Bush: US will lead the way to cleaner energy

America must trust in the "creative genius" of its researchers and entrepreneurs to pioneer a new generation of clean energy technology, George Bush has declared in his final State of the Nation address.

Climate change and energy was one of several key domestic and foreign policy topics covered in the annual speech on Monday, which is expected to be President Bush’s last before he steps down in January 2009.

Echoing themes of his speech at the signing of the Energy Independence and Security Act, President Bush emphasised the need for energy security and to reduce America’s dependence on oil.

The US would “continue leading the way” towards the development of cleaner more energy-efficient technology, he told the American public, and should increase the use of nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions.

He also pledged the United State’s commitment to reaching a post-2012 international agreement on tackling climate change – in contrast to his steadfast refusal to sign up to the Kyoto agreement.

President Bush said: “Let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.

“This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride.

“The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change.”

Funding for research and development into clean energy technology will be essential, President Bush said, and criticised the Democratic Congress’ funding of scientific research, appealing to members to double the current financial support.

He said: “To keep America competitive into the future, we must trust in the skill of our scientists and engineers and empower them to pursue the breakthroughs of tomorrow.”

He also called for the creation of a new international clean technology fund to help developing nations such as India and China make greater use of clean energy sources.

Kate Martin

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