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.” Substitute ‘climate’ for ‘energy’ and a half-century of time comes together.

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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.

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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.

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

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

MasterResource memorialized many of President Trump’s energy and climate speeches. Similarly, we will document major addresses by President Biden on the same subject. The policy activism outlined in Biden’s address below rivals that of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter in the annals of “crisis” legislating.

“Today is ‘Climate Day’ at the White House and — which means that today is ‘Jobs Day’ at the White House.  We’re talking about American innovation … the health of our families and cleaner water, cleaner air, and cleaner communities … national security and America leading the world in a clean energy future.”

“The first [executive] order I’m signing is tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad.”

– “Remarks by President Biden Before Signing Executive Actions on Tackling Climate Change, Creating Jobs, and Restoring Scientific Integrity” (January 27, 2021)

Good afternoon, everybody.  I know the press has just had a long session with — with the team here about what I’m going to be talking about today and this afternoon. 

And let me just start by saying, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the three people standing next to me here for what they’ve agreed to do to help, particularly my best buddy, John Kerry….

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

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

Ayn Rand on Energy Disruption (1970s message to Bernie and Bloomberg)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 12, 2020 2 Comments Continue Reading

Sixty Minutes on the Kiddie Climate Lawsuit: Hypocrisy Squared

By Robert Endlich -- March 18, 2019 7 Comments Continue Reading

Glenn Schleede: Some Tributes (A long energy career that history will judge sustainable)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 23, 2017 5 Comments Continue Reading

“The Energy Crisis of the 1970s: Looking Back, Looking Ahead” (Econ 101 needed at RFF seminar)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 4, 2016 7 Comments Continue Reading

When Romm Blamed Reagan for “this energy mess” (Jimmy Carter lives!)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 12, 2016 No Comments Continue Reading