The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

by Daniel Yergin
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The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin

This long-awaited successor to Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer Prize- winning The Prize provides an essential, overarching narrative of global energy, the principal engine of geopolitical and economic change.

Renowned energy authority Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Prize, in this gripping account of the quest for the energy the world needs-and the power and riches that come with it. A master storyteller as well as one of the world's great experts, Yergin proves that energy is truly the engine of global political and economic change, as well as central to the battle over climate change. From the jammed streets of Beijing, the shores of the Caspian Sea, and the conflicts in the Mideast, to Capitol Hill and Silicon Valley, Yergin takes us inside the decisions and choices that are shaping our future. Without understanding the realities of energy examined in The Quest, we may surrender our place at the helm of history.

One of our great narrative writers, Yergin tells the inside stories-of the oil market, the rise of the "petrostate", the race to control the resources of the former Soviet empire, and the massive corporate mergers that transformed the oil landscape. He shows how the drama of oil-the struggle for access to it, the battle for control, the insecurity of supply, the consequences of its use, its impact on the global economy, and the geopolitics that dominate it-will continue to shape our world. He takes on the toughest questions-will we run out of oil, and are China and the United States destined to conflict over oil?

Yergin also reveals the surprising and turbulent history of nuclear, coal, electricity, and natural gas. He investigates the "rebirth of renewables"-biofuels and wind-as well as solar energy, which venture capitalists are betting will be "the next big thing" for meeting the needs of a growing world economy. He makes clear why understanding this greening landscape and its future role are crucial.

Yergin further brings climate change into unique perspective by offering an original and unprecedented history of how the issue went from concerning a handful of scientists, terrified of a new Ice Age, to one of the overarching issues of our times.

