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Nexus between politics and energy
Politics and energy enjoy a close relationship in the sense that leaders will always try to secure safer sources of energy for their citizens, as it is known to determine the success of the economy. The state is concerned with the way energy is utilized since it might result in environmental degradation. This forces many countries to explore the best alternatives that guarantee sustainability (Graves, Ebbesen, Mogensen, & Lackner2011, p. 18). The global regimes concerned with energy use and distribution call on states to stick to commerce when dealing with energy matters instead of mixing it with politics, but it seems the pleas are ignored given the fact many states draft their foreign policies with energy sources and consumption is one of the major factors.
Currently, the United States and its European allies have been urging Russia to separate politics from energy (Aalto2012, p. 112). In one scenario, the German minister in charge of foreign affairs suggested that energy should not be used as one of the sources of obtaining power in the global system. The US vice president claimed further that oil and gas should not be the tools of intimidation and blackmail the way Russia and Arab countries have been utilizing it to force the world to abide by their defective policies. A state with oil deposits controls the distribution by manipulating the market, creating a monopoly, and controlling transportation channels (Smith 2004, p. 58).
Threats posed by energy
Energy is an issue of concern to many states since it poses both short-term and long-term threats to national security. Without sufficient energy policies, the state would be unable to achieve its desired interests, as energy supply determines the performance of the economy in the sense that it is needed for transportation, health delivery, and communication. Research conducted in the United States established that each calorie of food produced in the industry consumes at least ten calories of oil and gas, which is often in form of stimulants, insect killer, packaging, transportation, and operating the machines (Lovins 2011, p. 36). Therefore, the economy is expected to stagnate without sufficient energy policies. Studies show that the department of defense is more reliant on energy as compared to any other, as it spends over seventy-seven percent of its resources on oil and gas. Based on this, political leaders are always in constant talks to reduce overdependence on a single imported source of energy implying they aim at increasing the number of suppliers.
For some states with economic capabilities, they are concerned with exploiting the native fossil fuel, as well as renewable sources of oil and gas, which reduces domestic demand (Komor 2004, p. 89). Because of uncertainties surrounding energy distribution and consumption, each state is forced to enter into an international agreement to facilitate a constant supply of energy and strengthen relations with the suppliers. The Energy Charter Treaty in Europe is an example of an international accord that serves to guarantee the frequent supply of energy. After the oil disaster of 1973, which paved way for the emergency of the OPEC interest group, many states were forced to reassess their power alternatives. In Japan, the government had to introduce natural gas and nuclear power since it relied heavily on imported energy, which affected the performance of its economy (Pearson & Eisaman2012, p. 10). In the United Kingdom, the regime had no option but to make use of the North Sea Oil and other gas deposits in various parts of the kingdom to drive the economy.
Views of Shaffer
According to Shaffer (2009, p. 21), politics and energy are inseparable since they are intrinsically linked to one another in the sense that the state’s ability to access quality power supplies and the ability to utilize it is a determinant of the economic performance, the security, and the sustainability of development where environmental conservation is given priority. The author notes further that the global society is a hydrocarbon man. The way goods are produced and wars are fought is determined by fossil fuels. In an attempt to explain the nexus between energy and politics, the author makes several assumptions, including the following:
- Energy and politics are inseparable because the security policies, as well as the foreign policies of many states, are dependent on oil supply and consumption
- The continuous utilization of energy interferes with the structure of global politics since it brings about the idea of interdependence where a state cannot claim to be self-sufficient leading to a postulation that oil is a global commodity and its supply affects the demand internationally (Jupe, Michiorri & Taylor 2007, p. 39).
- Because of tight oil market conditions, the domestic policies of many states are determined by the flow of energy in the international arena. In this regard, a powerful state is tempted to intervene militarily to bring sanity to a sovereign oil-producing nation. Intra-state political instabilities in countries endowed with oil deposits have global consequences.
- Due to frequent shortages of oil, many powerful states are forced to explore alternative sources of energy, with natural gas and nuclear power being the most utilized sources (Simon 2007, p. 56). However, these alternative sources are highly vulnerable to political influence since they are state-owned.
- It is unfortunate oil-producing countries have never stopped the flow of fuel, but instead powerful states, including the United States and Britain, tend to slap sanctions whenever their interests are not met, which is done through embargoes (Lackner 2012, p. 13158).
List of References
Aalto, P 2012, Russia’s energy policies: National, interregional and global levels, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
Graves, C, Ebbesen, SD, Mogensen, M & Lackner, KS 2011, “Sustainable hydrocarbon fuels by recycling CO2 and H2O with renewable or nuclear energy,” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 15, no. 1, pp 1–23.
Jupe, SCE, Michiorri, A & Taylor, PC 2007, “Increasing the energy yield of generation from new and renewable energy sources, “Renewable energy, Vol. 14, no. 2, pp 37–62.
Komor, P 2004, Renewable energy policy, Universe Inc, New York.
Lackner, K 2012, “The urgency of the development of CO2 capture from ambient air,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 109, no. 33, pp 13156–13162.
Lovins, 2011, Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era, Chelsea Green Publishing, New York.
Pearson, RJ & Eisaman, MD 2012, “Energy Storage via Carbon-Neutral Fuels Made From CO2, Water, and Renewable Energy,” Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 100, no. 2, pp 440–460.
Shaffer, B 2009, Energy politics, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.
Simon, CA 2007, Alternative energy: Political, economic, and social feasibility, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham.
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Smith, KJ 2004, Russian energy politics in the Baltics, Poland, and Ukraine: new stealth imperialism? Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington.