The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America's Environment, Security, and Independence

The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America's Environment, Security, and Independence


Publication Date



Americans take for granted that when we flip a switch the light will go on, when we turn up the thermostat the room will get warm, and when we pull up to the pump gas will be plentiful and relatively cheap. In The End of Energy, Michael Graetz shows us that we have been living an energy delusion for forty years. Until the 1970s, we produced domestically all the oil we needed to run our power plants, heat our homes, and fuel our cars. Since then, we have had to import most of the oil we use, much of it from the Middle East. And we rely on an even dirtier fuel – coal – to produce half of our electricity.

Graetz describes more than forty years of energy policy incompetence and argues that we must make better decisions for our energy future. Despite thousands of pages of energy legislation since the 1970s (passed by a Congress that tended to elevate narrow parochial interests over our national goals), Americans have never been asked to pay a price that reflects the real cost of the energy they consume. Until Americans face the facts about price, our energy incompetence will continue – and along with it the unraveling of our environment, security, and independence.


Energy and Utilities Law | Environmental Law | Law | Law and Economics | Natural Resources Law | Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law




MIT Press


Cambridge, MA


"The tangled history of energy policy is admirably described in the new book by legal scholar Michael Graetz, The End of Energy... As will be clear, I largely agree with Graetz's conclusion... Graetz's book is a sobering reminder of the shortcomings of our political system. He shows that the ability of the federal government to respond to long-term challenges is very limited when a good policy will impose short-term costs."
William D. Nordhaus, The New York Review of Books

"This book is a must read for all people interested in energy policies and our biosphere. This book should be read, studied and comprehended by as many people as possible."
J. T. Trevors, Environmentalist

"...a compelling case for a radical shift in our approach to energy production that Washington policy makers would do well to study closely."

"A winner – and quite possibly the best and most important book from this outstanding political writer. The End of Energy is a beautifully written book on a fascinating and vital topic. Each chapter offers a gripping story, a history lesson, and a public policy moral. It sounds an alarm that we ignore at our peril: we keep ducking this problem, searching for easy answers (a technological fix) and doing foolish things (low prices). Graetz is out to wake us up."
James Morone, Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies, Brown University, and author of Hellfire Nation

"The End of Energy is a tour de force, carrying the reader through four decades of U.S. energy policymaking. With scholarly care and policy insight, Michael Graetz shows step by step – and misstep by misstep – how we've ended up with greater dependency on fossil fuels than ever despite constant calls for a changed energy path that would cut emissions, reduce the threat of climate change, and end the national security burdens that come with vast quantities of imported oil. This book is a must-read for students, policymakers, business leaders, and anyone interested in the sorry story of U.S. energy policy."
Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University, and co-author of Green to Gold

"The End of Energy is required reading for anyone interested in energy policy. Graetz tells a spellbinding story of how we've gotten to where we are today with our confused collection of federal policies. This book should be on the bookshelf of everyone working on energy policy both in and out of government."
Gilbert E. Metcalf, Professor of Economics, Tufts University


Also available as an eBook through the Columbia University Libraries.

The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America's Environment, Security, and Independence

Find in Library


Find in WorldCat