Now whether or not one classifies America's oil dependence as an addiction, the bottom line is that with less than 5 percent of the world's population, the United States consumes 25 percent of its oil. If oil prices remain at $60 a barrel throughout 2006, we will spend, that is, the United States, about 4320 billion on oil imports this year.
Most of the world's oil is concentrated in places that are either hostile to American interests or vulnerable to political upheaval and terrorism, and demand for oil will increase far more rapidly than we expected just a few years ago. Within 25 years, the world will need 50 percent more energy than it does now.
With these basics in mind, my message is that the balance of realism has passed from those who argue on behalf of oil and a laissez faire energy policy that relies on market evolution, to those who recognize that in the absence of a major reorientation in the way we get our energy, life in America is going to be much more difficult in the coming decades. No one who cares about United States foreign policy, national security, and long-term economic growth can afford to ignore what is happening in Iran, Russia, Venezuela, or in the lobby of the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. No one who is honestly assessing the decline of American leverage around the world, due to our energy dependence, can fail to see that energy is the albatross of U.S. national security.
We have entered a different energy era that requires a much different response than in past decades. What is needed is an urgent national campaign, led by a succession of presidents and Congresses, who will ensure that American ingenuity and resources are fully committed to this problem.
On March 13, Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will inaugurate The Brookings Institution's 90th Anniversary Leadership Forum series with an address on energy security. With growing dependence on energy imports and dramatically increased revenues flowing into oil-producing nations, energy is changing the world's geopolitical landscape.
Senator Lugar will discuss the new challenges this presents for our national security; our relationship with countries such as China, India and Russia; and the consequences of U.S. energy dependence on living standards, the environment and global security. He will offer a new framework for addressing these issues, calling for comprehensive action at home and urging cooperation, rather than competition, abroad.
A question and answer session will follow remarks.