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A note from the editor on our special energy report

Thursday, September 30, 2010; AA02

Few issues are more critical to Washington, the nation and the world than the choices we make about how we find, create and use energy. President Obama has pledged to end America's worrisome dependence on foreign oil. Leaders in Congress and business hope to focus the nation's entrepreneurial ingenuity on finding more affordable and environmentally friendly ways to heat our homes, run our businesses and power our vehicles.

Last week, Washington Post Live, the division of The Washington Post that brings together experts from government, business, nonprofit organizations and universities, convened "Energy Is Urgent," a forum to debate energy issues. A sampling of the views expressed by members of Congress, energy executives and analysts are printed on AA7.

In this special section, readers will find articles by Post journalists that examine issues as varied as energy efficiency in home appliances and China's soaring investment in wind, solar and other clean energy sources. In our lead stories, two national correspondents who have covered the gulf oil spill since it happened in April, Joel Achenbach and Steven Mufson, take a step back and look at the causes and effects of the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history.

Jon Cohen, The Washington Post's director of polling, conducted a national survey asking Americans their opinions on energy issues, including whether they would seriously consider buying an electric car. The results can be found below on this page.

Video from last week's conference can be found online at http://washingtonpostlive.com. The spirited discussions were thought-provoking, forward-looking and made news headlines. Panelists were from both sides of the Washington political debate, from industry and environmental groups, and even included a Hollywood vampire. Despite their differences, all agreed on a simple fact: Energy requires action now; energy is urgent.

jordanm@washpost.com

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