Synopses & Reviews
Praise for The Grand Energy Transition
"In The Grand Energy Transition, Robert Hefner makes a compelling and persuasive case that our country's economic, environmental, and national security demands the rapid transformation of the global economy from a high-carbon model to a low-carbon one. Drawing on a wealth of firsthand experience in the national energy policy debate and in the energy industry itself, Hefner traces the history of the world's energy use, points us toward where we need to go next, and demonstrates how natural gas and clean renewable sources of energy can play critical roles in getting us there."
—John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
"If you care about the future, you must read this book."
—Ted Turner, founder, CNN, and Chairman, Turner Enterprises
"The Grand Energy Transition offers a compelling yet practical vision for solving the world's energy problems. Robert Hefner has broken the mold of conventional wisdom by arguing that the road to a low-carbon future is lined with natural gas—and by persuasively refuting the widely-held assumption that 'clean' coal will prove an economically viable alternative."
—Christopher Flavin, President, Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C.
" For years, Robert Hefner challenged the conventional wisdom in industry and government regarding natural gas reserves and production potential. His position was treated with skepticism, when it was not dismissed out of hand. Yet, time has proved him right, particularly as shale gas has contributed to a 9% jump in domestic production in just this last year. He was proved right on the Fuel Use Act. Some of his propositions regarding the (unavoidable) energy transition will be questioned, but they surely should no longer be dismissed out of hand."
—James R. Schlesinger, Economist and former U.S. Secretary of Energy, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and former CIA Director
"This work, written by someone with a long and distinguished career in the energy business, is a very thoughtful and practical account of how the world can move to abundant energy which is clean and sustainable. It shows that low-carbon growth across the world can become a reality in the next few decades. This is a very important book."
—Nicholas Stern, Lord Stern of Brentwood, KT, FBA, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, London School of Economics
"As a successful businessman and international real estate developer, I know the economic and environmental importance of energy. Robert Hefner, with over fifty years of hands-on experience in the complex world of energy production, consumption, and politics has written a groundbreaking book that cuts through the confusion and shows us a clear, common sense path forward. His concept that The Grand Energy Transition is choosing the energy winners is critically important. America does not have time for energy losers."
—Donald J. Trump
"A bold look at the downside of green technologies and a host of refreshingly simple substitute solutions."and#8212;Kirkus
"What set Zehner's work apart from the glut of other environment-related titles are his fresh ideas and superlatively engaging prose."and#8212;Carl Hays, Booklist Online
"With chapter subtitles like "Step Away From the Pom-Poms" and epigraphs from the likes of Dr. Seuss, Zehner is a delightful apostate in the church of green energy."and#8212;Sarah Rothbard, slate.com
"This book is a must read for anyone concerned with sustainable living."and#8212;Daniel J. Benor, International Journal of Healing and Caring
"All Americans should read this book."and#8212;K. J. White, Choice
"As a nation, we have hard decisions before us. We need to find actual, tangible solutions that will make a real difference. Our path begins with critical thinking and informed choices. This book helps us get started."and#8212;Jonathan Hladik, Great Plains Research
In this visionary book, leading energy industry executive Robert Hefner puts forth a convincing case about how the world can move beyond its current dependence on oil and move toward a new era of clean, renewable energy. Hefner argues that we are in a transitional phase from liquid fuels to gas fuels and the management of the transition is critical to our economy, national security, and environmental health. Hefner views increased use of natural gas as a critical bridge to a long-term future in which gas fuels such as hydrogen, wind, and solar mark the beginning of what he calls, The Age of Energy Gases. Hefner points out that even without policies to encourage natural gas; natural gas has been the fastest growing primary source of energy during since the 1970s. More provocatively, he argues that natural gas reserves are far greater than commonly accepted and points out that gas reserves have been consistently underestimated by oil and coal industry interests. At the same time, many environmentalists lump oil and natural gas together when, in fact, natural gas is a much cleaner and environmentally safe fuel. Written with the knowledge and authority of a major player in the energy industry, Hefner relates how misguided government policies and vested industry interests contributed to our current energy problems and he advocates a variety of federal government measures should be enacted to discourage the use of gasoline, coal, and biofuels and encourage natural gas, solar, wind, hydrogen, and nuclear fusion. A well-written and engaging book that mixes personal anecdotes and experiences with insightful analysis, The Grand Energy Transition is a powerful, realistic argument about how we can best solve our energy problems.
A groundbreaking book on solving our growing energy problems
In this visionary book, leading energy industry executive Robert Hefner puts forth a convincing case about how the world can move beyond its current dependence on oil and toward a new era of clean, renewable energy.
Written with the knowledge and authority of a major player in this industry, Hefner relates how misguided government policies and vested industry interests have contributed to our current energy problems and proposes a variety of measures that could encourage the use of natural gas, solar, wind, and hydrogen.
