Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday called for her successor to pursue the twin goals of stable, affordable energy and the growth of renewable sources in future diplomacy.
Clinton said the United States must remain a world leader in the energy markets, with the top objective of making sure “the American people’s access to energy is secure, reliable, affordable and sustainable.” On the last note, she said global development of renewable energy sources is key to confronting climate change.
“We therefore have an interest in promoting new technologies and sources of energy, especially including renewables, to reduce pollution, to diversify the global energy supply, to create jobs and to address the very real threat of climate change,” she said.
“Energy cuts across the entirety of U.S. foreign policy. It’s a matter of national security and global stability, it’s at the heart of the global economy,” Clinton said. “It’s also an issue of democracy and human rights,” she added.
Clinton delivered the remarks in a policy speech at Georgetown University as President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney appeal to voters with dueling plans to cut oil imports and boost natural gas.
Obama has stressed that renewable energy will grow in use across the globe in the coming years, and he wants to continue government spending to make the U.S. a leader in technology development and adoption. Romney has said he supports renewables but wants to limit taxpayer support to research.
Clinton’s speech came as she nears the end of her time in the post. She has said she will leave at the end of the year regardless of the outcome of the presidential election.
It also came as energy markets are re-ordered by the historic U.S. shale gas boom, surging energy demand in China and tensions over Iran’s nuclear sanctions.
She said the nation faces a “moment of profound change” and questions about its direction on international energy.
“It’s been a top concern of mine for years, but certainly these last four years as secretary of state, and it’s sure to be the same for the next secretary,” Clinton said.
Clinton stressed that the U.S. cannot withdraw from energy geopolitics, because of the global nature of oil markets and the move in that direction for natural gas.
“We all know energy sparks a great deal of debate in our country, but from my vantage point as the secretary of state, outside the domestic debate, the important thing to keep in mind is our country is not and cannot be an island when it comes to energy markets,” she said.
Clinton said she has ordered more reporting from U.S. embassies on energy issues and more diplomatic outreach to overseas energy interests.
Among goals, she said, the U.S. should pursue is cooperation among northern nations over development in the Arctic. Clinton called the Arctic “a potential environmental catastrophe” because the melting ice caps that are opening new areas to oil and gas drilling and shipping.
“It’s critical that we now act to set rules of the road to avoid conflict over those resources and protect the Arctic’s fragile ecosystem,” Clinton said.
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