Energy policy has been profoundly influenced by the 'oil shocks' of the 1970s and the national energy crises that followed. There are increasing fears that a similar but potentially more severe and longer-lasting shock may occur if global oil production goes into decline. However, while adequate security in fuel supply is vital, the extent and nature of threats to security has frequently been misjudged and even misrepresented. The need for energy security or 'energy independence' is often talked up for purposes of special pleading in favour of expensive or otherwise unattractive technology or policy options. Energy security has risen and fallen on national and international political agendas and may do so again. Climate change, however, is an issue that will not go away and will set the context for energy policy for decades to come.
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