The connection between reliable sources of energy, global prosperity and security has profoundly impacted international relations since before the industrial revolution.
According to James Clad, consultant and distinguished research fellow at the National Defense University, "energy is inextricably part of a contemporary society."
As dependent as we are on oil in the United States, it's commonly known that a shift away from petroleum-based energy could dramatically impact our economy and way of life. Clad says petroleum based economies are very mobile and agile, private vehicles let us go from point A to point B without relying on large expensive infrastructure. Which is why economies like ours find it hard to completely do away the use of hydrocarbons.
"It's not a world that's saying, 'we can't change.' But it's a world that's saying, let's supplement our energy sources in other ways rather than pushing back." says Clad.
He says subtle changes are happening in the reduction of petroleum use and coal-related carbon emissions, specifically in Pennsylvania.
James Clad is speaking this week at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh on the topics of the geopolitics of energy.