US President George Bush called for a reduction in US dependence on oil and an increase in the use of nuclear power in his final State of the Union address. But in the battle against climate change, he warned, no nation should expect a "free ride."
The address, traditionally given by the President to the US Congress every January, outlines presidential legislative proposals for the coming year. Although 2008 will be election year in the USA, Bush noted in his opening remarks "we have unfinished business before us, and the American people expect us to get it done."
Part of the unfinished business referred to in the speech centred on energy security. "Our security, our prosperity, and our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil," Bush noted. He went on: "Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power." Other measures highlighted by the President included the funding of new clean coal and carbon capture technologies, and the creation of an international clean technology fund to help developing nations to make greater use of clean energy sources.
Bush also called for "an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases." Such an agreement, he said, could only be effective if it included commitments from every major economy and gave non a free ride. "The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change," he said.
Turning to foreign policy, President Bush sent a message to Iranian leaders to verifiably suspend the country's uranium enrichment activities to clear the way for negotiations. "And to rejoin the community of nations, come clean about your nuclear intentions and past actions," he added.