Energy Security

Energy Security: Economics, Politics, Strategies, and Implications

Carlos Pascual
Jonathan Elkind
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 279
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  • Book Info
    Energy Security
    Book Description:

    Energy security has become a top priority issue for the United States and countries around the globe, but what does the term "energy security" really mean? For many it is assuring the safe supply and transport of energy as a matter of national security. For others it is developing and moving toward sustainable and low-carbon energy sources to avoid environmental catastrophe, while still others prioritize affordability and abundance of supply. The demand for energy has ramifications in every part of the globe -from growing demand in Asia, to the pursuit of reserves in Latin America and Africa, to the increased clout of energy-producing states such as Russia and Iran. Yet the fact remains that the vast majority of global energy production still comes from fossil fuels, and it will take a thorough understanding of the interrelationships of complex challenges -finite supply, environmental concerns, political and religious conflict, and economic volatility -to develop policies that will lead to true energy security. In Energy Security,Brookings scholars present a realistic, cross-disciplinary look at the American and global quests for energy security within the context of these geopolitical, economic, and environmental challenges. For example, political analysts Pietro Nivola and Erin Carter wrap their arms around just what is means to be "energy independent" and whether that is an advisable or even feasible goal. Suzanne Maloney addresses "Energy Security in the Persian Gulf: Opportunities and Challenges," while economist Jason Bordoff and energy analyst Bryan Mignone trace the links between climate policies and energy-access policies. Carlos Pascual and his colleagues examine delicate geopolitical issues. Assuring long-term energy security remains one of the industrialized world's most pressing priorities, but steps in that direction have been controversial and often dangerous, and results thus far have been tenuous. In this insightful volume, Brookings assesses exactly what we're talking about, what it means in several contexts, and where we go from here.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0191-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Daniel Yergin

    As cochair, with Senator Richard Lugar, of the Energy Security Initiative Advisory Council, I am very pleased to presentEnergy Security: Economics, Politics, Strategies, and Implicationsas our debut publication. Today’s challenges and unfolding events underscore the timeliness and relevance of this volume, which seeks to explicate the major issues underlying the need for a new approach to energy security—geopolitical tensions, energy interdependence, and climate change—by bringing together thoughtful essays from scholars representing a cross-section of Brookings’s core research programs, each of whom has expertise in aspects of the energy security dilemma. While each chapter can stand on...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Energy is at the heart of economic development in every country. It moves us and powers our factories, government and office buildings, schools, and hospitals. It heats homes and keeps perishable foods cold. Its centrality explains its complexity. Energy is the source of wealth and competition, the basis of political controversy and technological innovation, and the core of an epochal challenge to our global environment. This book presents a collection of chapters on the theme of energy security. In this volume, the contributors seek to promote thoughtful analysis and healthy debate about different aspects of energy security through examination of...

  5. PART ONE Geopolitics

    • CHAPTER ONE The Geopolitics of Energy: From Security to Survival
      (pp. 9-36)

      Since the industrial revolution, the geopolitics of energy—who supplies and reliably secures energy at affordable prices—has been a driver of global prosperity and security. Over the coming decades, energy politics will determine the survival of life as we know it on our planet.

      The political aspect of energy, linked to the sources of supply and demand, comes to public attention at moments of crisis. When unstable oil markets drive up prices and volatility hinders long-run investment planning, politicians hear their constituents protest. But energy politics have become yet more complex. Transportation systems, particularly in the United States, are...

    • CHAPTER TWO Energy Security in the Persian Gulf: Opportunities and Challenges
      (pp. 37-58)

      Two small news items juxtaposed on a single page of a Qatari newspaper in February 2008 offer a trenchant synopsis of the opportunities and challenges facing Middle Eastern states and by extension U.S. involvement in the region. One article details efforts to settle a series of strikes by expatriate laborers in Bahrain with an offer to raise salaries by $40 per month. Situated just below is a second piece, which details the record-setting price—$14 million—paid for a vanity license plate at a charity auction in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).¹ Between those extremes lie the promise and the...

    • CHAPTER THREE How Much Does the United States Spend Protecting Persian Gulf Oil?
      (pp. 59-72)

      How much does the United States spend on its military to defend the Persian Gulf region and, more specifically, to ensure the stable and orderly production of oil in and the flow of oil out of that region? Since the articulation of the Carter Doctrine in the 1970s, protection of the Persian Gulf has been a formal element of U.S. defense strategy. Even more vividly, in recent decades the United States has fought two major wars in and around Iraq and has maintained continuous military vigilance toward Iran.

