The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Brown Jobs Spread Internationally

For all the talk of a “green century” fueled by renewable resources, lower energy consumption, and ambitious carbon-trading programs, the most significant energy developments of the 21st century so far have been in the brown sector, thanks to advances in techniques like fracking and deep-water drilling. Via Meadia has been closely following these developments .

Many of these techniques got their start in America, and the U.S. remains at the leading edge of them, but increasingly the brown energy revolution is going global. Yet these developments are not confined to the Americas. The New York Times recently profiled energy developments in Mozambique, where European energy companies are taking advantage of new technologies to fuel an energy boom. Industry insiders have speculated that offshore drilling in Mozambique alone could make the country a larger oil producer than Norway, currently the EU’s leading producer. And following early success in Mozambique, companies now have projects underway in nearby Tanzania and Kenya, where more reserves likely await extraction.

Good news for brown has been bad news for the greens. As the Times profile points out, discoveries of new gas deposits have pushed prices down, making it harder for green energy sources to compete. Many renewables already depended on government subsidies to remain competitive; lower gas prices will only make them more so. And as cash-strapped governments look for budget cuts, these subsidies will make for an enticing target.

Published on April 11, 2012 1:00 pm
  • Jim.

    The best news of all in some ways is the erosion of the power of OPEC’s Old Guard.

    Now to figure out how to prevent yet another Resource Cursed tyranny from forming…

  • Atanu Maulik

    One of the basic mistakes that the greens make is to assume that if they can somehow prevent America from drilling, then the oil and gas will stay underground. They are too blinded by their green faith to realize that the rest of the world does not share their parochial obsessions. The fact is, if America doesn’t drill, someone else will.