2012: A Very Big Year in Energy

In oh so many ways it was an unedifying year: reaffirmation of U.S. political deadlock, an even worse political sclerosis in Europe, ghastly atrocities in Syria, a festering war in Afghanistan. But in energy, 2012 was a very very good year indeed--at least if you were a U.S. citizen.

This was the year in which it became clear not only that the United States has a real shot at energy independence, after 40 years of just talking about it, but that the U.S. strength in energy gives the country an economic edge across the board. For this blogger, the message first came through loud and clear at a New York Times energy conference, inspired by a new book from energy guru Daniel Yergin, The Quest.

The implications, though vast, are not hard to list.

One already has played out: Presidential candidate Romney tried hard to play the energy hand, but President Obama held all the cards.

Another was the theme of the Times energy conference: the United States now is at an advantage vis-a-vis virtually all other countries, including China and India.

A third, as yet virtually unstated, is the United States can now afford to adopt an aggressive greenhouse gas reduction policy and has no excuse not to. Incoming Secretary of State John Kerry has his work cut out for him.

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