      The cost question is central in comparing the costs and benefits of...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Who’s Afraid of China’s Oil Companies?
      (pp. 73-102)

      Who’s afraid of China’s national oil companies? Quite a few people, if the reaction to the unsolicited offer made by China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd. (CNOOC Ltd.) for Unocal is any guide. The furor that erupted inside the Beltway in response to CNOOC Ltd.’s bid to break up the merger between Unocal and Chevron highlighted the anxiety that many U.S. policymakers, pundits, and oil companies harbor about the growing global footprint of China’s national oil companies (NOCs). The objections raised by opponents of CNOOC Ltd.’s attempted acquisition are rooted in popular perceptions of the Chinese NOCs’ international expansion. The...

  6. PART TWO Understanding Energy Interdependence

    • CHAPTER FIVE Making Sense of “Energy Independence”
      (pp. 105-118)

      Some of us are old enough to remember Richard M. Nixon proclaiming that “our national goal” should be “to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign sources.”¹ All of us, old and young, ought to be startled that, thirty-five years later, it remains hard to find a leading U.S. politician who does not champion more or less the same strange notion. Regrettably, that has included two of the nation’s most sensible political leaders, President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. Both of their campaigns repeatedly lamented the nation’s “dependency” on foreign oil.

      One purpose of a presidential...

    • CHAPTER SIX Energy Security: Call for a Broader Agenda
      (pp. 119-148)

      When he ran for office eight years ago, George W. Bush pledged to usher in a new day in U.S. energy security. He pilloried the outgoing Clinton-Gore administration for allowing an energy crisis to take shape. He promised to reduce reliance on foreign oil and complained that the United States had no comprehensive energy policy.¹ More than eight years later, with the new administration of President Barack Obama in office, the problems facing the United States in relation to energy are no less challenging. Global oil prices reached new all-time highs in the summer of 2008 before dropping precipitously as...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Global Governance and Energy
      (pp. 149-182)

      Over the past several years, energy policy has assumed a prominent role on national policy agendas around the world. Yet there has been remarkably little effective coordination across borders on energy issues. In the absence of such coordination, it is unlikely that any national government will be able to develop and sustain energy policies that can balance the competing objectives of affordable energy services, reliable supply, environmental sustainability, and geopolitical security.

      There is no single overarching international organization that is mandated to address any one of the collective action issues that energy policy poses, and that is not accidental. Rather,...

  7. PART THREE Climate Change

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Features of Climate-Smart Metropolitan Economies
      (pp. 185-208)

      Meeting the climate challenge requires the leadership of metropolitan America. The 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, which comprise two-thirds of the nation’s population and account for nearly three-quarters of its economic activity, are responsible for much of the nation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.¹ At the same time, metropolitan America is the traditional locus of technological, entrepreneurial, and policy innovations. Its access to capital and a highly trained workforce has enabled it to play a pivotal role in expanding U.S. business opportunities while solving environmental challenges. With supportive federal policies, metropolitan areas can provide the climate-smart leadership required...

    • CHAPTER NINE Understanding the Interaction between Energy Security and Climate Change Policy
      (pp. 209-248)

      The related topics of energy security and climate change have risen rapidly to the forefront of the U.S. policy agenda. High gas prices topped Americans’ list of economic concerns in early and mid-2008, when prices hit an all-time high. Nine of ten Americans said that they expected energy prices to cause them financial hardship in the near term,¹ and even after energy prices fell in late 2008, surveys found that the question of energy prices remained a high concern.² At the same time, the ongoing conflict in Iraq and concerns about conflict and instability from Nigeria to Iran to Russia...

    • CHAPTER TEN Five “G’s”: Lessons from World Trade for Governing Global Climate
      (pp. 249-268)

      Reversing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the world’s $60 trillion economy will be among the most complex international governance challenges ever, rivaling the forty-year effort to dramatically reduce tariffs and establish a rules-based trading system. Given that nearly fifteen years have passed since the completion of the last global trade pact, it is easy to forget that the World Trade Organization (WTO) stands tall among the great successes of global governance precisely because it was able to accomplish what it set out to do despite the difficulties involved. A counterpart institution—a global system to address climate change—can...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 269-270)
  9. Index
    (pp. 271-279)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 280-281)