by Katie Valentine
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is willing to break the climate silence.
In a speech on energy diplomacy yesterday afternoon at Georgetown University, Clinton talked about the importance of sustainability and climate issues on the international policy agenda.
“We…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,” said Clinton.
Clinton said the world is in a state of profound change when it comes to energy, citing the surge in natural gas, the increase in the energy consumption in developing countries, and new drilling technologies that are playing a role in opening up places such as the Arctic and the South China Sea for oil extraction. She lauded improvements and expansions in renewable and traditional energy that have occurred under the Obama administration – gains that many Americans don’t realize, she said.
“Our use of renewable wind and solar power has doubled in the last four years. Our oil and natural gas production is surging. New auto standards will double how far we drive on a gallon of gas, and for the first time, we’ve introduced fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, vans and buses, all of which will cut costs. That means we are less reliant on imported energy, which strengthens our global, political and economic standing and the world’s energy marketplace,” she said.
Though using varied energy sources from the U.S. and abroad is important, Clinton said that renewable energy is key to the world’s economic and environmental progress, as well as its security interests.
“The transformation to cleaner energy is central to reducing the world’s carbon emissions and it is the core of a strong 21st century global economy.” she said.
Clinton outlined the work that the State Department has done over the past four years in three areas: energy diplomacy; preventing monopolies and promoting competition; and energy poverty.
Clinton brought up the State Department’s work dealing with drilling for oil in the Arctic – an issue she called a “potential environmental catastrophe.” She said protecting the Arctic’s ecosystem while setting ground rules to avoid conflict over the area’s oil resources is a critical part of the department’s work.