- Convincingly makes the case that natural gas is the essential bridge fuel to a new era of clean, renewable energy sources
- Details how natural gas can help break our oil and coal dependency
- Offers a sweeping, historic picture of the world energy situation
- Presents a compelling and provocative case that natural gas is key to our short-term energy problems
A well-written and engaging book that mixes personal anecdotes and experiences with insightful analysis, The Grand Energy Transition is a powerful argument about how we can best solve our toughest energy problems.
Today, humanity is in an energy and climate crisis of our own making. While we are all now aware of how American banks and financial institutions overleveraged our financial system, few people are aware that since the 1970s, we have also been leveraging our economic growth by consuming energy at less than the full-cycle cost. We have altered and placed in grave danger our economy, environment, and the security of our societies by the energy we use. The magnitude of the crisis—even the crisis itself—has been hidden from our view. It will be the awareness of this economic, environmental, and societal crisis that will become the driving force of civilization's next evolutionary step, the one taking us to sustainable life and growth on Earth.
This book describes our ongoing Grand Energy Transition—the GET: a one-time, evolutionary step for humankind. The GET is the transition between the unsustainable solid energy sources of our past and the virtually limitless, clean sustainable energy sources of our future.
The Grand Energy Transition tells how the GET is creating a clear and irrevocable energy path forward, and how the GET itself reveals the most likely energy winners and losers. Energy industry insider Robert Hefner makes the case that America is blessed with abundant, affordable supplies of natural gas that can be scaled up in the near term to become the bridge fuel to our energy sustainable future and that these supplies—supplemented by Alaskan natural gas and the world's liquefied natural gas—are adequate to fuel at least half of our vehicle fleet for decades to come, and to replace our oldest, inefficient coal-fired electric power generation, as well as all new electric power needs not met by wind, solar, and nuclear.
This timely book is not intended to answer the millions of good questions about energy use and our energy future that need answering, nor is it a text about the details of energy production and consumption. Rather, it introduces a new way to look at the evolution of energy within civilization and, with this understanding, forecast the best possible comprehensive solution to today's formidable energy problems and our path forward to a new era.
We donand#8217;t have an energy crisis. We have a consumption crisis. And this book, which takes aim at cherished assumptions regarding energy, offers refreshingly straight talk about whatand#8217;s wrong with the way we think and talk about the problem. Though we generally believe we can solve environmental problems with more energyand#8212;more solar cells, wind turbines, and biofuelsand#8212;alternative technologies come with their own side effects and limitations. How, for instance, do solar cells cause harm? Why canand#8217;t engineers solve wind powerand#8217;s biggest obstacle? Why wonand#8217;t contraception solve the problem of overpopulation lying at the heart of our concerns about energy, and what will?
This practical, environmentally informed, and lucid book persuasively argues for a change of perspective. If consumption is the problem, as Ozzie Zehner suggests, then we need to shift our focus from suspect alternative energies to improving social and political fundamentals: walkable communities, improved consumption, enlightened governance, and, most notably, womenand#8217;s rights. The dozens of first steps he offers are surprisingly straightforward. For instance, he introduces a simple sticker that promises a greater impact than all of the nationand#8217;s solar cells. He uncovers why carbon taxes wonand#8217;t solve our energy challenges (and presents two taxes that could). Finally, he explores how future environmentalists will focus on similarly fresh alternatives that are affordable, clean, and can actually improve our well-being.
Watch a book trailer.
About the Author
Robert A. Hefner III is founder and owner of GHK Exploration (www.ghkco.com), a private natural gas exploration and production firm. He pioneered ultradeep natural gas exploration and production, led the development of innovative technology needed to successfully drill and produce many of the world's deepest and highest pressure natural gas wells, and was a leader in the industry's successful efforts to deregulate the price of natural gas. Hefner is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, a Fellow National of the Explorers Club, a member of Singapore's International Advisory Panel on Energy, and a member of the International Council at the Belfer Center at Harvard University. He is an Advisory Director of the Center for a New American Security. Hefner and his wife, MeiLi, initiated and support the Hefner China Fund, which has brought rising young Chinese government officials to study in the fields of energy, culture, and foreign policy at the National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Hefner holds a petroleum geology degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Inextricable Link between Energy and the Economy.
Chapter 1 The Beginning.
Chapter 2 The Grand Energy Transition.
Chapter 3 The Conception of the GET and How It Works.
Chapter 4 Rise of the Age of Energy Gases, Decarbonization, and Slowing of the GET.
Chapter 5 How the 1970s Misconception of Natural Gas Scarcity Changed America’s Energy Mix for Decades.
Chapter 6 Natural Gas—The Bridge Fuel to Our Sustainable Future.
Chapter 7 Natural Gas Abundance.
Chapter 8 My Historical Grounds for Natural Gas Abundance.
Chapter 9 The Real Inconvenient Truth.
Chapter 10 Our Energy and Climate Challenge—Los Angeles, A Case Study.
Chapter 11 What Won’t Work; What Will Work.
Chapter 12 Policies to Accelerate the GET.
Chapter 13 The Age of Energy Gases: America’s and China’s Opportunity.
Chapter 14 Crisis and Opportunity.
About the Author.