I finally got around to reading Private Empire this summer. (You know how it is: a bazillion books, papers, articles and every other doggone thing on your reading list.) I’ve been reading Steve Coll’s stuff in The New Yorker for years. He’s the dean of the J-school at Columbia.
Students at Columbia staged a very informative, sometimes provocative symposium last week. Old energy (oil and gas) made new (by fracking and horizontal drilling), new energy (renewables and the “negawatts” of energy efficiency), the old grid versus the new “smart” grid, questions of geopolitics and finance, policy and practice were all on the table. Although two prominent speakers in particular highlighted the looming climate crisis, the symposium was, in my view, darkened by the fact that the first keynote speaker was Ken Cohen, Flack-in-Chief for the Exxon Mobil Corporation. I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t know exactly what he was going to say: Continue reading →