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

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

“When the black day of August 15, 1971 arrived, we free-market economists predicted that shortages of all sorts of products would result from the price control…. On the day of the freeze, everything seem[ed] to be functioning smoothly, and so the general mood [was] one of euphoric success.”

“When Tricky Dick imposed Phase I in August, 1971, price inflation was proceeding at something like a rate of 4% per year. Now, after 4 1/2 ‘phases’ of varying degrees of price dictation, and continued monetary inflation by the government, we are suffering a price inflation rate of something like 10% per year.”

August 15, 1971, was the day that President Richard Nixon shocked the country, and indeed the world, with a price control order. Everything—all goods and services, as well as wages and interest rates—were frozen for 90 days.

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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

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