Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy and Law

First Advisor

Adrienne Fulco

Second Advisor

Joseph Chambers


The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo served as a wake-up call for many highly oil dependent countries, including the United States and Denmark. In the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, the U.S. and Denmark had very different policy responses. Denmark identified oil itself as the underlying issue, and quickly transitioned to alternative energy sources, including wind. Today, Denmark is a global leader in renewable energy usage and sustainability. The United States, on the other hand, saw foreign reliance on oil as the main issue, and moved to develop domestic oil reserves rather than transitioning to alternative sources. Today, the U.S. is still very reliant on oil and the national government has struggled to pass any kind of federal energy policy. Through a cross-cultural analysis of prior scholarly work and current events, this thesis explores the underlying structural and normative realities of Danish and American society that drive the salience and efficacy of energy and environmental policy, with the goal of determining if Denmark can serve as a policy model for the U.S. Ultimately, this paper determines that Danish structures and norms are too different to serve as a model case for the U.S., and recommends that environmental policymaking be framed as an issue of individual, economic, and national security concern, as working within the existing framework of American society may prove to be the most productive way of transitioning nationally to renewable energy.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law.