The New Map | Daniel Yergin

Summary of: The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations
By: Daniel Yergin


Embark on an enlightening journey through the intricate web of geopolitics and energy as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin unravels the connections between nations, energy sources, and global power dynamics. In ‘The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations’, Yergin delves deep into the impressive transformation brought about by the US revolution in shale oil and gas, its impact on the global energy market, and the strategies adopted by different countries, including Russia, China, and those in the Middle East, to secure their position. As we move towards a sustainable future, prepare to discover the pivotal role of energy in shaping global geopolitics, ‘net zero carbon’ aspirations, and the interplay between climate, energy, and politics.

Energy and Geopolitics

Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book examines the interplay between energy and global politics. By exploring the economic and military dynamics among countries and their energy supplies, Yergin shows how shifting patterns of energy extraction and distribution have transformed global power dynamics. He highlights the US shale oil and gas revolution, which made it the main exporter in the world. Praised by NPR and The Wall Street Journal, this illuminating book provides readers with a better understanding of how the world works in regards to energy and its impact on governments, economies, and societies.

Geopolitics of Energy

Energy plays a vital role in the global power dynamic between nations, as explained by Yergin. The United States’ energy position has shifted remarkably due to advances in shale oil and gas extraction, which has placed it at the forefront of energy markets. However, Yergin emphasizes that a nation’s energy power in the future will depend on its ability and willingness to move towards “net zero carbon” emissions. Renewables are also playing an increasingly important role in the global energy mix, changing the face of global energy flows and altering the geopolitical landscape.

Russia’s Rise Through Oil and Gas

In the book, Daniel Yergin explains how the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the 90s left Russia with a weakened economy and population. Yergin links Putin’s aim to establish Russia as a global power to its oil and gas reserves, which provide the foundation for the country’s financial stability. He argues that these resources make Russia a significant player in the world economy. According to Yergin, Russia’s oil production has hit an all-time high, matching that of the Soviet Union. Overall, Russia has shifted from economic vulnerability to economic resilience, as Yergin establishes in the book.

Yergin’s Original Take on US-Russia Relations

In “The New Map,” Daniel Yergin explains how the deterioration of US/Russian relationships stemmed from Russia granting Edward Snowden asylum in 2013 and how Putin’s visit to China in 2014 strengthened their power and energy partnership. Yergin views this as a straightforward relationship compared to the complicated dealings between the US and Russia. Yergin’s analysis offers a unique perspective on pivotal moments that have influenced the dynamics between these two global powers.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Oil

Saudi Arabia and Iran’s long-standing animosity has its roots in oil. While religion and politics do play a role, oil and its distribution remain central to the conflict. Iran, in particular, miscalculated the effects of Western oil sanctions, which ultimately led to discussions with the US about nuclear capabilities. These talks, according to author Yergin, were predicated by Iran’s realization of its underestimation of US shale oil production.

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