The United States’ dependence on foreign oil endangers its security and economy, President, Barack Obama has said.

“We all know the price we pay as a country as a result of how we produce and use - and, yes, waste - energy today. We have been talking about it for decades - since the gas shortages of the 1970s. Our dependence on foreign oil endangers our security and our economy,” Mr. Obama said in his speech on the economy in California.

He said that climate change poses a threat to the U.S. way of life.

“In fact, we are already beginning to see its profound and costly impact. And the spill in the Gulf, which is just heartbreaking, only underscores the necessity of seeking alternative fuel sources.

“We are not going to transition out of oil next year or 10 years from now. But think about it, part of what’s happening in the Gulf is that oil companies are drilling a mile underwater before they hit ground, and then a mile below that before they hit oil,” Mr. Obama said.

“With the increased risks, the increased costs, it gives you a sense of where we are going. We are not going to be able to sustain this kind of fossil fuel use. This planet cannot sustain it. Think about when China and India - where consumers there are starting to buy cars and use energy the way we are. So we have known that we have had to shift in a fundamental way, and that’s true for all of us,” he said.

“We have got to remember that the risks our current dependence on oil holds for our environment and our coastal communities is not the only cost involved in our dependence on these fossil fuels. Around the world, from China to Germany, our competitors are waging a historic effort to lead in developing new energy technologies,” Mr. Obama said.

“There are factories like this being built in China, factories like this being built in Germany. Nobody is playing for second place. These countries recognize that the nation that leads the clean energy economy is likely to lead the global economy. And if we fail to recognize that same imperative, we risk falling behind. We risk falling behind,” he argued.

Mr. Obama said that 15 years ago, the U.S. produced 40 per cent of the world’s solar panels but by 2008, the U.S.’ share had fallen to just over 5 per cent.

“I don’t know about you, but I am not prepared to cede American leadership in this industry, because I am not prepared to cede U.S. leadership in the global economy,” he asserted.

More In: News | International