Today’s episode with Dan Yergin explores America’s shift away from fossil fuels, looking at the very real domestic and geopolitical implications of shuttering coal plants and transitioning to green energy. Pivoting away from U.S. energy independence has not made the country energy progressive; rather, it has set Americans up for reliance on adversarial energy sources, encouraging strategic allies to import from Russia and China instead. Promoting wind and solar alternatives does not dramatically lower resource usage; it simply shifts from a world of big oil to a world of big shovels, as an enormous quantity of rare earths and minerals are required. Then there’s the fact that the technology to store wind and solar energy does not yet exist. So, how can we think about climate change, resources, geopolitical strategy, and security… practically?
Yergin is the vice-chairman of SandP Global, a director of the Council on Foreign Relations and a trustee of the Brookings Institution. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, for his book The Prize. His newest book is The New Map.