Publications: Notes at the Margin

Unachievable: Cosseting the Consumer Blocks Energy and Environmental Progress (July 19, 2021)


On November 7, 1973, President Richard Nixon warned American citizens of the shortages and disruptions expected from the crude oil embargo imposed on the United States by Middle East exporters. In his speech and the materials sent to Congress the next day, Nixon asked Americans to drive slower, turn down their thermostats, and take other steps to reduce energy use. He also offered them hope in the form of “Project Independence,” his plan to free the US from exposure to the international energy market.


However, the Nixon administration failed to take the one step that would have accelerated the end of our reliance on energy imports: it did not propose to raise prices.


Forty-seven years, nine months, and seven days after President Nixon’s Project Independence speech, the leaders of the European Union announced their latest policy to address global warming. Titled “Fit for 55,” the measures proposed would reduce the EU’s emissions of global warming gases by fifty-five percent if the calculations are correct.


The EU also did not propose to raise prices. This is not a good sign.


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