Sept. 22, 2009 -- With President Obama talking climate change and other issues with President Hu Jintao of China, his administration announced Tuesday that it had given more than $1 billion from the stimulus plan to companies investing in domestic clean energy projects.
At a meeting in Washington, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $550 million in new awards as part of the $787 billion stimulus plan passed last winter. Today's awards mean the administration has surpassed $1 billion in funds given to companies committed to domestic renewable energy production.
"The country that leads in this new industrial revolution will be the country that prospers the most from it," Chu said. "We hope that all countries can prosper that will make these investments. But we see this as a core of the future economic prosperity, both short- and long-term, in the United States."
China and the United States are labeled by scientists and environmentalists as the leading producers of greenhouse gases. Obama is discussing the climate issue with his Chinese counterpart as world leaders gather ahead of this week's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh.
Asked what the administration would consider a successful outcome of the meetings with China as far as climate change was concerned, Geithner spoke in general terms.
Geithner: 'Sustainable, More Balanced Growth'
"You'll hear more from the president about that from us in the coming days," he said. "But what the president is doing is bringing the world together, bringing leaders of the largest, most rapidly growing economies ... together to take stock of where we are in putting the world on a path to stronger, more sustainable, more balanced growth, to create a more stable financial system where taxpayers are less at risk in the future to absorbing losses caused by excess risk-taking and to make sure that as we recover from the crisis, we're laying the seeds for a more balanced, more sustainable recovery."
One year after the financial system's meltdown last September, Geithner said that "we are now seeing the first signs of growth."
"If you look at the consensus of private forecasters now, if you listen to what people say who build things, make things, sell things, I think you would say that there's a general consensus now that the U.S. economy is growing again for the first time really in almost 18 months," said the Treasury chief.
$1B Stimulus Money for Renewable Energy
"I think if you look at the expectations for growth, not just for the end of this year but into 2010 and 2011, you're seeing people start to build in projections of progressively higher growth rates," said Geithner. "I think that's encouraging."
"But we're at the very beginnings of this recovery," he cautioned. "We still have unacceptably high unemployment, I think many people, many businesses across the country are still facing one of the most challenging environments you've seen in a long time. We need to make sure we keep at this."