Redrawing the World's Energy Map

A new generation of unconventional fossil fuels is taking hold thanks to new technologies that are expected to diversify global resources away from the Middle East. 

What's the Latest Development?

Recent developments in energy technology have opened new sources of unconventional fossil fuels that may benefit consumers and the global balance of power: Deep-water offshore drilling for oil is becoming common place around the world; production and refinery of petroleum in Canada's oil sands is increasingly economically viable; a glut of shale gas has been harvested across the U.S. in recent years and China, too, is looking to benefit; big oil and gas companies are increasingly exploring the high Arctic. 

What's the Big Idea?

Relatively inexpensive fossil fuels located outside the Middle East stand to benefit consumers and the foreign policies of powerful nations but at what cost to the planet? Cheap fossil fuels will slow the implementation of renewable technologies and, worse, the newest sources "are dirtier and release more carbon pollution in the process of extracting and using them." Without aggressive government subsidies in our current time of austerity, renewable energies will struggle to compete with new fossil fuel sources. 

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Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
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Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
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