Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse - Energy transitions, then and now: The 50th anniversary of the OPEC oil crisis

Sheldon Whitehouse

Friday, October 20, 2023

2:00pm – 3:00pm

True North Classroom, Stephen Robert '62 Hall, 280 Brook St

How do energy transitions unfold? On October 19, 1973, following President Nixon’s request for Congress to make available $2.2 billion in emergency aid to Israel for the conflict known as the Yom Kippur War, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) instituted an oil embargo on the United States, later called the OPEC crisis. By January 1974 the price of oil had quadrupled. The economic and geopolitical consequences were profound and far reaching. Energy conservation and efficiency measures were hastily implemented, alternative energy sources - including renewables - sought, and some but not all oil-importing countries changed their primary energy sources. Climate change today compels us to consider some of the lessons from an incomplete energy transition that began 50 years ago. 

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will be in conversation with Professor Jeff Colgan to discuss the legacy of the '73 oil shock and the lessons for today.

A longstanding proponent of climate action, Senator Whitehouse is a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and cofounder of the Senate Climate Action Task Force.