Clean Energy, Energy Conservation, ‘Planetary Destiny’: Richard Nixon 1972

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 8, 2021 2 Comments

“… to a significant extent man commands as well the very destiny of this planet where he lives, and the destiny of all life upon it.”

“In order to have both environmental quality and an improving standard of living, we will need to develop new clean energy sources and to learn to use energy more efficiently.”

– President Richard Nixon (February 8, 1972)

Government grows with emergencies, real or imagined. There have been wartime emergencies, such as World War II. And there have been Malthusian ’emergencies’–as in resource exhaustion in the 1970s and climate change today.

Forty-nine years ago today, amid a natural gas shortage (from long-standing price controls), and with tightening oil markets (from his price controls), President Nixon gave a “Special Message to Congress Outlining the 1972 Environmental Program.”…

Continue Reading

Nixon’s June 1971 ‘Clean Energy’ Speech

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 2, 2023 No Comments

June 4, 1971, message to Congress by President Nixon, “A Program to Insure an Adequate Supply of Clean Energy in the Future.” Nixon would later identify this as “the first message on energy policies ever submitted by an American President.”[1]

[1]Office of the President, Executive Energy Documents (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978), p. 14.

Summarized Alice Buck:

President Richard Nixon presented his original plan for an energy agency in his first energy message to Congress in June 1971. Citing the “brownouts” which had occurred in recent months, the natural gas shortages, increasing fuel prices, and the lack of an integrated national energy policy, the President proposed that all major energy programs be consolidated in a new Department of Natural Resources. Two years later, in June 1973, he again urged Congress to take action on his energy legislation.

Continue Reading

Nixon Price Controls and Exiting Paris: A Bad Analogy (enslaved vs. freed energy)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 13, 2017 1 Comment

“Until last week, Richard Nixon was responsible for the two worst-conceived American energy policies. On June 1, Donald Trump’s announcement of U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords displaced all competitors as the worst presidential initiative on energy in our nation’s history.”

– Hakes, “Quitting the Paris Climate Pact in Historical Perspective” (June 6, 2017)

“Historian Hakes got it exactly backwards. President Nixon violated economic law by imposing federal pricing on energy; President Trump removed an impetus to federal pricing for carbon-dioxide (CO2). Only if Trump had stayed in Paris would the Nixon analogy come into play.”

His bio line at Real Clear Energy reads: Jay Hakes is an energy historian who has worked for three presidents on energy issues. Experience aside, Mr. Hakes made just about the worst analogy possible regarding Donald Trump’s courageous decision to withdraw the United States from the redistributionist, toothless, ill-conceived Paris climate agreement.…

Continue Reading

Remembering the Birth of Conservationism (Part I: President Nixon's price controls, not Arab OPEC, produced energy crisis, demand-side politicization)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 2, 2011 3 Comments

[Editor note: Part II on energy conservationism tomorrow examines the energy conservation faddism of Amory Lovins.]

Richard Nixon (1913–94) got on the wrong side of economic law three years before his Watergate-related resignation from the U.S. presidency. In August 1971, in a surprise decision, Nixon imposed the first peacetime wage-and-price controls in American history.

Businessmen reined in their surprise to pragmatically offer support. John Kenneth Galbraith and Paul Samuelson offered quick congratulations. There was public approval of the ‘temporary’ action that was intended to just quell inflationary expectations (as if the problem was psychological and not the inherent consequence of expansionary money). The inflation rate was then running at about 4 percent per year.

Free-market economist Milton Friedman, knowing that shortages lay ahead, lambasted the move. So did Ayn Rand in the Ayn Rand Letter.…

Continue Reading

“The Techno-Optimist Manifesto” (Marc Andreessen in the energy debate)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 20, 2023 1 Comment Continue Reading

Ayn Rand on Energy Disruption (Arab Embargo Turns 50)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 18, 2023 No Comments Continue Reading

“Energy Facism” (Rothbard 1974 speaks to us today)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 16, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

PUCT Leaders in Denial: Erasing Renewables from Blackout Causality

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 10, 2021 1 Comment Continue Reading

Biden’s “Existential Threat” Climate Speech (January 27, 2021)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 19, 2021 2 Comments Continue Reading

President’s Day: Best and Worst, Energy-wise

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 15, 2021 2 Comments Continue Reading