Energy: the Forgotten Crisis

(Adopted by Council on May 06, 1996)

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. Low-cost oil resources outside the Persian Gulf region are rapidly being depleted, increasing the likelihood of sudden disruptions in supply. Energy-related urban air pollution has become a world-wide threat to human health. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and aerosols are climbing; this will cause changes in temperature, precipitation, sea level, and weather patterns that may damage both human and natural systems.

The introduction of non-fossil-fuel energy sources, new ways of producing and using fossil fuels, and myriad energy-efficient technologies have helped to improve our energy security and to reduce environmental stress. In an era of growing global energy demand, such innovations must continue.

The Council of the American Physical Society urges continued and diversified investments in energy research and development, as well as policies that promote efficiency and innovation throughout the energy system. Such investments and policies are essential to ensure an adequate range of options in the decades ahead. Our national security, our environmental well-being, and our standard of living are at stake.