I haven’t taken an extended look at the many ins and outs of natural gas for a good long while. It’s a bloody big topic. But let me preface this by first quoting Amory Lovins, the maestro of the “soft energy path.” I heard him speak at an event over ten years ago. What he said then still reverberates in my psyche: “The ‘renewables revolution’ has been won. Sorry if you missed it.” There is no doubt, at this late date, that solar and wind and the array of other modern renewables, along with energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, and other clean tech are well and truly burgeoning. The numbers don’t lie. Continue reading
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.
Private Empire, to a certain extent, follows in the footsteps of The Prize, Dan Yergin’s Homeric saga in which he recounts “the Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.” But Yergin’s book is a historic and geographic sweep of the oil industry while Coll’s book zeroes in on ExxonMobil, the company with the second-highest revenues in the world, $453 billion, in 2012 when the book came out. They dropped to eighth by 2018 with $290 billion in revenues. Continue reading
I went to a talk last night at the Council on Foreign Relations: Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency IEA), sat down with Amy Myers Jaffe, the Council’s senior fellow for energy and the environment, for an interesting discussion. (The video is here, along with a transcript.) The IEA was founded in 1974 to help the world’s major economies respond to the Arab oil shocks of that time. It has since become a well of knowledge about the world’s energy resources, now and for the future, and many of the critical aspects of our energy production and use, not the least of which are climate change, pollution, and energy poverty. This year’s World Energy Outlook, in fact, contains an important report on the outlook for energy access for those billion of our fellow world citizens who have no modern energy services. Continue reading
Well, maybe not Peak Carbon yet, but it was a pretty hopeful signal that the International Energy Agency sent on March 13th in announcing Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014. The IEA noted “…that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought.” Continue reading