New Technologies Redraw the World’s Energy Picture

Good NYT piece on our ongoing energy shift. A little optimistic for my skeptical taste, but these are important changes:

This striking shift in energy started in the 1990s with the first deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil, but it has taken off in the last decade as a result of declining conventional fields, climbing energy prices and swift technological change.

The United States may now have the means to reduce its half century of dependence on the Middle East. China and India may have the means to fuel the development of their growing middle classes. Japan and much of Europe may have the chance to reduce dependence on nuclear power. And, at least theoretically, poor African countries might be able to lift themselves out of poverty.

For consumers around the world, the new fuels should moderate future price increases.

But giving new life to fossil fuels is a devil’s bargain, probably making solutions to climate change, and the development of renewable energy, even more difficult. “Not only are you extending the fossil fuels era,” said Daniel Lashof, director of the climate program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, “but you are moving into fossil fuels that are dirtier and release more carbon pollution in the process of extracting and using them.”

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