Energy is key to economic development and political stability, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, citing example of developing countries like India and China where energy needs are growing rapidly along with their economies.
Unveiling a new energy diplomacy, the top US diplomat told students of the Georgetown University that soon she would be sending policy guidance to every US embassy, instructing them to elevate their reporting on energy issues and pursue more outreach to private sector energy partners.
In the coming weeks, I will be sending policy guidance to every US embassy worldwide, instructing them to elevate their reporting on energy issues and pursue more outreach to private sector energy partners, Clinton said in her major policy speech on energy.
Energy matters to America's foreign policy for three fundamental reasons, Clinton said.
First, it rests at the core of geopolitics because fundamentally, energy is an issue of wealth and power, which means they can be both a source of conflict and cooperation she said.
Second, energy is essential to how we will power our economy and manage our environment in the 21st century.
And third, energy is key to economic development and political stability. And we have an interest in helping the 1.3 billion people worldwide who don't have access to energy.
We believe the more they can access power, the better their chances of starting businesses, educating their children, increasing their incomes, joining the global economy, all of which is good for them and for us, she said.
Clinton said in a dramatic reversal, developing countries are consuming more of the world's energy than developed countries.
China and India's energy needs are growing rapidly along with their economies. Demand is also rising across Central Asia and South America, too. There's been a surge in the global supply of natural gas, creating new opportunities for gas producers and lessening the world's dependence on oil.
Clinton called for higher levels of safety at atomic power plants to avoid nuclear disasters. We now know that there has to be higher levels of safety for nuclear reactor plants. And we therefore need to hold ourselves and the rest of the world to a high standard if countries are going to be using nuclear power.
'I think it's very important that we do more research ourselves, in the United States but also with like-minded countries around the world, to ensure that the costs of building plants will actually be recovered in a realistic time frame; because in our own country and elsewhere, governments have to heavily subsidize the construction and operation of nuclear plants because it is incredibly expensive, she noted.
Finally I think it's important that we don't assume that there's any single answer for our energy needs. We have to invest more in all forms of energy”.