1st Edition

Energy Policy in the U.S. Politics, Challenges, and Prospects for Change

By Laurance R. Geri, David E. McNabb Copyright 2011
    328 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In an effort to provide greater awareness of the necessary policy decisions facing our elected and appointed officials, Energy Policy in the U.S.: Politics, Challenges, and Prospects for Change presents an overview of important energy policies and the policy process in the United States, including their history, goals, methods of action, and consequences.

    In the first half of the book, the authors frame the energy policy issue by reviewing U.S. energy policy history, identifying the policy-making players, and illuminating the costs, benefits, and economic and political realities of currently competing policy alternatives. The book examines the stakeholders and their attempts to influence energy policy and addresses the role of supply and demand on the national commitment to energy conservation and the development of alternative energy sources.

    The latter half of the book delves into specific energy policy strategies, including economic and regulatory options, and factors that influence energy policies, such as the importance of international cooperation. Renewed interest in various renewable and nontraditional energy resources—for example, hydrogen, nuclear fusion, biomass, and tide motion—is examined, and policy agendas are explored in view of scientific, economic, regulatory, production, and environmental constraints. This book provides excellent insight into the complex task of creating a comprehensive energy policy and its importance in the continued availability of energy to power our way of life and economy while protecting our environment and national security.

    What Is Energy?
    Structure of the Energy Industry
    Stakeholders in the Energy Policy Network
    What Actions Should We Take?
    Purpose for the Book
    Why an Energy Policy Is Important


    The Political Realities of Energy Policy
    Demystifying Energy Policy
    An Example: Coal, from Mine to Furnace
    Understanding the Scale of Energy
    The Function of Energy Policy
    Why Does the United States Use so Much Energy?
    The U.S. Energy Sector
    Energy in Commerce and Industry
    Energy and the Consumer
    Energy and Agriculture
    Conclusion: Energy out of Balance

    Energy Policy in Transition
    Early Climate Research
    Forecasts, Energy, and Creating the Future
    Confusion over Peak Oil
    Transitioning from Peak Production
    Climate Change: Challenges and Policy Goals
    The Challenge; the Response
    Thinking in Wedges
    The Stern Review and Its Aftermath
    The Social Cost of Carbon
    The Carbon Price Debate
    Arcane Issues with Global Ramifications
    Conclusion: Climate Implications for Energy Policy

    The Art and Science of Crafting Public Policy
    Policy Making in Action
    The Evolution of U.S. Political Culture
    Congress and Its Influence on Policy
    Pluralism, Elites, Triangles, and Networks
    Shifting Models of Government Power
    The System: Weakened, but Still Functioning—for Now
    Framing the Energy Policy Issue
    Needed: A New Way of Thinking about Policy
    The U.S. Policy Space: Today and the Near Tomorrow
    Conclusion: A Rough Terrain Ahead

    The Long Search for a Sustainable Energy Policy
    The History of U.S. Energy Policy since 1945
    1945 to 1970: Managing an Energy Surplus
    1971 to 1980: Coping with Energy Shortages
    1981 to 1990: Deregulating the Industry
    1991 to 1999: Calls for a Comprehensive Energy Policy
    2000 to 2002: Linking Energy and National Security
    2003 to 2007: A Comprehensive Energy Policy Finally Emerges
    2008 to 2009: A Renewed Call for Energy Independence
    2010 and Beyond: Energy Efficiency, Conservation, and the Environment

    Difficulties in Achieving a Balanced Energy Policy
    Why Intervene in Energy?
    Multiple Stakeholders
    Stakeholders in Forming Energy Policy
    The Energy Scope Challenge
    Widely Different Perspectives
    Ambiguous and Conflicting Policy Goals
    The Nature of Energy Policy Interventions
    Complex and Unwieldy Interventions
    Need to Rethink Energy Subsidies
    Can We Afford All Planned Energy Programs?
    The Innovators: States, Regions, Compacts
    Environmental Policy, Energy Policy, and Politics II
    Conclusion: A Complex, Interrelated Energy Policy Result

    What’s on the Current Energy Policy Agenda?
    Climate Change and the U.S. Economy
    The Future Role of Nuclear Energy
    Concern about Our Reliance on Imported Oil
    Issues to Address Immediately
    Renewables and Conservation Policy Issues
    Tackling the Major Agenda Issues
    Access to Federal Lands
    Is Carbon Capture and Storage Viable?
    Failure to Produce a Global Climate Treaty
    What’s on the Periphery of the Energy Agenda?
    Conclusion: Sorting out the Energy Agenda


    Crafting Policy with Subsidies and Regulations
    The Nature of Government Interventions
    The Importance of Subsidies
    Tax Expenditure Interventions
    Problems Financing Renewable Energy Projects
    Energy Research and Development
    A Major Presidential Theme
    The DOE’s Spotty Record of Success
    Federal Regulation of the Energy Sector
    Appliance Efficiency Standards and Energy Star
    Energy Interventions for Households: LIHEAP
    Conclusion: The U.S. Energy Policy Blunderbuss

    Policies Shaped by Taxes and Market Mechanisms
    Federal Energy Fees and Taxes
    The Carbon Challenge
    Carbon Tax vs. Cap and Trade
    Renewable Portfolio Standards
    Feed-in Tariffs
    Conclusion: Role of Interventions in Energy Policy

    International Cooperation on Energy Policy
    Global Energy: Sources, Consumption, Inequities
    States, Realists, and Idealists
    Regimes and Global Environmental and Energy Governance
    Global Energy Regimes and Regional Energy Institutions
    International Influences on U.S. Energy Policy
    Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Energy Working Group
    North American Energy Working Group
    International Energy Forum
    Other International Energy Organizations
    Global Cooperation on Greenhouse Gas Reduction
    Cooperating on Cap and Trade Agreements
    Reducing Carbon Emissions: REDD and Carbon Sinks
    Evaluating Carbon Offset Programs
    The Verdict on Kyoto
    The Copenhagen Accord
    Challenges to Global Action on Climate
    Conclusion: Influences of Global Cooperation on U.S. Energy Policy

    Policies for a New Energy Future
    The Energy Options Portfolio
    Carbon Taxes on Fossil Fuels
    The Challenges Facing Policy Makers
    Making the Tough Choices
    Greenhouse Gas Leakage Problem
    What Are Sensible Policy Criteria?
    Conclusion: The Recurring Issue of Local Control

    Aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill: Prospects for Policy Changes
    Policy Failure and the Gulf Oil Spill
    Problems Regulating the Energy Industry
    Citizen Reaction
    Conclusion: Get Started, Get Involved, Be Heard

    Appendix A: Chapter Discussion and Review Questions
    Appendix B: Timeline of Energy Policy Developments, 1950–2010
    Appendix C: Energy-Related Acronyms
    Appendix D: Glossary




    David E. McNabb is emeritus professor of business administration at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington and former visiting professor at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia.

    Laurance R. Geri teaches in the Masters Program in Public Administration (MPA) at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he was director of the MPA program from 2002 to 2006.