energy technology, proved more of a curiosity and the panels themselves now reside mostly in museums. And not only that, but Jimmy Carter's first prediction -- that the solar water heater would still be supplying cheap, efficient energy in 2000 -- proved false altogether, because his successor had the panels removed and proceeded to systematically dismantle President Carter's entire green energy initiative:
Reagan became the anti-Carter in almost every way on energy policy. Reagan slashed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s budget by 90 percent, halved the Energy Department’s conservation and alternative fuels budget, eliminated the wind investment tax credit, reduced spending on solar photovoltaic research by two-thirds, slashed energy tax credits for homeowners, and reduced fuel-efficiency standards for cars.But that doesn't have to be the end of this story. And that "curiosity" that President Carter described did plant a seed, and the seed, despite powerful efforts to stifle it, has sprouted roots. And it continues to grow, however slowly. What happens next is our choice.
Despite intense opposition, President Obama has made significant strides in the direction of a renewably powered American future. He established an Energy Partnership for the Americas, focusing on increasing the contributions of renewable energy technologies to our overall power consumption. President Obama allocated $60 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to clean energy and other environmental projects. He awarded $2 billion for the establishment of new solar plants. And that's not all.
But despite signs of progress, and despite a promise to the contrary, he has not yet replaced the solar panels on the rooftop of his own home.
As they say, change starts at home, and there's no home with more influence over the direction this country will take than that of the President. Let's keep up the pressure and make sure President Obama's second term sets a clear example in the direction of a green energy future. Let's tell the President that it's time to put those solar panels back on the roof of the White House, and signal to the country and to the world that all hope is not lost, and that we intend to lead the way.
Please sign this petition to the President to make an example of his own home and put those solar panels back on the roof of the White House.