The world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts. At first glance, these upheavals appear to be driven by their own idiosyncratic circumstances. But look more closely and they share several key characteristics -- notably, a witch's brew of ethnic, religious, and national antagonisms that have been stirred to the boiling point by a fixation on energy.
Even as Obama pursues a new public effort to fight global warming, his administration is quietly advancing an energy policy that may well raise the volume of climate-increasing greenhouse gases, while at the same time polluting U.S. communities through increased use of the controversial practice of fracking.
The ongoing debate over the potential removal of an export ban on crude oil that could finally open global markets to U.S. crude oil supply would also challenge existing data collection and analysis practices, all at a time when access to energy is a key component of global security and U.S. geopolitical power.