Daniel Yergin is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Vice Chairman of IHSMarkit, a research and consulting firm. In this episode, Robert talks with Dan about his new book The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations, how gas pipelines are redefining geopolitics, how a map drawn by Chinese “cartographic combatant” Bai Meichu in the 1930s helps explain the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, why the world won’t quit using oil anytime soon, and about his first car (it was a Volkswagon station wagon).
Robert Bryce 0:05
Hi, and welcome to the power hungry podcast. I’m the host Robert Bryce. This podcast is where we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And my guest today is Daniel Yergin, who has a new book out. It’s called the new map energy, climate and the clash of nations. Thanks for being with us, Dan.
Daniel Yergin 0:23
Thank you. Glad to join you, Robert.
Robert Bryce 0:25
So our tradition, you know, you’ve had a long career in as an analyst as an author. I could introduce you, but I’m at the point in my career where I’m tired of windy introduction. So my policy is to have people introduce themselves. So if you don’t mind, imagine you just arrived at a dinner party. You don’t know anyone there. And you’re introducing yourself. Go.
Daniel Yergin 0:46
Well, thank you. I was at that dinner party. Hi, I’m Dan Juergen. Glad to be here. And Robert, glad to be with you. I’m the author, as you point out of that new book called The new map. It’s incense a trilogy, almost a book I’ve done the first one, you know, big energy book I did, although I’ve done books before. That was the prize epic quest for oil, money and power. And then I did the quest. And now it’s the new map. And it really tries to map out how our energy world is changing. I’m vice chairman of IHS market, which is a research organization company with about 16,000 people around the world focused on understanding markets and everything that happens around markets.
Robert Bryce 1:29
Great, and well, I’ll just add, you’re also a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. This is your fourth book that you’ve authored by yourself and your co author, I believe have four other books. Is that right?
Daniel Yergin 1:41
Right. Yes. So I guess the book was actually a book called shattered peace, which was on the origins of the Cold War. And as I’ve been writing a new map, I was thinking, I never thought I’d write another book about origins of new Cold wars. But that’s what we’re seeing with China and Russia today. And that’s part of the news.
Robert Bryce 2:01
Well, that touches on what I wanted to I mean, the first question I have here is so why did you write this book? What what prompted you? What was it? Was there a certain a certain moment or you’ve been thinking about this for a long time what why now and why this subject?
Daniel Yergin 2:13
I think about how the world has changed in you know, and you know, different eras, the world looks differently, and literally did think about it as a as a new map, it started thinking about how the new map of energy that was deriving from shale revolution united states that was trading, changing trading patterns, was changing the movement of energy across the United States globally. And then, and then that expanded into the other maps. I have a section called China’s map, which looks at really, China as is in it’s a new phase in terms of South China Sea and Belton road, and it’s kind of growing concerning clash between the US and China. Russia’s map clearly, Putin doesn’t like the phrase Energy superpower. But that’s been the source of Russia been a superpower since the collapse of the Soviet Union. And then the Middle East map, of course, which is complicated and yet goes back to a map that was drawn in 2016. And then roadmap to the future.
Robert Bryce 3:15
1960 Pico Sykes map, right?
Daniel Yergin 3:18
Yeah, I just hit 2016 1916. That’s right, psycho.
Robert Bryce 3:23
And can you move your mic? Just a hair closer there, Dan, I don’t mind seeing if it’s in the frame, but just to just so we get your audio just up just a bit. So how long did it take you to write this book?
Daniel Yergin 3:34
I think it’s all together over four years. You know, you always start off thinking you’ll write a book. Well, this one I’ll be able to do more quickly because I know all the material and then you start researching, as you know, Robert, and you go down so many paths. So this was a more than a four year project and a lot has changed over those four years.
Robert Bryce 3:52
When you were able to keep it pretty well up to date. I mean, you’re out September 15. And but yet you’re you have sections on COVID In the Coronavirus, so you were able to add to it. Right, right close to the publication date. That was Yeah,
Daniel Yergin 4:04
indeed, I have. China’s taking control over Hong Kong. So, you know, as you know, you finish a book, Robert, normally many months before publication, I would say I probably irritated my publisher a little bit by I just kept working on it.
Robert Bryce 4:20
And you’re supposed to do,
Daniel Yergin 4:21
you don’t finish a book, they take it away from you. And they took it away from me in early July. And so the book is up to date to then. I mean, just, they just said, You’ve got to stop.
Robert Bryce 4:33
Yeah. Well, and the market is always, you know, changing. And so I’ll ask you a little bit about the, you know, some of those things, but, you know, one of the things and I
Daniel Yergin 4:40
think Robert did do, you know, the book, I really did continue to revise to COVID. And what I was trying to do, and I think I did it was captured the curve, the change that’s happened in all of our lives, because of COVID.
Robert Bryce 4:56
Yeah, and I was pleased to see that because it really has up into The well all of the markets around the world for pretty much everything, but particularly hit the oil and gas sector very hard because they were both in oversupply. And they were, there was an oversupply of hydrocarbons. And then demand went away. So that was an unusual in the, in the history as I as my, as I see it in oil and gas, where there have been over supplies, but the demand had been strong, or you’d had a demand fall off, but not both at the same time. So it was especially impactful. Right?
Daniel Yergin 5:28
Yeah, that’s that’s right. In fact, you could say on you even go beyond unusual say unprecedented because there never been a government mandated shutdowns of the world economy, which we saw. And I described it in the new map. I call it an economic dark age that descended over North American Europe in in the spring of 2020. And that’s that took demand down in a way that was nobody’s strategic plan. Nobody’s
Robert Bryce 5:59
Yeah, I mean, How would the airlines ever planned for that? Right? Oh, by the way, you’re not gonna have any passengers and or you might have a few. And that will only be a few. But we’ll come back to that. I want to commend you because I finished the book I’ve been working in and working my way through it. I finished it this morning. And, you know, I love maps, I’ve always loved maps, I have maps in my, you know, old fashioned my kids use Google all the time, I use paper maps, I always have enjoyed paper maps. But what to me was one of the big takeaways. And of course, the theme of the book is about maps. But in particular, you drive home the point in several sections about the importance of how pipelines are affecting the maps, right, and that the geo geopolitics is now being defined, large in large part around the maps that are showing the pipelines. And so you called the crises over gas and one of the first few chapters you write about Russia, cutting off gas to Ukraine. And I found that that to be particularly important because it shows how Russia is using gas as an geopolitical weapon. But then you talk about the Nord Stream pipeline, Nord Stream two, and how critical those those pipelines are to Germany and Russia. Can you talk about that relationship that not just Germany and Russia, but moreover, how gas politics and Russia’s control of gases is, is a key part of their relationship with Europe and America’s contest for influence over Europe with Russia?
