Is energy independence in reach for the U.S.?

By on July 14, 2012

Joseph Nye observes that nearly 40 years after President Nixon made energy independence a national priority, the US could be just a decade away from being “energy independent in the sense that it will export more energy than it imports.”

“What happened? The technology of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing…has released major new supplies of both natural gas and oil… The US is estimated to have enough gas to sustain its current rate of production for more than a century… The American economy will benefit in myriad ways from its change in energy supply. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are already being created, some in remote, previously stagnating regions. This additional economic activity will boost overall GDP growth, yielding significant new fiscal revenues. In addition, the lower energy-import bill will cause America’s trade deficit to narrow and its balance-of-payments position to improve. Some US industries, such as chemicals and plastics, will gain a significant comparative advantage in production costs.”

“At the same time, America’s bargaining position in world politics should be enhanced. Power arises from asymmetries in interdependence. You and I may depend on each other, but if I depend on you less than you do on me, my bargaining power is increased.”

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