Energy Policy for the Twenty-first Century

(Adopted by Council on November 19, 2000)

On May 6, 1996, as part of its "Statement on Energy: The Forgotten Crisis," the American Physical Society cautioned, "Our nation's complacency about the energy problem is dangerous. While the understandable result of currently abundant supplies of energy at low prices, such complacency is short-sighted and risky."

Since 1996, demand for oil and natural gas has continued to grow with the expansion and globalization of the world's economy. In addition, our nation's dependence on imported energy has increased, and the effects of burning fossil fuels on the global environment are becoming a major concern. The Council of the American Physical Society believes that the use of renewable energy sources, the adoption of new ways of producing and using fossil fuels, increased consideration of safe and cost effective uses of nuclear power, and the introduction of energy-efficient technologies can, over time, promote the United States' energy security and reduce stress on the world's environment.

Therefore, the Council of the American Physical Society urges the Administration and Congress to make a significant increase in Federal investment in energy research and pre-commercial development. Further, we urge the adoption of policies that promote efficiency and innovation throughout the energy system, including conservation and the development of alternatives to fossil fuels.

The United States will remain dependent on imported energy for the foreseeable future. Investment in a broad portfolio of energy research is essential for providing the options that will allow us to effectively manage this dependence. Our national security, the preservation of our environment and our standard of living are all at stake.