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

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Features

  • Examines elements of the energy policy question as it affects and is affected by the four interrelated institutions that make up the industry
  • Reviews a number of noteworthy energy policies that have emerged at the state and municipal levels
  • Explores the alternative frameworks and policy instruments available to elected and appointed officials in the United States
  • Discusses problems and opportunities facing policy makers in the future

Summary

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction
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 CHALLENGES IN CRAFTING U.S. ENERGY POLICY

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

POLICIES FORENERGY TRANSITION

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

References

Index

Author Bio(s)

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.