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Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy and Law

First Advisor

Adrienne Fulco


In little more than two centuries the United States has transformed itself from a fledgling nation built on an agrarian economy to the strongest industrial power the world has ever seen. One of the major reasons why the country was able to undergo such a change so rapidly was the high availability of cheap energy. This energy was almost exclusively in the form of fossil fuels: oil, gas and coal. While this system created great economic and industrial success, many problems have been detected in the past few decades regarding the use of fossil fuels. These issues include limited supply, increased cost, higher dependence on erratic foreign nations and most notably, effects on climate. Some of these problems are more immediate than others, but all of them have prompted lawmakers, corporations and nonprofits to take a closer look at how to best combat the American reliance on fossil fuels. Proposals for change include a wide array of suggested solutions, ranging from simply making current technologies as energy efficient as possible to implementing alternative energy sources across the country. This thesis seeks to address the changes that should be made, and the role the government should play in inducing change, in a transition away from fossil fuels.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law. Accessible to members of the Trinity community only.