Abstract

Historical thinking shapes climate and energy policy in the United States, yet few historians participate in these public debates. History guides policy choices, inspires proposals for action, and structures institutional development. Historical myths also valorize a free market in energy, helping to block legislative initiatives. Yet the history of energy transitions, and government's role in energy markets, support forceful governmental action for climate stabilization. Historians must ensure that climate and energy debates reflect a fundamental historical truth: our energy system embodies political power and social values as much as the latest engineering and science.

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