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Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | Video (C-SPAN)


Good afternoon.

When a great nation faces great challenge, its full capacity and talent are called into play.

We confront such a time now.

We are caught, as never before, in a double grip — the need for national and global energy security, and legitimate alarm over our planet’s climate change. Issues that ensue from these twin realities — complex geopolitical and geostrategic challenges, unprecedented wealth transfer from one group of nations to another, the profusion of investment choices before us — require vision, careful analysis, coherent thinking, and, finally, action.

The question is — what action?

A year ago, the Council on Competitiveness set out to find answers through its Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability (ESIS) Initiative. My colleagues in leading this effort are James W. Owens, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Caterpillar Inc., and D. Michael Langford, National President, Utility Workers Union of America [AFL-CIO]. Working with others in industry, academia, and labor, we have used the ESIS initiative to examine, in a series of progressive dialogues, the implications of today’s energy challenges for American economic competitiveness. Two previous ESIS reports, based on the dialogues, underscore the lack of cohesive action in U.S. industry and government, the woeful under-investment in improving U.S. energy efficiency, and the urgent need for bold leadership and decisive action.

Today, the ESIS leadership is releasing an Action Plan for the First 100 Days of the New Administration. It reflects the thinking of a broad-based, multi-sector coalition of industry, labor, and academic leaders, with significant participation from high-level government energy and economics experts.

We will continue this initiative through early next year, holding regional dialogues and releasing additional reports. Next spring, we will issue a complete, comprehensive report.

The Action Plan we release today is a beginning, and allows us to leverage the political capital afforded a new Administration in its first 100 days.

Before I lay out the Action Plan steps, we must understand the broader context. On a worldwide scale, a seismic restructuring of the global energy system is underway:

New energy markets are providing opportunity and options for new players.

New major oil and gas suppliers are changing the terms of reference for traditional energy behemoths.

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