THE CRISIS IN ENERGY POLICY

THE CRISIS IN ENERGY POLICY

John M. Deutch
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hhgt
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  • Book Info
    THE CRISIS IN ENERGY POLICY
    Book Description:

    With an extraordinary mix of technical, scholarly, corporate, and governmental expertise, John Deutch offers an eye-opening history of the muddled practices that have passed for energy policy over the past thirty years, and a cogent account of what we can learn from so many breakdowns of strategy and execution.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06292-4
    Subjects: Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    There are many pressing challenges facing the United States and other nations—economic growth, health, poverty, education, and energy. The energy challenge is how best to satisfy reasonable demand with secure, affordable sources of supply, without unduly harming the environment.

    Despite recurrent energy crises and multiple calls for action, the United States fails to adopt consistent domestic energy policies and lags in taking a leadership role in international energy issues. Why this failure? What are the limitations in the way the U.S. government works that inhibit progress? What could the government do to work better?

    My purpose is to answer...

  5. 1 THE FAILURE OF U.S. ENERGY POLICY
    (pp. 7-28)

    In this chapter I briefly review the emergence of energy as an issue for the United States in the 1970s. I identify four fundamental reasons why the U.S. government has been unable to formulate and sustain an effective energy policy: (1) the adoption of popular but unrealistic goals, (2) public attitudes and underlying moral dilemmas, (3) the complication of competing domestic and international considerations, and (4) the absence of quantitative analysis in planning, policymaking, and administration of government programs. I conclude by contrasting the approaches to energy policymaking of Presidents Carter and Obama, two leaders genuinely committed to ensuring the...

  6. 2 ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
    (pp. 29-59)

    In the past decade climate change has become perhaps the most important and contentious energy issue. Continuous anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) increases the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere.¹ The increase in concentration, in turn, increases global temperatures, which affects climate in a manner that leads to adverse effects on the environment and economic and social activity.

    There are three different approaches for avoiding these adverse effects: (1) reducing global emissions, (2) learning to adapt to the changes in climate, or (3) taking active measures to counteract the warming trend. For the past two decades, international effort...

  7. 3 ENERGY SECURITY
    (pp. 60-78)

    Energy security refers to the connection between energy markets and national security in production, transmission, and use of energy. The energy security landscape has two dimensions: one economic and the other political/military, with a contour that depends upon the particular energy source under consideration.

    For coal the security challenge is to reduce risk of climate change and control the emissions of CO2; here national economic interests intersect with global geopolitical issues. For nuclear power, the challenge is to reduce the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons associated with the nuclear materials in the fuel cycle; here the political/military dimension dominates....

  8. 4 BIOMASS, SOLAR, AND NUCLEAR ENERGY, WITH AN ASIDE ON NATURAL GAS
    (pp. 79-109)

    One of the major energy challenges facing the country is the transition from an economy based on fossil fuels to an economy based on nuclear and renewable energy sources. The transition is necessary in order to avoid the environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels, to mitigate progressively higher costs anticipated for oil and gas as lower-cost resources are exhausted, and to address security concerns that accompany dependence on oil and gas imports.

    The ideal energy technology is cheap, plentiful, and environmentally friendly and job creating. But good intentions are not sufficient for a new technology to succeed. It is unlikely...

  9. 5 MANAGING ENERGY TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION
    (pp. 110-133)

    Federal government support of innovation—of both the creation and the demonstration of technology—encourages private investors to adopt new technology. In this chapter I review the success of the Department of Energy (DOE) in advancing technology for the energy sector. I argue that the DOE and it predecessor agencies have had better success in the early stages of innovation (sponsoring R&D to create new technology options) than in the later stage of innovation (demonstrating technologies with the objective of encouraging adoption by the private sector). The DOE does not have the expertise, policy instruments, or contracting flexibility to manage...

  10. 6 RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 134-148)

    Given the importance of energy policy for the future welfare of Americans and others, and the lack of a reasonable policy over the past three decades, the question is what to do and how to do it.

    Perhaps nothing can be done. Energy issues are so complex and involve so many conflicting interests that the U.S. political system may be incapable of finding a workable compromise that retains substance sufficient to make progress toward solving key issues. The linkage of domestic and international aspects, the tendency of political leaders to express idealistic goals rather than do the hard work of...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 151-172)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 173-182)