Daniel Yergin 7:24
Right. Well, first of all, Robert, let me say like you I’m fascinated by maps. I mean, I don’t want people to think this is not the National Geographic maps in many senses. It’s a metaphoric term here, but I had this section I had to cut it out because of space. writing about I’m sure you remember, needs to go into a gasoline station, there would be all the maps of the region and the National maps and see USA and a Chevrolet and
Robert Bryce 7:47
you know, you know, and all that era of those kind of paper maps that people use for trips is gone away. And you could get us any you could get a state map, you could get a National Map, you can get a regional map and sometimes you get them for free. They He branded with golf or Texaco or whatever.
Daniel Yergin 8:02
Exactly. And the maps are right next to the peanut machines and the or the m&m machines for you know, or do you get bubble gum that’s right for, you know, five cents. So those, you know, that year is gone. But boy, it used to be a whole range of maps that. So now it’s all electronic. But to go to your question, pipelines have really become a focus of politics of energy. It’s true in the United States, and it’s certainly true in Europe. And I write in the new map about the issues around Russian pipelines to Europe, which have been contentious going back to late 1950s and early 1960s. And the clash we see now over Nord Stream two, which is the big gas pipeline that with parallel and existing pipeline under the Baltic Sea, from Russia, to Germany, the void in Ukraine is a great source of controversy. And the US is seeking to put sanctions and has put sanctions on it, saying it’s a geopolitical threat to the United States. The Germans bridle at that, and they violate the sanctions, although that may be changing now, because the poisoning of nirvani, the Russian opposition figure who was poisoned in Russia is now as least as we’re speaking is in Germany, in a in a in an induced coma. And that may actually change the politics around it. But this was a pipeline that was just weeks away from being finished and $11 billion pipeline. But I the opposition, bipartisan opposition, the United States has been great. Germans scratching their heads saying Why are you telling us what pipelines to build? But it’s a real sore point not only in US Russian relations, but in US German relations, although as I say it’s now become more complicated.
Robert Bryce 9:56
When the Russians have they shut off the gas to Ukraine. Well, that was 2009 was it,
Daniel Yergin 10:01
but 2006 then 2009. Okay, the Europeans responded by making their gas system much more flexible and turning much, you know, creating the ability to take in LNG. And I have one map in the book that just shows all the liquid liquefied natural gas free serving receiving terminals in Europe. So the Europeans have flexibility in their system. And, you know, so that I think that it sounds strange to say, but it’s made the pipeline’s the supplies from Russia, less political, because the Europeans can say, okay, we can go somewhere else.
Robert Bryce 10:39
And that’s interesting.
Daniel Yergin 10:41
Yeah. not intended to go and Russians.
Robert Bryce 10:44
Well, I think it’s particularly true and with Poland, right, and that the polls establish their own LNG import facility because they have a lot of history with Russia and nearly all of its bad, right, and they did not want to rely on the Russians for gas. And so they signed a long term contract. I think was was shinier for LNG imports so that they had a wedge. I mean, they’re Poland still very heavily dependent on coal but they they use it What were the policy? That’s my view what what did you How do you view the regard aging the way Nia some of the other countries have definitely wanted to pivot, you know, and just have that capacity to say, you know, and I think the Lithuanian energy minister said once they created the, the
Daniel Yergin 11:27
LNG receiving terminal, somehow the price of Russian gas went down, just by coincidence. So just
Robert Bryce 11:34
just by coincidence, yeah,
Daniel Yergin 11:36
as a buyer, you want alternatives. And I think they’re there now. But Poland, has been a big opponent of, of the Nord Stream too, because also they have a gas pipeline that does run to Poland, and they collect revenues, transit revenues from that. So this is, you know, when Nord Stream one was Built was controversial, but not very controversial. But so much has changed now in Russia’s relationship with Europe and with the United States.
Robert Bryce 12:08
Well, it’s also changed with China. And again, that relationship has been I mean, they were in a shooting war, what, now 4050 years ago, but roughly. And now the power of Siberia pipeline, which you write about as well, and I’ve followed, because I just find it. This is the very definition of a mega project, right, a 5000 mile long pipeline, over a 30 year deal for $400 billion worth of natural gas moving from Russia to China. Is this is this a new era then in terms of that relationship? Or let me let me ask it more, more cleanly. How does that pipeline then going to change you? Us Russia China relations, right? There’s there’s three different players here that are all interconnected. I
Daniel Yergin 12:52
don’t see at the time. So one of the things I write about in the new map is at the same time that we were putting sanctions on too are trying to stop the Nord Stream two pipeline, Vladimir Putin and Gigi ping had this kind of fancy television hookup where they opened the new pipeline between the two countries. And it kind of signified that growing relationship between Russia and China. And I think that’s a very significant geopolitical fact and energy as part of that.
Robert Bryce 13:28
But it’s also partly because the, the, the length of the contract, right 30 years is a very long, long, long time. And it’s the pipelines are different from LNG and that it’s a it’s not just a fact on the ground. It’s a very large and expensive piece of infrastructure that’s going to connect them now for decades. You may not really know him,
Daniel Yergin 13:48
but it’s it’s a new reality that now exists. Robert, are you picking up the other sound from my wife at the refrigerator? No, I’m fine. Okay. Pick up on It’s a new reality in terms of, of that relationship between Putin and energy and Russia and China. And I had the opportunity to observe it at St. Petersburg conference a year and a half ago, a little less than a year and a half ago. And you could just see they kind of describe each other’s their best friends. And I think they’re united, both by the nature of their political systems, but they’re also united in their opposition to what they see as a dominating role of the United States and global affairs. And they’re both that is brought them together, and their economies are getting more and more connected.
Robert Bryce 14:42
When you had a great line in here, you said, regarding Russia and China that it was a relationship once based on Marx and Lenin is now grounded in oil and gas. Right? That that clearly seems to be the case. But it’s not just Russia and China. Let’s shift to Egypt and Israel. They were just, you know, five decades. Again, we’re shooting at each other. And then in the end of last year, they signed a $19.5 billion gas supply contract. That’s now so the Israelis are supplying the Egyptians with gas. And then you point out that some of that’s going to be then put into LNG terminals for export by the Egyptians. It’s a it’s another example of how gas politics are changing geopolitics, isn’t it?
Daniel Yergin 15:23
Yes. I mean, for decades, the Israelis really worried about their dependence on imported energy. They used a lot of coal, they imported oil. And then these discoveries were made off the coast of Israel, which people thought were was a dead sea in terms of resources. Now, it’s become a very hot area for energy development. And last year, it was remarkable. We had the Egyptian and Israeli energy ministers come together at our conference in Houston, together on the platform, talking about their energy collaboration, and you know, there’s now discussion about a pipeline speaking of pipelines from Israel and and Cyprus that we go through Greek waters on to Europe. And to think that Israel is now going to be an energy export or something, you know, five years ago would not have been expected. So there’s a new geopolitical reality there. And what is also highlighted is Turkey’s ambitions Turkey is really a rival both to Saudi Arabia, and to Iran, for instance, in the Middle East, and Turkey is basically trying to block some of this development and claim the waters to which this pipeline would pass as its own. So that’s another example of a geopolitical conflict that involves pipelines.
