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The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World Hardcover – September 20, 2011
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“Mr. Yergin is back with a sequel to The Prize. It is called The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and, if anything, it’s an even better book. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date… The Quest will be necessary reading for C.E.O.’s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, tech geeks, thriller writers, ambitious terrorists and many others… The Quest is encyclopedic in its ambitions; it resists easy synopsis.” — Dwight Garner, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“[A] sprawling story richly textured with original material, quirky details and amusing anecdotes... The tale is generously sprinkled with facts debunking common misperceptions, and Mr. Yergin sagely analyzes how well the energy industry really works.” — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“[An] important book… a valuable primer on the basic issues that define energy today. Yergin is careful in his analysis and never polemical… Despite that, The Quest makes it clear that energy policy is not on the right course anywhere in the world and that everyone—on the left and the right, in the developed and the developing world—need to rethink strongly held positions.” — Fareed Zakaria, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Mr Yergin’s previous book, The Prize, a history of the global oil industry, had the advantage of an epic tale and wondrous timing… The Quest, as its more open-ended title suggests, is a broader and more ambitious endeavour… The Quest is a masterly piece of work and, as a comprehensive guide to the world’s great energy needs and dilemmas, it will be hard to beat.”
— THE ECONOMIST
“It is a cause for celebration that Yergin has returned with his perspective on a very different landscape… [I]t is impossible to think of a better introduction to the essentials of energy in the 21st century. In Yergin’s lucid, easy prose, the 800 pages flow freely… The Quest is… the definitive guide to how we got here.” — THE FINANCIAL TIMES
“The Quest is a book—a tour de force, really—that evaluates the alternatives to oil so broadly and deeply that the physical tome could double as a doorstop… It is best read slowly, perhaps one chapter per day maximum, if the goal is to actually absorb the rich detail and sometimes complicated workings described by Yergin.” — USA TODAY
“The book then takes us on an exploration of the energy industry and its history, touching down in so many remote corners of the globe, filled with such a huge cast of sinister business magnates, visionary scientists, political scoundrels and con men that it sometimes reads like a novel.” — LOS ANGELES TIMES
"This fascinating saga is the definitive book on the most important of global issues, the quest for sustainable sources of energy. Dan Yergin, the prominent energy expert of our times, weaves together security and environmental concerns to explain the system we have toady and to analyze the sensible paths forward. This is one book you must read to understand the future of our economy and our way of life." — Walter Isaacson, author of STEVE JOBS and EINSTEIN
"The Quest by Daniel Yergin, one of the world's most experienced and influential authorities on global energy, may well become the definitive work on the science, history, and economics of this most complex and important subject. This masterful and illuminating book on one of the most vital issues of our time, one that will powerfully influence international politics, economics, and nations worldwide, should be essential reading for policymakers everywhere." — Dr. Henry Kissinger, author of ON CHINA
"In the magisterial style of his earlier global narrative of energy politics, The Prize, Daniel Yergin has again delivered a sweeping, authoritative account of the science, economics, and geopolitics of energy. His writing, as ever, is clear and intelligent, and his subject could hardly be timelier." — Steve Coll, author of THE BIN LADENS and GHOST WARS
"The Quest superbly captures the great questions of energy and security that face our nation in this risky world. Daniel Yergin identifies the key issues, demonstrates their urgency, and lays out the choices. He does so with such deep expertise and with such vivid narrative writing as to make this book both important and compelling. It can help us see our way to a safer and sounder energy future." — Senator Richard Lugar, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
About the Author
Daniel Yergin is one of the most influential voices on energy in the world and a highly respected authority on energy, international politics and economics. He is a recipient of the United States Energy Award for “lifelong achievements in energy and the promotion of international understanding.” Dr. Yergin received the Pulitzer for The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, which became a number one best seller and was made into an eight-hour PBS/BBC series seen by 20 million people in the United States. He is chairman of I HS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the leading research and consulting firms in its field. He serves as CNBC’s Global Energy Expert.
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In general, the author is apolitical. He advocates two principles.
First, he does advocate that the use of the market forces to control the development of energy production and transportation as well as the control of the environmental impact. Although there is a need for government to use taxpayer money to fill the gaps were the market does reach (for example the US government seeded self-sustaining cooperatives to provide rural power generation / transportation which greatly improved agricultural and other remote industries as family homes), in general, command economies are inefficient since they are subject to market forces. Second, he advocates the use of all forms of energy: the traditional forms: oil, gas (all forms), geothermal, hydro, and nuclear (no carbon footprint), and the growing alternatives: solar, wind, and biomass. Diversification reduces the community's risk in the market and encourages competition. Gas is cheaper now and 1/2 of coal's carbon footprint but it was not always so. Changing technology and government regulations and it may make coal cheaper to the point it can not be ignored again. Thus, do not convert the coal fire plant but build a gas one. Do not close the nuclear plant or dismantle dams but encourage the wind and solar farms.
He is careful to point out to two dynamics with in current energy status.
1. Scale. Wind and solar are limited in their scale and predictability. Thus, their value is in being a supplement to the traditional forms that produce are mass scale, all the time, and in all weather such as coal, gas, hydro, and nuclear. When the wind blows and the sun shines, they will provide the energy grid with power and the gas / coal plants reduce production. When the wind dies and sun does not shine, the traditional plants increase.
2. All Electric Cars. The prediction of all electric cars is daunting to implement. First, there is no real infrastructure for electric cars when not at home or in the car pool. Even apartment dwellers do not have a place to re-charge and service stations cannot support a large electric fleet quickly with rapid recharge or battery swaps. Second, the electric production may have to double to replace the gas internal combustion engine. The analysis is that hybrid and all-electric will replace gas cars but not completely and not everywhere, especially remote areas with limited energy grids. In these places it is easier to carry your gas versus plugging in.
I'll admit, the book is not an easy read (at least for me). It's a long text that goes into great detail about some of our most important issues. However, the people talking about the book's 5 sections not "flowing" or being related to each other, overlook that Yergin wrote the book with the intent that each section need not be read in order. However, if you give this book your complete attention and commit to reading it carefully, you will be exposed to one of the best explanations of today's political and economic world. As a student, I feel that this book should be the staple for anyone studying business, economics, political science, engineering, finance, history, science, etc.
The Quest, along with The Prize, is a must read for anyone looking to grasp where we as society have been, where we are, and where we are going.
The author believes we have an adequate supply of oil and he lays out his reasoning. While I was a believer in Peak oil before reading the book, I now can see why we likely have enough for a long time. Not forever perhaps. But a long time. The reason? New and expanding technology that makes finding the oil and getting it easier and more reliable and, more importantly, possible.
And what about the future? "What are the prospects for the future? One answer is drawn from an analysis using a database that includes 70,000 oil fields and 4.7 million individual wells, combined with existing production and 350 new projects. The conclusion is that the world is clearly not running out of oil. Far from it. The estimates for the world's total stock of oil keep growing. The world has produced about 1 trillion barrels of oil since the start of the industry in the nineteenth century. Currently, it is thought that there are at least 5 trillion barrels of petroleum resources, of which 1.4 trillion is sufficiently developed and technically and economically accessible to count as proved plus probable reserves. Based upon current and prospective plans, it appears the world liquid production capacity should grow from about 93 million barrels per day in 2010 to about 110 mbd by 2030. This is about a 20 percent increase."
-- Susanna K. Hutcheson