President Obama continues to show significant leadership in his early days in office with a clear call for the US to move towards energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil. His vision sees a US which can not be held "hostage to dwindling resources, hostile regimes, and a warming planet". More importantly he is linking this vision to the creation of jobs in an "energy economy".
This vision of energy security should be welcomed even by those who are sceptical about man made global warming. It can't be sensible for any country to be be so dependent on foreign energy supplies and over time oil can only become a scarce resource. If modern economies are to face these challenges then this is a good time to begin. The US economy needs stimulus and this is clearly moving in the right direction.
The shame in all this is that in the UK there has not been such clear leadership. The UK also must look to it's own future energy security. Generation using non-fossil fuel sources makes increasing economic sense. The UK has significant coal reserves and vested interests have made much of the prospect of clean coal technology. But this is to continue to look towards big industrialised solutions. The real gains will come from efforts to reduce energy use, not least in the home, and by developing distributed renewable solutions probably on a medium, community sized scale. No single solution seems likely to meet the UK or any other countries needs.
In the UK we must hope that our politicians are watching and learning from the leadership that Obama is giving on the energy issue and how he is linking it to economic stimulus.