“You’re hitting your head against a stone wall,” his advisors told him. A revolution and hostage taking in Iran destabilized global oil and energy markets. An accident at Three Mile Island halted the nuclear industry’s momentum. Environmentalists demanded electricity from more expensive alternative energy sources. A persistent recession gutted any economic growth. And Jimmy Carter, an engineer trying to resolve America’s energy issues, was exhausted. In looking back on how it felt to deal with these problems, Carter shook his head – “it was like gnawing on a rock.”
America’s trying energy issues during the late 1970s were very similar to ours today. A nuclear accident shocked the industry. Unrest in the Middle East shook confidence in the global oil market, raising concerns about the nations level of energy security. Political rhetoric supported the production of domestic resources for greater energy independence. The president installed a solar system on top of the White House.
Sound familiar? In his book The Quest, Daniel Yergin offers: “It is almost as though a time chasm has closed, compressing the decades and conjoining the late 1970s with the second decade of the twenty-first century” (Yergin, 529).