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Acting in Time on Energy Policy

Acting in Time on Energy Policy

Kelly Sims Gallagher editor
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 194
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  • Book Info
    Acting in Time on Energy Policy
    Book Description:

    Energy policy is on everyone's mind these days. The U.S. presidential campaign focused on energy independence and exploration ("Drill, baby, drill!"), climate change, alternative fuels, even nuclear energy. But there is a serious problem endemic to America's energy challenges. Policymakers tend to do just enough to satisfy political demands but not enough to solve the real problems, and they wait too long to act. The resulting policies are overly reactive, enacted once damage is already done, and they are too often incomplete, incoherent, and ineffectual. Given the gravity of current economic, geopolitical, and environmental concerns, this is more unacceptable than ever. This important volume details this problem, making clear the unfortunate results of such short-sighted thinking, and it proposes measures to overcome this counterproductive tendency.

    All of the contributors toActing in Time on Energy Policyare affiliated with Harvard University and rank among America's pre-eminent energy policy analysts. They tackle important questions as they pertain to specific areas of energy policy: Why are these components of energy policy so important? How would "acting in time" -i.e. not waiting until politics demands action -make a difference? What should our policy actually be? We need to get energy policy right this time -Gallagher and her colleagues help lead the way.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0367-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xii)
    David T. Ellwood

    The question of whether we can “act in time” on energy and climate change poses one of the most profound challenges facing the world today. No human activity, other than the wide-scale use of nuclear weapons, has greater potential to reshape and harm our planet and our species than the rapidly expanding generation of greenhouse gases. What is so frustrating about the issue is that even though the dangers are widely accepted in the scientific community, and even though failing to act in time could set off a chain of events that would be all but irreversible, action to date...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. one Acting in Time on Energy Policy
    (pp. 1-11)
    Kelly Sims Gallagher

    This book clarifies the urgent priorities for U.S. energy policy at the dawn of the Obama administration and recommends specific steps that the U.S. government should take to address the numerous energy-related challenges facing the United States. Government must play a prominent role to ensure that adequate supplies of various forms of energy are available to enable and sustain U.S. economic growth, boost the competitiveness of U.S. firms in the global energy marketplace, counter the extreme volatility in oil prices of the past few years, limit the political and economic vulnerabilities associated with dependence on oil and natural gas, adequately...

  6. two Acting in Time on Climate Change
    (pp. 12-38)
    Kelly Sims Gallagher

    In 2008 Arctic sea ice melted at a record rate, and 1,100 daily precipitation records were broken throughout the Midwest in the month of June alone. In 2007 global temperatures were the fifth warmest since 1880. Six of the ten warmest years on record for the United States have occurred since 1998. These unusual events, and others, have created renewed concern about the threat of global climate disruption. The United States urgently needs a coherent climate policy.

    Despite the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 and innumerable efforts around the world to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,...

  7. three Making Carbon Capture and Storage Work
    (pp. 39-55)
    Daniel P. Schrag

    President Obama faces an old challenge of creating a national energy policy. That policy will be designed with multiple objectives in mind. After a year of record oil prices that added to U.S. economic troubles, some want an energy policy that will maintain lower energy prices. With nearly 150,000 troops still in Iraq and tensions raised with Russia over the Georgian invasion, some want an energy policy that will reduce American dependence on fossil fuel imports from these and other geopolitically sensitive regions. And with atmospheric carbon dioxide now more than 385 parts per million and rising, some want an...

  8. four Oil Security and the Transportation Sector
    (pp. 56-88)
    Henry Lee

    In the aftermath of the Iraq war, the emergence of China as an economic power, and a summer of $4.00 a gallon gasoline, oil security reemerged in 2008 as a major policy issue. Calls for energy independence, increased investments in U.S. oil supplies, and government interventions to reduce demand and promote renewable energy alternatives echoed through the halls of Congress and from the rostrums of candidates for elected office. By fall, however, oil was in free fall, having dropped by $80 per barrel between August and mid-November. While the urgency surrounding the oil security issue dissipated with the price, many...

  9. five Policy for Energy Technology Innovation
    (pp. 89-127)
    Laura Diaz Anadon and John P. Holdren

    The United States and the world face pressing economic, environmental, and security challenges arising from the energy sector, paramount among them providing the increased quantities of affordable energy needed to meet economic aspirations, limiting the political and economic vulnerabilities of heavy dependence on oil, and reducing the risk of unmanageable disruption of global climate by emissions of carbon dioxide from all fossil fuel burning. Improving the technologies of energy supply and end use is a prerequisite for surmounting these challenges in a timely and cost-effective way.

    The United States ought to be the leader of the world in the energy...

  10. six Electricity Market Structure and Infrastructure
    (pp. 128-161)
    William W. Hogan

    Infrastructure investment is a common focus of energy policies proposed for the United States. Initiatives to improve energy security, meet growing demand, or address climate change and transform the structure of energy systems all anticipate major infrastructure investment. Long lead times and critical mass requirements for these investments present chicken-and-egg dilemmas. Without the necessary infrastructure investment, energy policy cannot take effect. And without sound policy, the right infrastructure will not appear. Acting in time to provide workable policies for infrastructure investment requires a framework for decisionmaking that identifies who decides and how choices should be made.

    Infrastructure investment for the...

  11. seven Barriers to Acting in Time on Energy and Strategies for Overcoming Them
    (pp. 162-182)
    Max H. Bazerman

    The preceding chapters in this volume offer many excellent ideas on climate change; oil, transportation, and electricity policies; carbon capture and storage; and the generation of innovative energy solutions. Collectively, these papers provide the new presidential administration with a wide array of excellent policy suggestions. I will not add to this list or critique those that have been offered. Rather, I begin with the assumption that we have identified a useful, scientifically supportable agenda for changes in our energy policies. My goal is to describe the likely barriers to enacting these wise policies and present strategies for overcoming these barriers....

  12. Contributors
    (pp. 183-186)
  13. Index
    (pp. 187-194)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 195-195)