Executive Perspective: Daniel Yergin On The Puzzle Of Energy Transitions

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Executive Perspective: Daniel Yergin On The Puzzle Of Energy Transitions

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Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 3:45pm

CONTENT: Article

By Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman, IHS, USA; Oil & Gas Community Leader 2012, World Economic Forum

Every year, the World Economic Forum’s Energy Vision tackles a major theme in the energy arena. In Energy Transitions: Past and Future – Energy Vision 2013 the topic is the energy mix – its evolution over time and the challenges for the next transition.

This we accomplish through the essay that runs as the core through the work and through the Perspectives of distinguished contributors that provide different views of future energy transitions. Previous energy shifts have unfolded over decades, the result of the gradual development and adoption of new technologies and new uses, and of relative prices and usefulness. But it was only after the 1970s that the focus on energy transitions became more explicit – because of a new quest for energy security, a rising environmental consciousness, the spectre of permanent “shortage,” and the assumption that prices would remain permanently high, damaging economic growth. (To provide a framework on these shifts, we include the World Energy Timeline, derived from The Quest, which depicts chronologically how energy transitions have unfolded.)

Today there is a renewed and much more intense focus on what kind of energy transition might be ahead and what the timing might be. Two factors have converged to generate this focus. The first is the concern about climate change and the traction of carbon policy in many countries and international forums. The second is the worry that the current energy mix will not prove adequate to meet the rapidly growing energy needs of emerging market nations. The shifts in the balance within the mix will have direct consequences for all participants in the world’s energy industry – incumbents, new entrants and innovators, governments and, of course, for all the peoples of the world.

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Keywords: Energy | Energy | Thomson Reuters | Thomson Reuters Sustainability | daniel yergin | energy transitions | sustainability

CONTENT: Article