Robert Bryce 16:42
Well, and the Israelis are now supplying gas to Jordan and then there was a short news item that they were even talking about supplying gas into Gaza into the Gaza City power plant. Now that hasn’t happened because Gaza being Gaza there’s still a lot of conflict around that but but
Daniel Yergin 16:56
they do provide a gas to the Palestinian right authority as well through to a third party, but do that. And so, you know, who would have expected that?
Robert Bryce 17:09
Well, it is remarkable looking at the Israelis history, right? Because during the apartheid era, they were buying oil from South Africa, right. Oil that was produced via the Fisher tropes process from coal, right. And Israel, like South Africa was isolated from in terms of energy trade, heavily dependent on coal.
Daniel Yergin 17:26
There now, before the fall of the Shah of Iran, they were buying significant amounts of oil from Iran. But that’s when they had a kind of quasi religious relationship with Iran. But of course, that ended with the Iranian Revolution in Iran. Now, you know, implacably opposed to Israel, so they really had to scrounge around for time they controlled oil fields in the Sinai, but they gave the cyanide back to Egypt as part of the peace deal. And so they felt very vulnerable. But now You know, they, you know, discovered these resources and it was, you know, as often happens, people said, No, there’s no resource there. Why are you wasting your time, and you have a few stubborn people who say, we’re not going to give up and lo and behold, you find these resources. And now, it’s, you know, the eastern med, as they call it is a very hot area for energy development.
Robert Bryce 18:23
Well, it wasn’t that that was the long long time joke about Israel. Well, if this is the promised land, how come there wasn’t any oil here? Well, right. Right.
Daniel Yergin 18:30
Or that Moses, they turned left as they came out of Egypt when they should have gone right. Or the Arabian Peninsula.
Robert Bryce 18:38
But the but you met you mentioned the eastern Mediterranean that that and that Leviathan field and there’s another field there offshore Israel, I’m not remember tomorrow, tomorrow and Leviathan are the two big gas fields there. Those were discovered by noble right. It was an American company that was really the key player there. So let’s fast forward. I don’t think this is in your book, but Chevron just acquired noble So does that change the politics Now of the possibility of building the eastern Mediterranean pipeline, because that’s a big acquisition and puts Chevron right in the middle of some of those eastern Mediterranean politics.
Daniel Yergin 19:10
Well, you know, Chevron is obviously custom in dealing in Congo, I guess it was all complicated parts of the world. And they certainly entered into new complicated part of the world. That acquisition also brought them some very significant resources in the United States. But I think what it does do is you have a really heavy duty company that has a strong balance sheet and a ability after all, they’re the ones who really developed Kazakh to turn cosmic into a world oil power in partnership with the Cossacks. So I think that you know, they’re a company that gets big projects done. And this is a big project. And
Robert Bryce 19:51
so what about those politics then because this is another example of the you know, the contested waters and I want to come back to talking about what’s going on in In China with regard to the nine dash map and so on, but is that you said Turkey is opposed and Cyprus kind of stands in the middle. Any forecasts on how this works out? And to what, you know, will that gap because that gas is going to compete with Russian gas into the European market? Right?
Daniel Yergin 20:19
Well, I think, I think that’s the key word that you just said, which is competition, and they will be competing. And they’ll have to make the economics work and have get the right partners. And so, you know, I think they’re, they’re committed this group of, you know, countries working together and companies to do it. And it would be, in a sense, another form of diversification for Europe. I think that you know, the issues with Turkey. Go beyond this. You know, as I said, Turkey’s competition for leadership in the Middle East. It’s difficult relationship now with the United States. And here you have Turkey, and Greece, which are both members of NATO. I think that’s a situation you should watch very carefully that it may be something that’s not much, you know, front page or front of the news now, but could become could could come to loom larger.
Robert Bryce 21:12
Sure. So he just in moving on then to the maps of the Middle East, one of the other sections in the book, you talk about the you have a chapter called the struggle for Iraq. And I’ve been following the Iraqi situation with regard to electricity because I went to Lebanon and and have seen the issues of electricity supply in Iraq are similar to that of Lebanon, a tattered grid where a lot of small generators, but Iraq, just synchronized in the last few weeks synchronize their electric grid with the grid in Iran. And the Trump administration is pressuring the Iraqis to move away from Iran. But I guess the short question is, you know, Dan, after United States wage, two wars in Iraq, who is who’s winning the struggle for Iraq?
Unknown Speaker 21:59
Well, I think it’s
Daniel Yergin 22:01
It’s, uh, you know, there’s no doubt that Iranian influence dominance penetration of Iraq is quite considerable. It was its objective to do that. It’s, you know, that saw Saddam Hussein as its great enemy. And but you know, the US is a is a player there too. I think that, you know, it’s hard to believe it’s how many years it’s 17 years really since since the invasion of Iraq, and the country is still trying to get back on its footing. And it also is highly dependent upon oil for 95% of government revenues. So when oil price collapses, Iraq is really in big trouble. I think the point you you go to about electricity. They do depend in southern Iraq for electricity from from Iran. And that’s just the way the grid is set up. until there’s an alternative, they don’t have an alternative. And so to say, you know, so the, you know, there’s been this kind of negotiation and friction and trying to get a rack to, you know, put in a sank, you know, the sanctions on Iran and so forth in terms of imports. But, you know, Iraq is not going to function without at least getting some electricity from Iran.
Robert Bryce 23:24
It’s just really annoying and they’re buying natural gas as well. Right. Isn’t there a gas pipeline that’s cross border there as well. So the the the last question this way does the fragmented and weak air iraq serve Iran’s political goals like a weak and fragmented Lebanon serves Iran’s political goals? I mean, is that
Daniel Yergin 23:44
keep them weak? I think that’s right. They don’t want you know, they don’t want to see a, you know, a strong united rack they want to maintain their influence and what is interesting is over the last Last year, you’ve seen a year and a half now. I think I wrote about when this started. Yeah, I wrote about in the in the new map protests against Iranian influence and protests in Shia regions of Iraq, including the burning of, of Iraqi consulate and so forth. So, you know, it’s not like everybody wants to get on board with Iran. There’s certainly opposition to it. But, you know, all indications are, is that Iran has penetrated Iraqi society a lot. And, you know, in the initial days of ISIS at the beginning, what you saw was some Iraqis sort of more open to ISIS until they saw what it really was, because they saw it as resisting what they call the Persians, which is the, you know, what you often hear in that part of the world when people talk about Iran, because they see it as part of the sort of Persian realism
Robert Bryce 25:02
and so you know this maybe you didn’t address this in the book and understand your your walking kind of a delicate line here. But in retrospect, these ideas of America’s efforts to destabilize or remove Saddam Hussein, in fact may have made it did they make the the the did they increase instability in the Middle East, I guess ultimately is the did the right
Daniel Yergin 25:27
thing to have a worse, you know, I think it probably would have stayed unstable with Saddam Hussein there. But, you know, I read the four volume US Army history of the Iraq war, and a lot of it is, you know, about mistakes that were made the, you know, the the failure to plan and to really think through what a post war iraq would be not recognizing the Sunni Shia eruption intention that would emerge. The question about You know, the bath vacation? Was it a mistake to you know, just send the Iraqi army home without any financial resources, what they did to the officer corps and you know, so, you know, this is going to be something that we’re gonna wrestle with for a long time. But that for volume, US Army history was very interesting in terms of, you know, kind of shock among the US military itself, when the Iraqi army was disbanded, and sent home rather than maintaining it as it as a unit. Now, the other side was, if they had maintained it, it would have been seen as Sunni domination of Shia, his argument. But I think, you know, I think that is, you know, there’s a subject there for a really very important history that would really address these questions, what, what was the consequence and what was the cost, and what’s going to be the lasting impact?