The Quest presents an extraordinary range of characters and a panorama of dramatic stories that illustrate the principles that will shape a robust and flexible energy security system for the decades to come. It is an extraordinary achievement from an author who is truly one of our nation's great resources.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594202834
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2011
Pages: 816
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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 IHS 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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Quest 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Daniel Yergin's The Quest is likely to become the standard introduction to energy in classrooms, boardrooms, and living rooms across America. It is a valuable primer for the educated reader that simply wants to learn more about energy, and an excellent refresher for those already familiar with the field. The Quest begins with a survey of the recent evolution of the world of oil. Yergin has an unparalleled understanding of the significance of historical events and turning points for the modern industry. He narrates and analyzes the collapse of the Soviet Union, Asian Financial Crisis, Hugo Chavez's "Bolivarian Revolution," and China's surge in energy demand together with other critical junctures for world oil markets. Yergin shows how the fortunes of nations and the global economy rise and fall with the price of oil. He then moves on to the topic of energy security -- how hurricanes, crisis in the Persian Gulf, heatwaves, earthquakes and unexpected technical failures can have cascading social consequences. The Quest then branches out beyond oil -- providing a history of the modern electrical system and a survey of some of the major choices confronting policymakers and industry leaders today. Its analysis of nuclear power is timely -- especially in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Understanding oil and the world of electricity is essential for understanding the second half of the book -- which focuses on climate change and renewable energy. Yergin's Quest offers an illuminating history of the science and of climate change and the policy reaction to climate change. The story commingles a familiar cast of characters (Margret Thatcher, Al Gore, Dwight D. Eisenhower) with a less well known group of scientists, policy entrepreneurs, eccentrics and environmental leaders. Finally, The Quest chronicles the "mini-histories" of emerging energy fields -- wind power, solar electricity, etc. He shows how they are changing the economics, geopolitics, and carbon profile of our energy system. Each vignette has a hint of the drama that Yergin brought to the oil sector in his Pulitzer Prize winning volume The Prize. There are two areas that bothered me about The Quest. First, it is very long. Fortunately, one does not have to read The Quest serially to enjoy its individual sections. Second, Yergin is reluctant to take the energy industry to task for its intransigence and irresponsibility on environmental issues. (For a biting critique of the energy industry see Naomi Oreskes "Merchants of Doubt." A more measured book is Spencer Weart's excellent volume "The Discovery of Global Warming.") Despite these shortcomings, The Quest is an unparalleled resource for understanding the modern energy world. Given its scope, it is actually a fairly concise introduction to our energy future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rarely do I write reviews of books I read, movies I watch, restaurants I eat at, etc. Although I occasionally read reviews prior to purchasing, I felt the need to post one for this book. The professional reviews I read were all good so I thought I should give it a read. The book did not disappoint. My background is not in the energy industry but I understand that in the world we live in is changing and that there are 3 cornerstones to that change: energy, security, and innovation. Dan Yergin writes about all three in such an easy-to-read way that I found myself turning page after page (full disclosure: I would not categorize myself as an avid or fast reader). So I would say for the average person, this is a must read. I was assigned to read "The Prize" about 5 years ago and was blown away. Not the dull, boring, history lesson one would expect. Yergin's writing style and deep/respected knowledge of the oil and energy industry allows the average reader such as myself to learn and absorb through the stories he tells. The Quest is no different. A must read if you are interested in learning how we got here and where the world is going.
NatGivens More than 1 year ago
We just know that oil makes the world go round, value of money crash and the nations warring with each other. However, in this book we shall see the significance of its history, where it began and its alternatives. A very informative book for adults.
TomMcAndrew More than 1 year ago
This is a most timely successor to Daniel Yergin's earlier book on energy, "The Prize". Anyone concerned about our energy future should not hesitate to read "The Quest".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best way to learn the history and probable future of energy for the population of the world and how it will impact all of us.
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willyvan More than 1 year ago
This remarkable book covers the whole subject of energy, its history, science, economics and politics. Yergin examines oil, coal, gas (both conventional and unconventional), nuclear power, climate change, the electric age, new energies, and roads to the future. He notes, “In a carbon-conscious world, nuclear power’s great advantages are not only the traditional ones of fuel diversification and self-sufficiency. It is also the only large-scale, well-established, broadly deployable source of electric generation currently available that is carbon free.” US nuclear plants require a licence from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate. These licences were originally granted for 40 years. In 1995 the end of the 40 years was coming into view for many plants. Without extensions, US nuclear supply would have shut down. In the mid-1980s, the USA’s nuclear plants worked at only about 55 per cent of their capacity. Now they work at more than 90 per cent of capacity. Yergin points out, “The operating record of the nuclear industry had clearly improved, and substantially so. In fact, companies were coming to the commission to request permission for power upgrades, above what had been their maximum output, because of their increased efficiency. In support of license extension, the NRC launched a crucial new initiative to update the safety system that governed the industry, using new tools and capabilities.” So the Commission extended licences for another 20 years. Germany’s nuclear plants supply a quarter of its electricity. In 2010 a new law extended their life by another 12 years. By contrast, here in Britain, the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive will force the closure of 9.8 gigawatts of oil- and coal-fired generation – 12 per cent of our total capacity - by the end of 2013. The fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, issued in 2007, said that the Himalayas’ glaciers, including the Gangroti which feeds the river Ganges, would vanish by 2035, ‘if not sooner’. By contrast, India’s Environment Ministry said that the Gangroti was ‘practically at a standstill’. It turned out that the 2035 date was from a 1999 phone interview with a scientist who later denied ever giving any date! In 1979 President Carter forecast that 20 per cent of US energy would come from solar power by 2000. But by 2010, renewables accounted for just 8 per cent of US energy supply: 1.5 per cent from solar and wind, 6.5 per cent from hydropower and biomass. The fifth fuel is often said to be energy efficiency. A fine example is Japan’s 1998 Top Runner programme which finds the most efficient appliance of its kind, then requires that all such appliances exceed the efficiency of that ‘Top Runner’ by a specified date – as a result, TV sets, for example, improved by 26 per cent between 1997 and 2003. It is not always possible to be self-sufficient economically, particularly for energy sources, but it is possible to be independent, that is, as self-reliant as possible, dependent on no one supplier, by using a diversified range of sources - oil, gas, coal, renewables and nuclear. To rebuild Britain, we need more R&D, consistent, long-term thinking planning and investment, and security and sustainability of energy.
JMarsd More than 1 year ago
The book is good not necessarily groundbreaking but good with a lot of info in it, almost too much. I'd recommend it with 4 stars but do think there are a lot of excess words for something that could have been made in point in a lot less. There are parts that are just cumbersome. Still worth it.
harriettzayac More than 1 year ago
I did not like the book that much maybe because the plot is kind of confusing and some of the characters were not that interesting.