Book Review: The New Map - Gökberk Bilgin

If you are a person that has an interest in the current developments of the energy sector in different commodities and you have a lack of information, this might be the book to start reading. Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer winning author and worldwide known energy expert, published his new book, The New Map: Energy, Climate, and The Clash of Nations, in September 2020. The book discusses the world’s current energy issues by focusing on different regions such as United States, Russia, China, and the Middle East. After that, it focuses on technological developments in electric cars, robotics, and hydrogen. Finally, he discusses the energy transition projects and what awaits us in the future.

Daniel Yergin has an extraordinary way of explaining complicated issues in a broad range from technical details of oil and gas issues to foreign policy motivations of related countries in a simple way. His narrative helps readers to digest information regardless of prior knowledge. In the first part of the book, Yergin explains the recent shale developments in the United States. He focuses on how and why the shale sector’s developments happened and how it has completely changed the world. While explaining these issues, Yergin uses each major company’s stories that played a role during that period. The chapter is beneficial for anyone who is interested in the US Shale Revolution and its impact on American society. After I read this chapter, I do not think that limiting fracking in the United States will be a policy as it is stated in Biden’s campaign since the operations are tied with many other sectors in the American economy. The investments in these sectors are meant to be designed as long term, and the United States will use its power on being as a major oil and natural gas producers. The role of oil and natural gas would remain important in the next few decades if a major technological breakthrough did not happen.

After discussing the United States, the book focuses on Russia and China cooperation and how the economic rise of China shapes the relations with Russia that are facing setbacks with western countries through sanctions. Other major issues of the South China Sea and Belt and Road Initiative is also being discussed in the book. In these chapters, the author gives the historical background and the motivation of the countries following current policies. A similar analysis was also made for the Middle Eastern countries. Here we see how the terrorist groups are formed and affected energy issues throughout the 20th and 21st centuries and how the OPEC countries and Russia dealt with the shale revolutions.

After discussing the conventional energy sources, Yergin moves on with technological innovations and provides information about electric cars, robotics, and how technology evolved businesses. Finally, the author discusses the climate issues and energy transition by giving similar historical examples from previous meetings between the countries.

Discussing too many and very broad subjects in the same book allows Daniel Yergin to build a map and unite the pieces, and it helps readers to connect the links between the topics that seem not very relevant at first sight, which is the outcome of a global and interdependent world.

Overall, Daniel Yergin provides a macroeconomic perspective of energy developments by showing micro-details from different parts of the world. As a person who is interested in the energy sector, I already know some parts of the book due to my previous readings, yet I learned many small important details along the way as well. In the parts where I did not have prior information, it was pleasant to understand the topics easily with Yergin’s explanations.

In the future, I believe that the book will be used in many studies regarding the geopolitics of energy issues as a reference point and help researchers to build advanced analyses that will help us understand the world.

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