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Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For the 21st Century



Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

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Suggested Citation:
Morse, Edward L. and Amy Myers Jaffe (2001) Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For the 21st Century . James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy

For many decades the United States has not had a comprehensive energy policy. Now, the consequences of this complacency have revealed themselves in California. Now, there could be more California-like situations in America’s future. President George W. Bush and his administration need to tell these agonizing truths to the American people and lay the basis for comprehensive, long-term U.S. energy security policy.

That Americans face long-term situations such as frequent sporadic shortages of energy, energy price volatility, and higher energy prices is not the fault of President Bush. The failure to fashion a workable energy policy rests at the feet of both Democrats and Republicans. Both major political parties allowed energy policy to drift despite its centrality to America’s domestic economy and to nation security. Energy policy was permitted to drift even though oil price spikes proceeded virtually every American recession since the late 1940s. The American people must know about this situation and be told as well that there are no easy or quick solutions to today’s energy problems. The president has to begin education the public about this reality and start building a broad base of popular support for the hard policy choices ahead.

This executive summary and the full report address the following questions. What are the potential effects of the critical energy situation for the United States? How did this critical energy situation arise? What are the U.S. policy options to deal with the energy situation? What should the United States do now?