By David Roberts
There are finance and business journalists who cover energy as a commodity business, tracking global supply and demand flows, prices, futures trading, all that sort of stuff. There are business and tech journalists who focus on cleantech. There are environmental journalists, who tend to cover energy (when they do it) through the lens of enviros vs. polluters. And there are political journalists who cover energy as a campaign and/or policy issue, sometimes as a specialty, more often as part of a portfolio.
There are journalists who straddle more than one of these tribes, but they are fairly rare — mostly what you have is a blind men and elephant situation. Each tribe has its own ambit, tropes, and habits of thinking, which persist through sheer vocational inertia.
What I’d like to see in all these varieties of energy journalism is a little bit more systems thinking, a greater sense of context. Humanity’s relationship with energy is changing in fundamental ways and lots of the familiar frames for energy coverage no longer make much sense, or at least are woefully inadequate.
Here are the three great energy challenges of the 21st century: