From The Christian Science Monitor, Saturday, November 20, 2010:
“Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you,” a somber President Jimmy Carter said gravely into a television camera on an April night in 1977.A series of oil embargoes and OPEC price hikes had hit the nation hard. Gasoline prices had tripled. Auto-dependent Americans had sometimes waited hours in line to buy the gasoline needed to get to work. The president, in an iconic fireside chat — in a beige cardigan — two months earlier had congenially urged Americans to turn thermostats down to 65 degrees F. by day, 55 by night.
But on this night, he ratcheted up his tone: Warning of an imminent “national catastrophe” and scolding Americans for selfish wastefulness, the president declared it time for Americans to curb consumption of oil, which he said had doubled in the 1950s and again in the ’60s — time to end their dependence on imports.
“This difficult effort will be the moral equivalent of war,” he said.
Mr. Carter created the Department of Energy. He called for energy conservation and increased production of coal and solar power. He installed solar panels on the White House.
But his vision — to push America and the world into a new energy era as significant as the shift from wood to coal that fueled the Industrial Revolution — never materialized.
Continue reading: New energy: climate change and sustainability shape a new era