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The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World (英語) ハードカバー – 2011/9/20
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Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year
In this gripping account of the quest for the energy that our world needs, Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Prize. A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change. It is a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them. From the jammed streets of Beijing to the shores of the Caspian Sea, from the conflicts in the Mideast to Capitol Hill and Silicon Valley, Yergin takes us into the decisions that are shaping our future.
The drama of oil-the struggle for access, the battle for control, the insecurity of supply, the consequences of use, its impact on the global economy, and the geopolitics that dominate it-continues to profoundly affect our world.. Yergin tells the inside stories of the oil market and the surge in oil prices, the race to control the resources of the former Soviet empire, and the massive mergers that transformed the landscape of world oil. He tackles the toughest questions: Will we run out of oil? Are China and the United States destined to come into conflict over oil? How will a turbulent Middle East affect the future of oil supply?
Yergin also reveals the surprising and sometimes tumultuous history of nuclear and coal, electricity, and the "shale gale" of natural gas, and how each fits into the larger marketplace. He brings climate change into unique perspective by offering an unprecedented history of how the field of climate study went from the concern of a handful of nineteenth- century scientists preoccupied with a new Ice Age into one of the most significant issues of our times.
He leads us through the rebirth of renewable energies and explores the distinctive stories of wind, solar, and biofuels. He offers a perspective on the return of the electric car, which some are betting will be necessary for a growing global economy.
The Quest presents an extraordinary range of characters and dramatic stories that illustrate the principles that will shape a robust and flexible energy security system for the decades to come. Energy is humbling in its scope, but our future requires that we deeply understand this global quest that is truly reshaping our world.
“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
では、上流部門（upstream sector）に属さない、下流部門（downstream sector）の日本は・・・”節約・効率“の分野で取り上げられているに過ぎない。
The Quest begins with the familiar, and all too ubiquitous, energy source, oil. Following on from The Quest, Yergin examines the new developments within the oil industry, such as the return of Russia to the scene, the resource race around the Caspian, the rise of super majors, and the impact of conflict upon the oil market, specifically the Iraq war, and the tensions with Iran.
In the following chapters, Yergin examines nuclear power, and how events such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and most recently the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan have led to a popular and political backlash against nuclear power. The variety of renewable energy sources are examined, along with carbon neutral energy sources such as bio-mass, ethanol and natural gas. An entire chapter is devoted to the impact of climate change, although this chapter is rather familiar, and somewhat one-sided.
The real strengths of The Quest are the insights given to recent developments, such as Shale Gas and the process of Fracking, and the rise of major gas powers such as Qatar. The problems such as the slowness of the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and the logistics and opposition such processes arouse may be entirely familiar to those who follow current affairs, however the strength of this work is that it is included within a comprehensive and wide ranging study.
The conclusions may be unsurprising, namely that the current outlook of the doubling of energy consumption is unsustainable under current trends, and a diversification is necessary. The main requisite, we learn, is incentives, which is demonstrated in the case of Japan, wherein the nations lack of resources has spurned diversification and energy efficiency.
Not a doomsaying or pessimistic work by any account, as a wealth of opportunity and potential is explored within its pages, pointing to a positive conclusion that energy blackout is entirely avoidable providing change is embraced.
The main strength of The Quest is that it leaves no stone unturned, and no issue neglected. What one has within these pages is perhaps the widest, most inclusive, and comprehensive study of the modern world of energy, which is essential reading for all, regardless of ones familiarity with the subject.
There are also many individual stories and protagonists magnificently related such as the natural monopoly in the form of the vertically integrated utility which combined generation, transmission, and distribution within the borders of a single company invented by Samuel Insull or the mega merges that unfolded between 1998 and 2002 representing the largest and most significant remaking of the structure of the international oil industry since 1911. Or major scientific breakthroughs such as the catalytic converter, which assured a thorough burn of the gasoline and thus much reduced smog-inducing emissions. By the end of the 1990s, the smog -causing emissions coming out of the tailpipe of a new car were only 1 percent of what they had been in the 1970s; 99 percent had been eliminated.
And finally there are projections for the future: the cost for building the new electricity capacity the doubling of growth between 2011 and 2030 is currently estimated at $14 trillion- and rising. But that expansion is what will be required to support what could be $130 trillion economy compared to $65 trillion in 2011. And what degree can such an economy, which depends presently on carbon fuels for 80 percent of its energy,move to other diverse energy source? the answers are far from obvious.
One of the many things I liked is the fact that fossil fuels are not the only options available, i.e. there are alternatives to fossil fuels and they are coming, not as quickly as we would like but they will evolve and become the norm in the future. That is one of the many conclusions that can be drawn from this wonderful book. The fact that a good part of the book is dedicated to these technologies is the best example of the aforementioned. The consequences are starting to be evident. Look in the World Bank web site [...] at the electricity consumption of the USA in the last three years versus the GDP. Although GDP has grown the electricity consumption has not. This is mainly due to energy efficiency, one of the topics mentioned in the book. Last year in the USA the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) set the standards for increasing the fuel efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5mpg by Model Year 2025, again energy efficiency. All in all we can get a pretty good picture of the energy industry now and the possible trends in the future.
This book does not tell you what the next main sources of energy will be, as the author is not an oracle, he left the door open to many possibilities and I agree with that as throughout history the business of predicting what the next "big thing" will be has been pretty awful. I particularly think there will be a mix of energy sources depending of the resources available in each region and electricity will significantly reduce the use fossil fuels for transport and mobility as it did many years ago with the lighting. There may be technologies that we do not even know now and that have not even been invented. I totally agree with what Mr. Ahmed Zaki Yamani said: "the Stone Age came to and end not for lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but no for a lack of oil." And as Mr. Bjorn Lomborg said in his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist": "We stopped using stones because bronze and iron were superior materials, and likewise we will stop using oil, when other energy technologies provide superior benefits." Just to finalise this point, the main use of oil when the first well gushed in Titusville in 1859, was for lighting purposes. I am 100% sure that few people think nowadays of using kerosene for lighting, unless they are camping in the wild and even so I have got my doubts.
The oil industry has done a magnificent job in innovating and creating technologies to make the upstream and downstream oil/gas possible in places that thirty years ago were impossible, and that is also mentioned in this book. Likewise all the usual geopolitics involved in the energy industry as well as the rise of China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies that are reshaping the demand for energy. Climate change is also mentioned in a way easy to understand and mainly in a way that shows how it affects us all. I was well impressed by how the author linked the scientific breakthroughs and inventions to the energy industry, as they were the foundations of many international companies such as General Electric, Siemens, Westinghouse, First Solar, Ford, Suntech, Vestas, etc. From Thomas Edison to General Electric and Siemens, from Albert Einstein to SolarTech/Q-Cells/Suntech and so on.
All in all a great book to read if you are seriously interested in the energy industry. I said seriously, because there are a lot of pages to be read... well, if you read The Prize you will read The Quest without any problem.
Whether you are experienced with the energy business or a newcomer, the book provides you with insight and knowledge on most aspects of the energy business. Mr Yergin takes the reader through both historical developments and modern-day dilemmas in the world of energy, and has an exceptional ability to provide high-level context combined with details knowledge on more technical aspects.
Ranging from geopolitical issues in the Middle East and increasing energy demand in China to the politics of climate change and the technical difficulties of commercialising solar powar, Yergin has written a clear and jargon-free book that is a true masterpiece in the the energy world's library. In short, a truly remarkable book.
Only bad point is that it is extremely US centric. At one point it talks about the first solar farm in history, that was built copying an existing Israeli design.
If you're looking for a good tour of the energy industry, this is a very good place to start.