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America’s Energy Future: How Can We Take Charge? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The National Issues Forums Institute published the Issue Guide, America’s Energy Future: How Can We Take Charge?, in January 2015. This Issue Guide puts forth three options for deliberation of how America can address its energy consumption and how to deal with it in the future.   

NIFI_USenergyFrom the guide…

Americans depend on easy access to energy. Most of us take it for granted that we will be able to light up a room with the flick of a switch, adjust the temperature of our homes at will, and climb into our cars every morning to go to work, often at distant sites.

We use more energy than any other country. Americans make up only 4.5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume about 20 percent of the world’s energy production. Collectively, we drive more, heat more, air condition more, and plug in more electronic devices than anyone else. We use 22 percent of the oil consumed in the world each day.

Worldwide energy use is on the upswing as well, and is projected to keep increasing, as rapidly developing countries, such as China, India, and Brazil, become bigger players in the worldwide market for energy supplies, especially oil. And— sooner or later—the world’s available supply of oil will run out.

The Issue Guide presents three options for deliberation:

Option One: “Produce the Energy We Need to Maintain Our Way of Life”
We need to control our own sources of energy so that we do not have to depend on other, possibly unfriendly, countries for our supplies. We have abundant sources of energy in this country and off its shores. We should develop and use them.

Option Two: “Put More Renewables and Clean Energy Sources into the Mix”
Not only is our lavish use of fossil fuels causing untold damage to the environment, but someday we will run out of oil, coal, and natural gas. We need to make the switch to renewable sources of energy, such as wind and sun, as soon as possible.

Option Three: “Find Ways to Use Less Energy”
The most practical way to deal with our current energy problems in not to produce more energy but to use less of it, and to do more with the energy we do use. This will involve both stricter government regulations and changes in our individual lifestyles.

More about the NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Issue Guides are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). All NIFI Issue Guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guides.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums.

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/americas-energy-future

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