Sworn in today as President No. 44, Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) will be a main cause for climate change. After the intellectual and moral starvation of the Bush years we can not only expect a real change of climate in EU-US relations (warming up), but we will also finally see the day the US joins the EU in fighting global warming in practical and political terms, hopefully creating the good vibes needed for a success of next year’s Kyoto follow-up in Copenhagen.

All along his campaign speeches and in introducing his energy team in December last year, BHO stressed that he wants to “move beyond our oil addiction and create a new, hybrid economy. The economic recovery package currently taking shape in Congress puts numbers behind that commitment and includes billions of dollars for renewable energy.

This will offer tremendous potential for science cooperation between Europe and the US and for European companies, who are technology leaders in wind, solar, geothermal and the like, but also for cooperation between regions in the EU and the US.

Because interestingly enough, and slightly related to what is said above, BHO and his team are also looking towards Europe to transfer a lesson or two on regional development and metropolitan governance. That I learned today from Veit Haug, who works for Stuttgart Region Development Corporation in Germany, and is one of my members in ERRIN.

He sent me an article from the US magazine “Governing” (November 2008) that quotes Obama from a speech he gave to US Mayors in June last year: “Our children will grow up competing with children in Beijing and Bangalore and Berlin…And make no mistake, their governments are doing everything they can to give their countries an edge by investing in regional growth”, for instance through good metropolitan planning and cluster initiatives, one may want to add.

The article also reports on BHO’s plans to set up a White House Office on Urban Policy and to support regional innovation clusters, inspired by good EU practices.

Follow this link to read the article: governing-1108-stuttgart-article

I would think that forward-looking EU regions should seek to position themselves with the new administration. There are prizes to be won!

P.S. I also recommend the reshaped website cum president blog of the new administation at www.whitehouse.gov. The site has useful policy links, such as on BHO’s plans on urban policy and regional innovation clusters.

The Obama campaign was waged and won to a great part on the Internet employing cutting edge communication technology. This will be the first Internet-enabled Presidency. It will be exciting to follow how they are going to continue to employ the Internet, SMS text messaging and other tools adapted from social network sites.

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