Building a Secure Energy Future: A Challenge for New Presidential Leadership

Jonathan Elkind
Jonathan Elkind, Columbia University
Jonathan Elkind Former Brookings Expert, Fellow and Senior Adjunct Research Scholar - Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University

August 28, 2007

For more than 30 years, the United States has struggled to enhance its energy security. Unfortunately, these efforts have been episodic rather than systematic. Attention to energy security reaches a fever pitch when global energy prices spike or international conflict threatens to disrupt energy trade.

Responding to these immense challenges will require the full weight and leadership that a new President will bring to office. The next President should:

  • Make energy efficiency a national priority and immediately establish the goal of increasing energy efficiency by 2.5 percent per year
  • Act early on the energy-climate connection by quickly launching a climate change mitigation instrument, however flawed, rather than spending years developing a comprehensive one
  • Avoid policies that ease one part of our energy security problem-import dependence-at the expense of worsening climate change
  • Initiate a national dialogue about energy security, consumption, and tradeoffs in order promote energy awareness
  • Develop a realistic strategy for energy policy over the long haul, focusing on patience, flexibility, and international cooperation.

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