An analysis of the forces that have shaped energy and energy-related environmental policies is presented through the eyes of an active participant in their evolution over the past 53 years. The problem of self-interest in taking energy and environmental policy positions is addressed candidly. The “energy crisis” is cited as an example. Its credibility depended on excessive demand projections, coupled with erroneous assessments of US and global hydrocarbon resources and of prospects for making these resources economically recoverable through technology advances. Many energy crisis proponents benefited from the misguided government response and from the large investments in uneconomic synthetic fuel technologies. Today, proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, again claiming scientific consensus, threaten to create even greater energy market distortions at large social and economic costs. The author traces his conversion to energy contrarian to the general failure of consensus and to his own misjudgments in these critical policy areas.


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