Russia refuses to curtail support for armed separatists in Ukraine; China refuses to abandon its base-building endeavors in the South China Sea; the Islamic State movement refuses to capitulate in the face of U.S. airpower. What is a declining superpower supposed to do in the face of such defiance?
Among the big energy stories of 2013, “peak oil” -- the once-popular notion that worldwide oil production would soon reach a maximum level and begin an irreversible decline -- was thoroughly discredited. The explosive development of shale oil and other unconventional fuels in the United States helped put it in its grave.
Don’t imagine for a second that we're headed for an age dominated by renewable energy. Instead, humanity is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas.
China’s determination to assert control over disputed islands in the potentially energy-rich waters of the East and South China Seas spells trouble not just regionally, but potentially globally.
In the way he has engaged in the geopolitics of oil as part of an American struggle for dominance among the major powers, President Obama’s global energy policies bear an eerie likeness to former Vice President Dick Cheney's.
The world still harbors large reserves of petroleum, but they are of the hard-to-reach, hard-to-refine, “tough oil” variety that will be more costly to extract, refine and buy at the pump.
In 2012 and beyond, energy and conflict will be bound ever more tightly together, lending increasing importance to the key geographical flashpoints in our resource-constrained world.