White Paper on Energy Security and Global Warming
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. These last two decades of climate diplomacy have been filled with ambitious goals – such as limiting the increase in the average global surface temperature to 2ºC above pre-industrial levels – but not many bold actions.
The last 20 years have also seen massive changes in the world’s energy system and markets, with large impacts on energy security. Yet, in reality, the policies needed to boost energy security are fragmented and often missing. Moreover, the supply of primary fuels and technologies has struggled to keep up with a tectonic shift in the global economy and energy demand from highly industrialized “West” to booming emerging economies, especially in Asia.
In recent years, it has become popular to link climate change and energy security. The linkage, it is thought, will raise the political prospects for serious action on climate change. This paper explores this linkage. It reflects the deliberations of a team of experts who work in business, government and academia, and have extensive experience on matters of energy security. The analysis suggests that the growing popularity of linking energy security and climate change is rooted more in tactical political goals than in a real understanding of exactly how and where these two issues are linked. Getting serious about linking these two issues requires rethinking policy in both spheres, especially in climate change.