Robert Bryce 26:52
Well, it seems the lasting impact is just this this fragile Iraqi society where this their civil society just doesn’t work. They have grid doesn’t work that the this fragmentation and corruption is the, which I guess, you know, could you have predicted that? We don’t know. But let me move on and talk about the spratlys because you have the China’s map, which I found really interesting and I’ve heard about the Spratly Islands and and the South China Sea But it wasn’t until I read your, your chapters on this that I really grasp the importance of why this area is so ripe for for armed conflict or accidental conflict. But you said, like this line from the book, you said a single cartographic combatant, I like that. A single cartographic combatant led the charge by may choose one of China’s most influential and respective geographers. He made two maps in the 1930s that are still helping define China’s politics today. It can explain those.
Daniel Yergin 27:53
Yeah, it was so
interesting and this was so fascinating to research this and learn about it because I started off with the question Where did the nine dash map line nine dash line map come from? Which is the map of China and I have that in the book. I use the official Chinese map that they submitted to a tribunal in, in The Hague. It’s an IT SHOWS China basically owning the South China Sea. And so the question, you know, I think, you know, Robert, when you’re writing a book, you start to become obsessed with something and you go down that, you know, you keep going down and down and down. And, and so, you know, it took me back to the beginning of the 1930s when the French Indochina because Vietnam was part of France’s Empire was fraying. It was falling apart. It was the early depression. And there was a great fear of Japanese penetration into the region, and the French regarded the South China Sea. They had Vietnamese claims that they said good went back to the beginning of the 19th century. So they sent these this this commander With a couple of ships to go to the different islands, and to sort of put up a flag and put a thing in the game with France and blow a bugle and say this is part of France now, and news did not travel fast and then early 1930s. But when word reached China, this set off, you know, great upset This is because they said, Well wait, these are historically our territorial waters. This is where our fishermen go. And so they may she, who you mentioned, was a cartographer, who said, you know, geography is in the source of, you know, patriotism. And so he just said, led the charge did these maps that showed that the South China Sea belong to China, and then after World War Two, the nationalist Chinese made it adopted, you know, schools and everything like that. And then they went to Taiwan, the remnants of nationalist China to Chinese what came to power In 1949, and they adopted that map. But it only kind of really became a big issue, you know, in the last 10 or 15 years, and China has taken islands has added 3200 acres of new land, but why
Robert Bryce 30:18
regimens in the spratlys?
Daniel Yergin 30:20
Yeah, and the spratlys, and another paracels, and turn them into basically military bases, right. And the US premise is freedom of the seas. This doesn’t belong to China. And this happens to be the world’s single most important body of water for World Trade passes through it. And so the Vietnamese, the other countries around
Robert Bryce 30:46
Malaysia, Malaysia, Philippines, and I just found the map here and it’s called the nine dash map because they’re nine dashes that trace southward from China along the coast of Vietnam, down toward Singapore turns right Well east of east of Kuala lampur to Malaysia and then back up north along the border of the Philippines. So it’s a very large oceanic area that’s covered by this that the Chinese are saying no, this is our playground. But it’s not just about container ships. It’s about LNG and crude oil as well
Daniel Yergin 31:18
as China. That’s various China imports 75% of its oil and a large part of that passes through those waters. And the Chinese have been concerned about what I call the new map I you know, what the Chinese call the Malacca dilemma, that is that the waters the strait that leads past Singapore that the US Navy could block it if there was a conflict over Taiwan. So the Chinese have really moved pretty aggressively to claim this as their waters. And they base it on what they say are historic claims that that this has been, you know, 2000 years, 1500 years, that a child that is belong to China. The other countries including United States say wait this that those claims don’t Hold up under the Law of the Sea. That’s not the way that you adjudicate, you know, claims and that you can’t claim these and you and it gets into, you know, arcane issues of international law. But basically, there’s no sign of compromise here. And it is I quote, a James Stavridis, who used to be Admiral, Supreme Commander of NATO, but he had other commands as well, who said, you know, this is the most dangerous point where the US Navy and the Chinese navy could collide and there have been several near misses there. And the big worry, the big concern, the big fear is that there sometime may not be a near miss, and what happens if there is some kind of collision or some kind of action that involves us and Chinese navies in that region. And given that the relationship between the US and China is becoming Much more confrontational. How do you resolve it? So, you know, we talked about things to keep your eye on the eastern Mediterranean, one, South China Sea, it’s very important to keep a major eye on it.
Robert Bryce 33:12
And so this this, this area being a potential Flashpoint for what could be global conflict, not just bilateral conflict between the US and China, but to me, it’s interesting that you can trace that back to night. What is it 1933 from this very map that you reproduced here?
Daniel Yergin 33:29
Right. Well, yeah, it did a couple of them one, I think the 36 map but you know, he did a series of them but that’s the one that was key. And it was all a response to you know, this, you know, these three French ships going to these islands and saying these are ours and, and,
Robert Bryce 33:47
and here we are just mere George mere, mere some ocher. Was that that yes, you mean exactly. Yeah, a great name.
Daniel Yergin 33:53
We went into the, you know, is it the French archives to try and find out a little more about him and what happened to him. But the archives were not well enough organized to help us. So we found some of the things about him and the ships, and how they you know what the ritual was for doing this. But Robert,
Robert Bryce 34:14
was quite almost colonial like, you know, 500 years ago with Columbus or something, they put up a flag and they kneel down, and they say, a prayer to the soul that you look. Right. And that I mean, it just seems. Well, I mean, it’s 100 years ago, almost 100 years ago now. So but, but even looking at it through that lens, it still seems really quaint, that I hereby declared this island for whoever.
Daniel Yergin 34:36
And of course, that was Imperial, you know, there was no independent Vietnam. The Philippines was an American colony. But there was real concern about the French were really worried about expansionist Japanese and one of the things that got them really concerned is that the Japanese have taken a position in a bat guano. You know, bat guano on an island because you could use it for fertilizer and they saw this as Japanese expansionism. And that was the era of Japanese expansionism.
