Climate Change and Energy Security – Obama’s Historic Challenge

Yuji Takagi
JEL codes: 
IEEJ Paper

It was a long 35 years ago that Richard Nixon proclaimed, Our national goal should be to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign sources. Even now that goal of energy security remains elusive although it has occupied an attention almost continuously. Under the sharp increase in oil prices until last year, the past several years have made a huge impact on public awareness and have contributed to a growing concern about energy independence. At the same time, a big difference has come about in attitudes toward climate change. In December 1997, when tough negotiators agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, the United States Senate was at odds with the international community, voting 95-0 against the accord. Now the cultural landscape is full of cover articles in major media publications on such topics as powerful hurricanes, 100 year storms, disappearing species, as well as Al Gores book and film An Inconvenient Truth and his Nobel Peace Prize. Global warming has arrived at center stage as a major concern for economics and national security. Governors are taking dynamic steps to fight climate change, major companies are working for strategic measures, venture capitalists are pouring money into alternative energy, military specialists are engaged by the global security dangers of climate change, and civil societies are demonstrating against global warming.