Securing a reliable, affordable supply of oil has long been a cornerstone of U.S. national security strategy. But as the global economy begins a slow transition away from fossil fuels in an effort to avert devastating climate change, the geopolitical calculus around energy is shifting.
In a world that uses no oil and gas, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other fossil powerhouses could lose much of their wealth and leverage, and the US might have less incentive for military or diplomatic interventions in the Middle East. But even if decarbonization is aggressively pursued, that world is still many decades away, according to the International Energy Agency. Meanwhile, the energy transition could actually benefit some legacy fossil producers—and present new security challenges.