Washington - President Barack Obama on Monday signalled the United States would take on a new leading role in confronting climate change and weaning the country off its dependence on foreign oil.
Obama signalled a clean break in climate and energy policy from the administration of former president George W Bush, which was criticized for playing down the dangers of climate change.
Obama said "sound science" would come ahead of "rigid ideology" and promised to address the energy debate that has confounded US presidents since the oil crisis of the 1970s.
"America has arrived at a crossroads," Obama said at the White House, where he signed two new executive orders seeking better fuel- efficiency for US cars and freeing US states to adopt more aggressive standards on their own.
Obama warned that climate change and the US dependence on foreign energy sources were "urgent dangers to our national and economic security" and said the US was prepared to take a leading global role in reducing global warming.
"We must call together a truly global coalition" to address climate change, Obama said. (dpa)