Background: France will be hosting and presiding the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, from November 30th to December 11th:
In previous blog entries, the need for transforming the energy regime complex was discussed. This short essay further elaborates on what should be kept in mind when looking at the institutional framework.
In contrast to logic believe, the school of International Relations has hardly begun to think of institutional design as a valuable field of research and discussion. Mainly, because the sovereignty-based structure, in which states are (in theory at least) of the same hierarchical order, a higher order is barely intended. Or in the words of the father of constructivism, Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy makes the international system among the least hospitable of all social systems to institutional solutions to problems, encouraging actors to rely on power and interests instead”. But yet, Wendt continued “designing institutions has been a big part of what foreign policymakers actually do.”
For Policymakers: What should be considered in view of institutional design?
Opt for a World Energy Organization?
In the first post on …let there be light it was argued that change in the energy regime complex is required to address challenges of the 21st century. It was further highlighted that Policies must accelerate, intensify and help make the implementation of these changes possible, widespread and affordable. In this regards, the status of renewable energy is particularly essential.
Reforming the Energy Regime Complex – the case for renewables
Growth in renewables has been driven by several factors, including renewable energy support policies and the increasing cost-competiveness of energy from renewable sources. In many countries, renewables are broadly competitive with conventional energy sources. At the same time, growth continues to be tempered by subsidies to fossil fuels, particularly in developing countries.
Reforming the Energy Regime Complex – Change for the 21st century_ Part I
Energy is essential for human development and energy systems (or the energy regime complex – as this blog has continuously referred to it) are a crucial subject of access for addressing the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century, including poverty eradication, food production and security, health, climate protection, conservation of ecosystems, peace and security, and last but not least sustainable economic and social development.
Little doubt about required transformation
For addressing these issues adequately, a major transformation is required to avoid potential catastrophic consequences in any of the above mentioned themes, or in the “world system” at large. Most future scenarios demonstrate the importance of the energy regime and systems in addressing and resolving the major challenges of our time. The good news is that strategies have identified to have the potential to resolve the multiple challenges (or many of them) simultaneously and bring mutual and multiple benefits. But as usual, their successful implementation requires determined, sustained and immediate action and political will and courage.
Previous Developments – the Basis of where we are today
Around 2005 a significant rise of oil and gas price brought changes in geopolitics. The price rise back than (which lasted until beginning of 2009 – just to collapse and rise again thereafter until just recently, see graph) had different reasons – but all led to disruptions in supply. Reasons that where only significant in its accumulation. There was the downfall of oil/gas industry in Venezuela, there was the turmoil in the Niger Delta, then there were the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which destroy or interrupted much of the refinery industry in the Gulf of Mexico, and last but not least there was the war in Iraq and the sanctions on Iran. On the demand side, China’s rise and its demand for energy made a big impact as well.
Change in Energy Regime Complex due to focus on managing externalities of environmental damage and resource conflicts.
Energy is often said to be the basis of modern society, as it enables us to fulfil our basic human needs and it powers the world economy. Yet, the energy path we are currently on is clearly unsustainable.
Most elements of the regime have arisen as a response to some widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo—such as the disruptions in western economies following the Arab oil embargo or the disruptions in expected revenues in OPEC members following the periodic collapse of their cartel discipline, or take the current dispute between the EU and Gazprom. Perhaps, now the dissatisfaction arisen from unsustainability itself.
The regime complex that exists has emerged from a variety of different strands of diplomatic, economic and technological activity.
Short answer: Leave the general EU – Russia tensions aside, the EU has legitimate energy security concerns.
Just one week after a similar case with Google, the European Commission (EC) has charged Gazprom with abusing its dominant market position in Central and Eastern European gas markets – and hence, was breaking EU anti-trust rules. It added Gazprom may have limited its customers’ ability to resell gas, potentially allowing it to charge unfair prices in some EU member states.
Gazprom rejected the Commission’s objections, calling them “unfounded”. “Gazprom strictly adheres to all the norms of international law and national legislation in the countries where the Gazprom Group conducts business,” the company said in a statement.
The map indeed indicate the tendency of higher Gazprom in EU countries that are highly depended on Gazprom.