Jimmy Carter photo

San Jose, California Remarks at City Hall.

September 23, 1980

Thank you very much, Mayor Janet Hayes, Congressman Norm Mineta, Congressman Don Edwards, and distinguished members of the county and city governments who've come here to make me feel at home and to welcome me:

This morning it's extremely important for me as President to acknowledge what is being accomplished here in the Santa Clara Valley in preparing our Nation for the future, which could be very troublesome for us unless we learn from the experience that you have given the Nation. This valley is indeed a fine example for us all. Your technology and the innovation that you've expressed is the cutting edge of our economic progress.

It's absolutely crucial in these troubled times, when overseas oil supplies are uncertain and their price is rapidly escalating, for us to be energy-secure here in the United States. There are two ways, and only two ways, that we can do this: One is to conserve energy—to save energy, to cut out waste—and the other way is to produce more energy of all kinds here in the United States.

Industrial change is inevitable; it's good. There is no way to avoid it, and Americans have never been afraid of change. We are an innovative, pioneer-spirit people, and you have made this clear here in San Jose and throughout this valley. We must have economic health, with new jobs, new opportunities for American workers to remain the most productive on Earth. And of course, our national security itself is at stake. These are also the keys to the future of this city and this region of our great country. Now that we have an energy policy in place, after long and laborious effort by the Congress, we have a chance to literally revitalize the entire American industrial complex.

You have indeed made this valley hum with activity. You've made great progress, and you've set an example which I'm sure the rest of the Nation will be eager to emulate. As you know, the same state of art of the computer systems which formerly would have filled a file cabinet or even a room can now be used as a pocket calculator and can also be inserted on an automobile, in a traffic light, in a home, to make sure that efficiency of operation of our entire energy-consuming society is increased substantially. We have an opportunity now also to reduce pollution and to make sure that the quality of our lives is constantly enhanced. Technology is indeed the key, and your technology in this valley has been an inspiration to us all.

Our goals have been spelled out very clearly in the Global 2000 report, which indicates to us the challenges to the world society unless we address these issues directly and take action to prevent the catastrophes which could occur from a burgeoning population throughout the Earth, constant depletion of our reserve supplies of oil, coal, and other fossil fuels, and a failure to move forward on technology that gives us renewable supplies of energy derived directly or indirectly from the Sun.

We have made great progress in a brief period of time. In just 3 1/2 years, since I've been in office, with the good help of the Congress, we have spelled out for ourselves now in law an opportunity to reduce our dependence on overseas oil. Today and every day this year, we will import 2 million barrels of oil less than we did just a year ago. This is good progress. It's because we've had a 20-fold increase in the allotment of Federal funds for solar power research and development. And because we now have, compared to just 4 years ago, 10 times as many American homes using solar power.

I just visited a very exciting exhibit, which will be open to all of you, that shows some of the new ideas that can be put into practical application in your own homes, your own automobiles, and your own communities. This kind of innovation gives a bright hope for Americans and indeed the rest of the world in the years to come.

The Sun, with which we're so generously blessed today, will indeed open up an opportunity for excitement and a better quality of life for Americans in the future. And our goal is that 20 percent of all the energy we use in this country by the end of this century will come directly from the Sun. We've been blessed, as you know, not only with a good climate but with very rich oil, and growing crops can take the Sun and indirectly convert it into energy that we can use, of all kinds. Solar cells, photovoltaic cells, the focusing of the Sun's rays to heat liquid—these kinds of technologies are already known to us. And as the years go by and the price of oil continues to go up, which it will, these will be increasingly economically competitive with the alternative sources of oil.

I might say a couple of other things, and that is that the wind, the water, growing crops, indirect beneficiaries of the Sun's rays, have not yet been adequately tapped by the American public. Farmers can move forward with decreased tillage, a minimum amount of cultivation for their crops, and therefore to save fuels that had been used for unnecessary cultivation with tractors. Crops can be cured with direct rays of the Sun instead of using oil, natural gas, and other heat sources.

This next year, we'll spend about a billion dollars on solar energy, whereas 5 years ago we were only spending about one-twentieth that amount. This year we're also increasing the search for American energy supplies of a conventional nature. We'll have more oil wells and natural gas wells drilled this year, 1980, than any other year in the history of our country. And you may be surprised to know that this year we'll produce more American coal than in any other year in the history of our Nation.

We're exporting large amounts of coal now and can export more in the future to nations overseas when we improve the quality of loading facilities in our ports and our rail and transportation systems on the highways to take that coal to be shipped overseas. In the future, as a major energy source for other nations, I would like to see OPEC oil replaced with American coal. And obviously in every element of life, in our own families and families around the seas, American technology and the use of American inventions can provide millions of new jobs for American workers and at the same time improve the lives of people all over the Earth.

We're using agricultural products, as you know, already for gasohol, methanol, and ethanol directly and to make other fuels. This opportunity is burgeoning so rapidly it's almost indescribable. A couple of years ago we had practically zero production of gasohol from the ethanol/ methanol process. This year we'll produce about 135 million gallons. In 1981 that will leap to 500 million gallons. And I have no doubt that that upward trend in producing fuel for automobiles and other vehicles directly from growing crops will be one of the most exciting opportunities for us in the future.

Basic research goes far beyond energy itself. Your valley and our Nation have benefited from a major commitment to research and development, both in private technology and also through the defense commitments of our country. I'm very deeply committed to keeping our Nation strong militarily. And our commitment this year for research and development through the Department of Defense helps you directly, creates new jobs, and gives us the foresight to expand from defense to domestic technologies, at the same time keeping our country strong.

I'm grateful that, as President, we've kept our Nation at peace. I have not been required to send a single American soldier into combat. And I pray God that when I go out of office at the end of 5 more years that we will still have a nation at peace.

I might add one other point, and that is that the peace of our own country, of our allies, and indeed of the entire world depends upon our Nation being militarily strong. We must know of our strength. Our allies must know of American strength. And political adversaries and potential military adversaries must know that any threat to attack the United States of America would be suicidal on their part. As I've said many times, the best weapons are those that are never fired in combat, and the best soldiers are those that never shed their blood on the field of battle. And to keep our Nation strong and at peace is the major responsibility that I have as President of the United States.

In closing, let me point out to you that what has happened in this wonderful community is not only good for yourselves but is an indication of what can happen throughout our Nation, with the new technological advances now being opened to us, with my determination to revitalize the economic system of our country based on an adequate energy policy.

When I was running for President in 1976 and came to California, the unemployment rate here throughout your State was almost 10 percent—9.8 percent. That is 58 percent higher unemployment rate than it is now. It's now not much more than 6 percent—still too high—but in the process we have been able to create in California alone 1,461,000 new jobs. This shows what can be done with American ingenuity, a competitive American free enterprise system, getting the government's nose out of the affairs of private citizens and private business through deregulation, and the search for the future that can be opened up to all of us with confidence and with unity and with deep commitment.

With your help, I'm determined to see our whole Nation benefit as your community has benefited and to make the greatest nation on Earth, which we love very dearly, even greater in the future.
Thank you very much. God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. outside City Hall. Prior to his remarks, he attended an energy/technology briefing in a conference room and then viewed energy/technology exhibits in the courtyard of City Hall.

Jimmy Carter, San Jose, California Remarks at City Hall. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251575

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