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A Coherent Energy Policy or Bust?


April 25, 2012


Washington, DC

As the list of registered biofuel additives increases, the struggle between wind energy and wildlife intensifies, and hydrofracking sites proliferate, some energy policy experts are asking why the United States has never had a coherent energy policy, encompassing both fossil fuels and renewable sources. Our energy sources are regulated by different laws and policies, seemingly without an overarching directive of how they fit together now or should in thirty or fifty years from now.

Why do we not have a clear energy policy? Michael Graetz, author of The End of Energy, argues that forty years of energy incompetence is the result of consistently looking for a silver bullet, rather than developing policies that would gradually produce the changes we need. He further argues that our environment, security, and independence will continue to unravel unless we incorporate the real cost of the energy we consume. But do we really need an implemented, comprehensive policy? What should such a policy look like and how should it be realized? Can a coherent policy be created without cost internalization? Michael and other distinguished panelists joined us for a discussion on these questions and more.

E. Donald Elliott, Professor (Adjunct) of Law, Yale Law School
Ari G. Altman, Attorney-Adviser, U.S. Department of Energy
Michael J. Graetz , Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Powerpoint presentation
Members click here to access the event recording


This ELI Associate Seminar was made possible by the generous support of our members.