Presidential energy pledges: We've heard them before

Presidents have made promises about energy for almost 35 years.

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In 1973, the world economy was thrown into a recession after the Arab OPEC nations cut off oil supplies to nations that supported Israel.

Two years later, President Gerald Ford promised the nation that he had a plan to make the nation "invulnerable" to cutoffs of foreign oil.

"It will require sacrifice, but – and this is most important – it will work," Mr. Ford said.

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Sound familiar?

For almost 35 years, presidents have made promises about energy or greenhouse gases. All have had plans to make the United States secure from future oil shocks. And almost every president has called on Americans to make sacrifices.

"You come away with the view the presidents had high aspirations and low results," says Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project at the University of Colorado, Denver.

"We've seen an interest in energy efficiency come and go for 30 years," he says.

Here are some presidential statements and promises over that period of time:

1974 – Richard Nixon: "Let this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving."

1975 – Gerald Ford: "Increasing energy supplies is not enough. We must take additional steps to cut long-term consumption."

1977 – Jimmy Carter: "These are the goals we set for 1985: Cut in half the portion of the United States oil which is imported from a potential level of 16 million barrels to 6 million barrels per day."

1982 – Ronald Reagan: "We will ensure that our people and our economy are never again held hostage by the whim of any country or cartel."

1989 – George H.W. Bush: "We know now that protecting the environment is a global issue. ... And I promise you this: This nation, the United States of America, will take the lead internationally."

1993 – Bill Clinton: "On Earth Day I made a commitment to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000. ... In concert with all other nations we simply must halt global warming."

2001 – George W. Bush: "Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years."

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