Robert Bryce 35:06
We mentioned you mentioned the archives, if I can interrupt so when you obviously did a lot of research and a lot of different places, what was there at one point in the research on this? And by the way, we’re, this is the power hungry podcast, we’re talking to Daniel Yergin about his new book, the new map, I took the book jacket off, there’s the book jacket, the new map energy climate in the class of nations. Was there one bit of research that in doing all this, that you thought, Oh, well, this is really cool, or one interview or one moment where you were doing this in a thought, where you say, Okay, this is worth it. I’ve been slaving over this for all this time. And this is a gem.
Daniel Yergin 35:43
Well, I think I think that whole thing about the South China Sea because I think that’s a real eye opener, and even when I tell Chinese people about it, they’re they’re amazed. They didn’t they don’t know that history. So I you know, I thought that was, you know, I thought that was great to do. You know, I think I found on the shale revolution I went to the first successful shale well in the United States and dish texas a little, just a little wiring close thing and you thought thought, here’s some people who did something that everybody said wasn’t going to work, and it worked. And look at the impacted tab.
You know, I think there were certain moments I described in the book.
One moment when Vladimir Putin started shouting at me, that was a memorable experience. And I don’t
Robert Bryce 36:35
I don’t I don’t recall that
Daniel Yergin 36:36
but i didn’t i didn’t use the first person in the book. Oh, and I describe an incident where someone asked me, asked, I had the opportunity to this conference in St. Petersburg to ask him a question about the Russian dependence on hydrocarbons for its budget and so forth and diversification. And by accident, I mentioned the word shale, and he erupted and started shouting me about how dangerous shale was. And I really took away from that, that the Russians saw shale as a, as a, as a bolster and an adjunct to US foreign policy because of the flexibility gave the US. So I think inside
Robert Bryce 37:15
what Yeah, what year was that then?
Daniel Yergin 37:17
That would have been 2013 2014 in that
Robert Bryce 37:20
period. So before the big volumes of oil and gas really started to roll that Putin was understanding this, this is a threat.
Daniel Yergin 37:27
Yeah, it was understanding at that point, the polls were starting to look for shale in Poland. And the Russians were feeding information to environmental or quasi environmental groups to create sort of environmental opposition to it. So Hooton Express great worry that the water to Warsaw would be poisoned by shale. And he really, I mean, he knew his brief, you know what to say. But I think that
you know, I think the whole
You know, just to give another example talking to the guy who’s, you know, one of the great to great two or three great innovators of autonomous vehicles was really interesting. So I think like, probably you found to you, you know, you, you go down a lot of different paths. And if you like research, it’s nice to have a nice, big subject to research and you just, you know, some point you have to say, I can’t know every, you know, you have to stop at some point, right, you know, but somebody once said to me, a publisher once said, you have to know everything, but your reader doesn’t have to know everything. The other thing is you have to,
Robert Bryce 38:37
well, you have to hang fences. You have to ring fence in some way, which is just another quick just about the technical or that kind of putting the book together. This is about 450 pages.
Daniel Yergin 38:48
Well, wait, wait, wait, Robert. Oh, yes. 450. That’s right. Subtract the index, subtract the Add nodes. That’s right. And then we’re down to 450. That’s right, Jake. Just
Robert Bryce 38:57
the text, right. Well, I’ve, you know, I’ve written a couple books, a few books. I seem like I just have to write a certain length, right? I think, Oh, well, I’ll make this one shorter. I don’t have to write this long. Is that what you found for this that?
Daniel Yergin 39:10
Well, the prize was, you know, the longest of my books. And, but that was an era before. Email before Twitter. And you know, people would spend time with it. I still see people write 900 page books. But I just wonder, you know, particular 900 page biography. You know, I just wonder. Yeah, let’s have a wonderful story. So the quest was 200 pages shorter. And this is 200 pages shorter than
than the quest so
you know, and so the
Robert Bryce 39:45
next one’s gonna be Cliff Notes, then
Daniel Yergin 39:47
cliff, right? I have some great outtakes that I think I’m gonna write some articles from that. I just, you know, I hate it. You know, you probably know this as a writer, you hate you found out something or you, you thought of a way to address something. You just Hate to not have it in there. But you have to say, I have to think about the reader.
Robert Bryce 40:05
Yeah. Right. And that was Yeah, I had the same experience in writing a question of power parts of the research that I had done that I wish I had included in the book now in retrospect, but of course, that’s the, you know, let’s
Daniel Yergin 40:15
think about congratulations on the question of power. And I noticed, you know, obviously, there’s been overlap in the themes that you and I have written about over the years, but I was really struck by your focus on electricity, as you put it, women and developing world that and your 3 billion people number you know, they don’t have access to electricity or less than they have less access than your refrigerators. I think you put it That’s right. I gather you have a great refrigerator.
Robert Bryce 40:47
But actually an average bought it at Home Depot, but that about 1000 kilowatt hours is that’s not unusual for an average. Well, he’s gotten better now. But
Daniel Yergin 40:57
yeah, but the reason I was struck because that’s one of the, you know, I wanted to give people a wider perspective than what they may just get living in their own in their own sector. And that would you point out, you know, 3 billion at number 3 billion people don’t have access to clean energy for cooking. So it says the same thing you observe, they use wood which has to be gathered or animal dung or crop waste. And the World Health Organization said the biggest environmental threat, you know, in the world is indoor air pollution from from cooking. Yeah, and for those people like I had the opportunity to work as an advisor to Indiana Tech, what it’s doing an energy and they are what they want commercial energy they want addition to electricity. They want to make oil and particularly natural gas clean, clean, natural gas or propane to be able to Get to villagers so that they’re not they don’t have indoor air pollution right and so for them commercial energy is is a positive
Robert Bryce 42:11
you know well it’s absolutely for particularly for women and girls and potentially a matter of life and death I was struck by that point and you made in in that section on India that now there are 80 million Indians who are using this the government program to for propane distribution which I you know in only been to India once but they you know, those canisters were ubiquitous I mean people carrying them on bicycles on little you know, little Moto, you know, motos etc. Because the only alternative was wood dung, or you know, there was no no no no wood laying around in India because it was all being burned. Right But let’s go back to China because I wanted this group to keep the focus on the maps and you know, we could talk all day about this stuff you and I both love it but I want to go back to two by men too, because the by May to the national humiliation map, which still and then you have a photo I commend you to the photos in the book are really good. I think you probably had a good photo archivist working with you. But
Daniel Yergin 43:11
we work yeah,
great, a great woman. I’ve worked with her before and work with a really closely with an you know, people will not believe how much work went into the photos and then to writing the captions. Because so I see the text, the photos and the captions is kind of an integrated package.
