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One chilly night, the president lowered the White House thermostat, put on a cardigan, and gave the American people a stern talking-to. We enjoyed too much abundance for too long and it was time to pay for our profligacy.
“The oil and natural gas that we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are simply running out,” Jimmy Carter said in 1977. “We could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.” The only way to prevent catastrophe was “strict conservation” and a willingness to “make sacrifices.”