Beyond Slogans, Security

By January 25, 2007Energy

Following up on the Blogger-in-Chief’s post about Red Cavaney’s views on “energy security,” we note the insightful column earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal by Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. (Yergin is best known as author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power,” a comprehensive history of the oil industry.)

In his Journal op-ed, Yergin observes that “energy independence” has become a rallying cry that may lead the country toward ill-conceived policy choices. The column is now available on the Cambridge website here, with this on-point preface.

With geopolitical turmoil, volatile prices, and continuing reminders of the international political power of oil, the concept of “energy independence” is compelling and deeply appealing. But what does “energy independence” mean for the United States, a $13 trillion economy that uses the equivalent of 50 million barrels of oil every day? …CERA Chairman Daniel Yergin argues that if independence is presented as self-sufficiency, it will likely fall flat. Dr. Yergin says that the concept of energy security–resilience, robustness, reduced vulnerability–combined with diversification of supplies, energy conservation, and technological innovation, illuminates a more constructive path. And since isolation from global energy markets is not realistic, it is also essential to recognize that international trade and understanding foster national and global energy security.

Resilient? Robust? We use those terms all the time at the NAM to describe manufacturing’s energy needs.

Yergin’s prescriptions eschew political sloganeering to reflect the demands of a real-world economy. It’s an outstanding column. Read the whole thing.