The United States must confront the reality of its energy circumstances. Consumers and industry are facing the prospect of a continued rise in the real price of oil and natural gas as conventional reserves are depleted. The increased reliance of the United States and its partners on imported oil—a large proportion of which comes from the hostile and politically fragile Persian Gulf—is constraining the nation’s pursuit of important foreign policy objectives. At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity-generation plants, are contributing to dangerous global climate change. In the absence of an aggressive U.S. carbon-emission control policy, there in no possibility of an international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions that includes both developed countries and rapidly emerging ones such as China and India.
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