We need a lightbulb moment on climate change. I do not mean a sudden realisation that something must be done. President Obama is clear that the Paris summit already demonstrates a sense of urgency about the need to protect our planet. I mean instead we should draw our inspiration for action from our shared history, as illuminated by the story of the incandescent bulb.
Ask people who invented the lightbulb and most would say the American, Thomas Edison. In fact it was a Briton, Joseph Swan, who demonstrated his first in Newcastle in 1878. The two men fought for a while over patents, and then came together, joining forces to create the Ediswan Company to light up our homes. This is a powerful story of co-invention and entrepreneurship, another leaf in the pages of the special relationship between our two nations. It demonstrates the best of our shared ethos to make progress and improve people’s lives.