There is little that is actually ground-breaking in “The Quest”; rather, what rocks the ground under our feet is the weight of Yergin’s authority. As the highly-paid analyst for energy corporations and international leaders, Yergin consistently dampens the alarmist calls of observers who bemoan dwindling oil supplies, the human responsibility for climate change, or the importance of conservation technology. He has often been accused of being a voice of the establishment; however, his impeccable data and analysis appear beyond reproach. In “The Quest,” he places this reputation in the field of energy – like a gambler’s tall stack of chips – on transition.
At the root of our energy moment, Yergin explains, is a fundamental realization of “how important energy is to the world.” By creating a portrait of the varying factors that compose the “globalization of energy demand,” Yergin is unequivocal in his assessment of the challenges facing energy-reliant nations.
No environmentalist paean, “The Quest” intimates that this shift serves as an opportunity for investors. “If this is to be an era of energy transition,” Yergin writes, “then the $6 trillion global energy market is ‘contestable.’ That is, it is up for grabs among the incumbents – the oil, gas, and coal companies that supply the bulk of today’s energy – and the new entrants –such as wind, solar, and biofuels – that want to capture a growing share of those dollars.” Readers will picture Yergin, the insider, in a low voice, sharing with them his vision of a remarkably different energy future. It is powerful stuff.