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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

07 November 2005

Conserver l' energie

As the developed world intensifies the effort to conserve energy, it should turn to France for guidance. In the 1970s, the French government set up an Energy Conservation Agency. One of its functions was to enforce a peculiar law: oil companies were not allowed advertisements that “encouraged” energy consumption. This is how Daniel Yergin writes about it in The Prize:

“One of the two French national oil companies, Total, searched desperately for some way to keep its name in front of the public. At last, it had a brilliant idea. It started putting up billboards, picturing a beautiful piece of green French countryside, with a simple legend announcing “This is France” and signed “Total.” The ad was banned. A stunned Total asked why. “It is easy,” said Jean Syrota, the director of the Energy Conservation Agency. “Consumers look at this ad and say, ‘Oil companies are wasting a great deal of money on such ads, therefore the companies must be rich, therefore there must not be any energy problem, therefore it is all right t waste energy.’”



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