Robert Bryce 43:30
Oh, yeah. So just back to this issue of of this is a great photo of Xi Jinping and some of the other Chinese leaders at the National humiliation museum. I think that’s the
Daniel Yergin 43:41
National Museum but it’s that they after Xi Jinping became after Gigi ping became after Gigi ping became party secretary, he led the other members of the Politburo right over to that museum stood in front of the exhibit called the century of humiliation and You know, that theme of a century of humiliation of European dominance of China keeping China down keeping China fragmented is central to the kind of political narrative of, of China and, and, and and what it’s doing in the world today and what its policies are. So they caught, you know, it’s just a constant refrain, and you realize this is very deep seated as well. And I
Robert Bryce 44:26
didn’t realize that either. And that was and the fact that you have a cartographer with this National Map, humiliation map, going back to the 1930s, now 90 years, but that that, that that history is not old, in fact, it’s not even you know, it’s not even history. It’s it’s that their identity about Chinese redeemed, redeeming themselves in the modern world to get past this humiliation is that is that a proper way to characterize
Daniel Yergin 44:52
it? I think it is. It’s, you know, they, under the former Chinese president, they taught us to talk about peaceful rise. I think Think that language has kind of faded away. And China in the last decade has become or last seven or eight years has become a more assertive player. I also write in the new map about the Belt and Road program, which is, you know, estimates that the one I cite is $1.4 trillion investment program around the world to promote what they call connectivity, which would, you know, really make China much even more central in the world economy than it is today.
Robert Bryce 45:37
Well, and I noticed I saw a snippet of the Secretary of State Pompeo the other day, I mean, some pretty bellicose language toward the Chinese. I mean, this this seems like the ramping up of this kind of rhetoric is is not very helpful.
Daniel Yergin 45:51
Robert, I was just going to use that word ramping up in the last few months on all fronts on territorial issues on technology. issues, you know, human rights issues. It has gotten more and more tense. You know. You know, as I said, my first book was on the origins of the Cold War. And it just became clear as as writing this, that we’re headed in that direction again, but it’s it’s going to be different than the Soviet American Cold War, which was a lot It was based upon nuclear weapons. This is very different. And the Soviet Union was not a major factor in the global economy. China is a very major factor in the global economy. And in fact, as we’ve discovered, the US and the Chinese economies are much more interconnected than they are today. So as I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve found, you know, many countries, they’re saying we don’t, we don’t want to have to choose between the US and China. I did a dialogue with the president of Colombia, not the university, the country. And he said, you know, our relationship with United States is fundamental, but China’s a really big customer of our economy. How You know, so I, I see that and there was an article by the Prime Minister of Singapore that ran in foreign affairs, his summer magazine, Foreign Affairs, where his thing was to is, don’t make us choose. So, you know, it’s, you know, there’s a lot at stake in the relationship. And, you know, trade and economic side used to be a stabilizing factor, but it’s become a it’s become, you know, conflict or a point of conflict.
Robert Bryce 47:31
Yeah. So, let’s just a couple of things about OPEC here, because I’ve, you know, you this has been a source of great attention. Is is, is OPEC is called a cartel. But is it really does it really have power over the market? Now you open the book by talking about the big three, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US is OPEC, really just Saudi
Daniel Yergin 47:54
Arabia. I think, you know, people still have the image of OPEC in their heads from the 70s and the 80s and maybe the 90s, the world’s changed. I mean, this is this is part of the new map, it’s changed. If you look at where we’re old world oil production, the major players, it’s the big three, the United States is the world’s number one producer to sort of say, this other group of countries is the cartel, when they don’t, you know, they don’t control that much of the market. Is is different. We what you do, obviously, we did have, and I was able to write about in the chapter called the play about that in the spring in April of 2020. When of all people Donald Trump was a mediator between Russia and Saudi Arabia in stabilizing the oil market, at a time when oil prices in some cases were actually negative. And that was it that shows the shift that’s gone on. So you know, so OPEC, I think is a framework. It’s part of the dialogue around energy transition and so forth. And but it’s a very the nation’s you know, it’s
Unknown Speaker 48:58
Daniel Yergin 49:00
Saudi Arabia is a member, but so is Iran. And they’re, you know, sworn enemies to each other.
Robert Bryce 49:04
Sure. So I think it’s more helpful to think about in terms of the Big Three, and what each of them are going to do in terms of their energy policies, because their policies can then sway the markets in such a big way. And even just by talking about it, so Well, let’s let’s that leads into this discussion about shale, which to me is, it’s been so disruptive. And you mentioned the, you know, Putin’s unkind tone towards you in St. Petersburg. But it brings me back to OPEC. And in that earlier this year, I wrote a short piece, just looking back at the Texas Railroad Commission back in the 1930s, when they implemented pro rationing, and at that point, I was earlier this year, I thought, well, maybe we need something new like that in the United States to to restrain production in the United States. But the question is, this is what has been the fundamental recurring problem in the oil market globally. Has it been under supply or over supply?
Daniel Yergin 49:58
Well, I think If you look at
thinking back to the 19th century, even you had periods of both of under supply and over supply markets been tight, and then markets been over supplied. I mean, the beginning of the oil crisis of the 70s and the early 70s, markets have become extraordinarily tight, because demand was really strong. And countries were switching from coal to oil for electricity generation. In New York City, Con Edison is switching to oil for environmental reasons. So the markets were really tight. And then other periods you have, you know, protracted periods of oversupply and pressure and price. So I think, you know, one lesson is that, you know, markets go in cycles, commodity markets go in cycles and supply and demand. You know, often there’s a mismatch between the two.
Robert Bryce 50:51
And so but it seems to me that, you know, some of the sanctions on Iran and now the the sanctions that are in place against Venezuela that they’ve In fact, acted to reduce supply more than what, you know any kind of allowables under OPEC would do. So. But But more recently the market is it fair to say that more recently it’s been the last two years or so it’s been a chronic problem has been oversupply. Right. Yeah. Well,
Daniel Yergin 51:18
I think what you use the term before Robert disruptive technology, and that’s what shale was. And so actually the oil price collapse started in 2014 2015. Because of it, I mean, there are many reasons slowing down of demand, the end of a commodity boom in terms of consumption, but you had this sudden surge that had never happened before this much oil coming into the market this quickly and the market was over supplied. And it collapsed. Then you had the emergence of what was called OPEC plus, which kind of stabilizing the market and economic growth and you know, resolution of us Chinese Trade tensions seem to be pointing. And then you have this additional collapse and true oversupply because of the collapse in demand. But shale. I think shale is going to continue. You know, it’s going to continue. But I think there’ll be a period of decline and then recovery again. And then I’ll just become a more normal part of the market, rather than this dynamic disrupter that it was in the recent previous years.
Robert Bryce 52:27
Sure. So broader question about the about the oil sector. I just looked up these numbers with recent Gallup poll found that only 39% of Americans approve of the oil and gas sector it ranked 21st out of 25. sectors in favourability. A poll I saw several years ago show the oil and gas sector ranking even below the federal government now when people people hate Congress more than they hate your industry, then that’s a problem. Why is the industry Why is the oil and gas industry been so demonized over the years. And why does or more fair question? Why does Why does the general public dislike the oil industry? Or Oh, they tend to,
Daniel Yergin 53:08
like it starts with people, you know, no price is more visible than the price of gasoline. And people. You know, most people, you know, 280 million cars United States 279 279 million running gasoline. So some people see that price and when it goes up, that it’s,
they don’t like it. Right, it does go up sometimes.
And then I think there’s this kind of historic mythology around oil companies,
as you know,
kind of great manipulators. In fact, what they are, you know, they’re kind of high tech companies, you know, run by engineers and scientists, but, but it doesn’t, you know, oil involves international politics and involves countries around the world. So I think there are a whole host of factors that come into it. And yet, if you look at, let’s say, During this COVID crisis, people working at home and you know, oil and gas industry, like electric power industry has to operate at a very high level of safety. And on a global basis, even with all this disruption, even with people getting sick and so forth, we didn’t see any breakdown in the supply system. You know, you didn’t have any cases of ambulances or fire trucks that couldn’t get fuel. So, you know, I think, kind of the reality is that this is, you know, most people, if you talk to them, who are senior people in the oil and gas industry or engineers, they’re not, you know, Wheeler dealers. But there’s enough of that legend. And there’s still, you know, some of that, you know, there have been some, shall we say, very colorful figures in this industry. And in some ways, I think it goes back. I think it goes back to john D. Rockefeller, and Ida Tarbell, who wrote the exposition of Standard Oil. The beginning of the 20th century. You know, and I think, you know, all of those images
have stuck. It’s not, you know, it’s,
you know, what are industries that people like? Well, until recently, they really like tech, it seems to be that there’s a more mixed feeling.
So I think,
probably another time we can think about what are the most popular? What what industries do people love the most? You know, maybe they love apps on their on their cell phone, right? They like they like their iPhone.
Robert Bryce 55:32
So well, you mentioned this. You have several chapters in the book about electric vehicles. I didn’t realize that half of all the world’s TVs are sold now in China. And you talk you have several chapters about automobiles and mobility. You talk about the rise of Uber. And you wrote that owning a car is less urgent than in the past in terms of staking out identity, status and coming of age. It is no longer the emotional signifier of freedom and autonomy. What was your first car
Daniel Yergin 56:00
I got my, well, I didn’t get my first car.
You know, I got my driver’s license as soon as I could 16 I didn’t get a car, probably till I was a graduate student. I was in school. But I do remember in high school, I didn’t have a car, but a lot of people who had cars were cool. I wasn’t cool, because I didn’t have a car. But, I mean, one of my favorite statistics in this, in this in this book, and I, part of it wasn’t part of its in the prize. But in the 1950s, it was said that 40% of marriages were proposed in automobiles. Now, it said that 30% of marriages and long term relationships result from online meeting online. And I think that basically social media has brought this sense of freedom, that you still owning an automobile used to have that. You know, still for many people, it’s significant, but it’s not you know, It’s not It’s not the sign of, you know, growing up getting independent of your folks. You don’t get independent of your parents much earlier online.
Robert Bryce 57:08
And so your first car was
Daniel Yergin 57:11
a it was a
used Volkswagen station wagon. Uh huh.
Very, very used
Robert Bryce 57:17
to the old squareback the station wagon. Yeah. And what do you drive now?
Daniel Yergin 57:22
I drive a Volvo. No,
Robert Bryce 57:27
no electric vehicle for you.
Daniel Yergin 57:28
Not not like, you know, I when it comes to technology, personally, I’m sort of not an early adapter. I mean,
but, and I,
you know, IHS market. Our company just did this thing that the average us car stays on the road now 12 years. And I realized one of our cars is nine years old and one is 10 years old. So you know, it’s but you know, cart you know, people hang on to their cars.
Robert Bryce 57:56
Yeah, mine are older than that.
Daniel Yergin 57:58
What do you drive
Robert Bryce 58:00
Well, we have three vehicles in our driveway, which we don’t drive much. Yes, staying at home pretty much all the time. But I have an old Toyota pickup as 2006 I have a 2005 four runner and then at 2012 accurate TSX. So they’re all
Daniel Yergin 58:15
Robert Bryce 58:16
They all work fine. And I drive them less now than before. But, you know, I like them and I’m not gonna buy an Eevee
Daniel Yergin 58:24
you don’t feel that you need to be cool and get a really new a new car every year
Robert Bryce 58:29
when I can’t afford it for one and what if I if I could have Well, I could afford it if I wanted to, but then just have a new car sitting in the driveway. Yeah, exactly. old cars.
Daniel Yergin 58:40
Every one of our cars, that’s 10 years
old has 6000 miles on it.
Robert Bryce 58:47
6000 miles on a 10 year old car.
Daniel Yergin 58:49
Yeah. So we don’t, you know, live in the city. And just, you know, to do short
sort of short drives. Don’t do that much.
I mean, one of the things that we’re looking at at IHS market is gasoline demand, which went down 50% in April in the US. And now it’s kind of plateaued, found 17 or 18%. Because people aren’t driving and it raises the question, you know about community, right? People be driving to work every day or not, you know, many people won’t know.
Unknown Speaker 59:25
Robert Bryce 59:26
Well, and you bring up that was one of the questions I wanted to bring up, because what’s interesting about your book, and the way you shape it, is that you say, Okay, well, here’s the case. And here’s this history of electric vehicles. And here’s how Volkswagen is saying they’re gonna roll out all these new vehicles, but then, and you talk about the new mobility revolution, and about how much the much discussed energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. But then you say, in the conclusion that that oil will maintain a preeminent position as a global commodity, still the primary fuel that makes the world go round This is based on quoting again on the reality of all the investment already made lead times for new investments and investment in innovation supply chains, its central role in transportation, the need for plastics and you go on. So is it fair to say oil is here to stay?
Unknown Speaker 1:00:13
Daniel Yergin 1:00:15
You know, I think it’s now 32% of World Energy, its share of total world energy will decrease. But I think it will remain the preeminent commodity, because of all the things that that you’ve just cited from the new map in terms of, you know, the automobile fleet. I mean, our estimate currently is that today, they’re 1.4 billion cars by 250 2050. There’ll be perhaps 2,600,000,000 of them will be electric, and 1.4 will still run on on gasoline. So I think the energy transition
I mean, it’s going to happen, I think it’s going to happen over a considerably longer period of time. Then Some of the objective, you know, some of the goals that have been set now suggest?
Robert Bryce 1:01:04
Well, let me follow up on that, because that was one of the questions right after that, which was that this idea about the green new deal has been very appealing. And there’s a lot of talk about, oh, well, we’ll go to net zero by 2050. I just looking at the BP numbers, you know, like you I like to, you know, look at the at the statistics. I think the hydrocarbon share of global primary energy has fallen three percentage points in three decades.
Daniel Yergin 1:01:27
Yeah. 84% of global demand. Yeah. So I mean, what, you know, what did like Europe has that goal by 2050, zero, net zero carbon, that really means rebuilding your economy. So people right now say, well actually be easier because low interest rates, governments can spend more money. The other hand, we’ve just seen that the US ratio of debt to GDP is now 100%. It’s, it’s equivalent to World War Two and it will go higher than it was in World War Two. So Governments are going to be constrained in finance. And so, you know, I think, I think it won’t be clear that a lot of this will become clear. And I’ll be looking sort of next spring, as presumably there’s a vaccine in place. And we started to see life really returning to normal to see how these things are going to play out. So I think, you know, I think to make judgments now is premature in the midst while we’re still in the midst of a crisis that has proved more protracted than had been expected.
Robert Bryce 1:02:29
Well, so just a few more things that I want to talk about because that you you that green New Deal, the the appeal of renewables, why is that allure so strong? You know, the hatred of the oil and gas industry is strong and Robert, renewables is in remarkably strong, great,
Daniel Yergin 1:02:45
you’ve just finished a great book and lectricity I’m going to and you’ve spent three or four years looking at that. I’m going to ask you that question.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:53
Well, why Robert?
Robert Bryce 1:02:56
I think it’s there’s a romanticism of the past. I think it’s this idea of Oh, well, we can get everything we need here from above ground, right? And we can just harness the sun in the wind and that those are more wholesome somehow than looking underground that it doesn’t require mining. So I think it’s a it’s a couple of things, right, this kind of return to the garden, I think is part of it. Right that there’s some religious connotation here about if we only go I mean, it’s even in the, in the in the beginning of sentences in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, right at one time man lived in harmony with nature, and there’s somehow this identity about a belief that somehow we’ve been sinful. And that was one of the things that I thought was, was really interesting because you talked about this too in the it toward the end of the book, you talk about flight shaming. It you said it’s a big deal in China, but in Sweden rather, but China is building eight new airports a year. So that was one of the questions I wrote down for you is this as the West game the guilt complex over energy, I mean, this is what we hear. I get a ton of Bergen so on.
Daniel Yergin 1:04:01
It is it is if you’re a rich society you, you can think in those terms. But But I think if you’re a developing country and you’re you’ve been poor, India, China, many other countries, it’s a different thing.
I think that, you know, there’s
no question about the shale revolution has been a solar revolution costs of solar and wind have come down, they’re competitive. You have government policies supporting them. But I do say there that if we move more into that era, we’re going to move into a new era of big shovels, because you’re going to need a lot of mining. And I think one of the things that I’m researching now, other supply chains are a net zero carbon future. I mean, what do you need in terms of raw materials? These, you know, and if you look at an electric car has a lot of plastic in it. Where does plastic come from? oil and gas? Sure. So
you know, I think people are
I think you’re Common is very interesting describing it. And I and I think it is a need to look at this holistically. Wind and Solar will certainly be a bigger part, as you know, as you as you note, and you know, electricity, but it will, but I think the energy system is basically going to be a mixed system. And, you know, there are other things that will be important, like carbon capture and so forth of it.
Robert Bryce 1:05:23
So, we talked a lot about pipelines crossing international borders, but there was something you don’t really discuss in your book, but I’m just curious to get your views on it because I’ve looked at the IAEA statistics on this. There’s there compared to oil and gas trade and the cross border trade in electricity is really very small. Um, you know, enter European Europe has an interconnection, we have interconnections in the US with with with Canada and Mexico. Why is it much electricity? creped trading across borders? Why don’t we have lots of high voltage transmission lines moving across borders?
Daniel Yergin 1:05:55
Well, I think there’s controversy about who’s been efforts to bring high voltage you You probably know the details. You know, from Canada and the United States and so forth. There’s, there’s opposition to energy infrastructure. I think also countries,
Robert Bryce 1:06:12
you know, you’ve written about the centrality, the evergrowing, centrality electricity, and countries worry about dependence. So I think that’s part of it, too. And it has to do with, you know, how you’re generating your electricity and where, but, you know, electricity. You know, one of the takeaways from your book is electricity is a matter of national security and economic security. So you talk about in the end right at the In fact, it’s one of the closing lines in your book about a fragmenting global order. Is the US in decline and who what are the countries that you think are going to be the ones that emerged from this in a stronger position?
Daniel Yergin 1:06:49
I think one of the things as I was writing the book that really hit me is how important the 2008 2009 economic crisis was, because that was a moment When the US model for economies was suddenly called into question because that crisis started in the heart of the US economy, and as and China was the first country to, to actually come out of that crisis, and, and Chinese, you know, if you look at Chinese sources, they really see that as a major turning point. So I think it’s to some degree discredited, you know, US leadership, obviously, you know, we’ve, right now our relations with our allies are pretty fractious, fractious, you know, yet those Alliance systems are very important a source of strength for the United States.
but I think, on the other hand with the US has gained from is, you know, technology or technology leadership, but you certainly see China challenging that and a kind of a fragmenting of the supply chains that both China and the United States did. ended upon. So, you know, maybe things will look different a year from right now, right now, but I think, you know, the US is clearly in a more powerful position because of its energy position, the flexibility to have some foreign policy, and so forth. So, you know, in some ways, but but, you know, I think we’ve lost influence in trade. And go back, I think the relationship with Europe, Japan, these countries is a source of strength for the United States.
Robert Bryce 1:08:30
So less last two things. Thank you. And so, who are the energy analysts or publications You follow? I know you’ve got a big organization. So you probably follow a lot of your own other guests another way but who are you reading? Who do you follow?
Daniel Yergin 1:08:45
Well, I guess I don’t follow specific people. I follow sources. So it’s quite a wide range, both public and private sources. Journalism. You know, I read Read oil daily every day international oil daily, I love the monthly energy review from the Department of Energy. So, you know, kind of a host of, of sources. And of course we have, you know, IHS market, we probably have 800 energy researchers. So I’m certainly following what they’re doing.
Robert Bryce 1:09:21
Sure. So last question, then Dan. And again, talking to Daniel Yergin about his new, his new book, the new map, energy, climate and the clash of nations. What gives you hope?
Daniel Yergin 1:09:36
I think, you know, I’m an optimist by nature.
I think that what gives me hope, is actually looking at what technology has done over the last couple hundred years. And that there’s no you know, it’s hard to edit in that we will find, I think to address the issues that are heading and climate and all these other issues depends upon technologies that haven’t yet been developed or deployed? So I think I think that’s it. And, you know, yeah, that you know, and that rationality will prevail.
Robert Bryce 1:10:12
Well, that’s good, good place to stop. So, thanks to all of you for tuning into this edition of the power hungry podcast, my guest has been Daniel Yergin, his book, The new map, it’s available on all of the outlets. I’m sure all over the world are all over the country, you can find it your local bookstore. Daniel, thank you very much for being with us. And hope we can talk another day out there in podcast land tune in, if you like this one, go to rate this podcast.com slash power hungry and give us one of those fancy ratings on that thing. So again,
Daniel Yergin 1:10:47
Bob, let me go ahead. Maybe what do you want to do? Because I wanted to just say, let me say something and then we could, maybe quicker. Okay, Rob, Robert, thank you very much for having me on power hungry. I’ve great respect admiration for what you’ve been writing about energy, including your new book on the question of power so very much appreciate this opportunity to sit down with you and talk about the new map and the new world of energy. Thank you.
Robert Bryce 1:11:13
Well, that’s very kind. Thanks. Okay. Well, thanks again to all of you out there. Tune in next time for the next edition of the power hungry podcast.