PAPERBACK/Ravi V. Chhabra
The world is faced with a dire threat due to climate change and unless nations take an immediate and united global warming (read environment protection) call, the consequences for future generations are obvious.
One of the potent causes for environmental degradation is the careless and selfish use of conventional energy fuels. Be it wood or fossil fuels. Is there hope for the world? Yes, there is hope, if the governments continuously switch over with effective use of technology to the non-convectional sources - the sun, wind and nuclear energy. Sascha Mulller-Kraenner, the author of this book is senior policy adviser and the European representative to the Nature Conservancy.
He is also a partner of Ecological Institute (Berlin) and a lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance. His book Energy Security elucidates the various facets of global energy scenario through its scholarly chapters such as: What is energy security?, Facing new energy crisis?, Energy superpower Russia? , The rise of Asia? , A common energy prices and ways out of dependence: Solar or nuclear? Kraenner says: "The world is currently heading towards a double energy crisis."
The data of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) must be read and interpreted within that context. This means that the energy policy of the future cannot focus solely on the declining availability of fossil fuels but must also consider the restricted ability of natural ecological systems an of the atmosphere to withstand stress.
If the reference scenario for the development of energy consumption of the next few decades is not sustainable, as the IEA states, it will need alternative development paths. First, we can reduce our energy consumption by the use of new technologies. Second, every country can reduce its import dependence by replacing fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, with renewable energy sources.
Stronger focus on nuclear power, on the other hand, is not a good alternative, as it creates new dependence and increases the proliferation risk. Finally, binding rules for trade and investment, agreed at common institutions, such as the European Energy Charter and the World Trade Organization (WTO), could ensure a legal system for the energy policy. All these approaches only make sense if countries, at least within the European framework, act jointly.
How can rapidly depleting resources be managed to the advantage of all and therefore conflicts averted? How can we avoid irreparable to the last areas untouched natural beauty, all in the name of accessing valuable resources? And, how do we arrive at an international energy which not only provides safe, economical energy without conflict but also addresses the all important issue climate change: What is the best way to achieve greater energy security?
Energy Security addresses all these questions, arguing for an urgent overhaul of international law and institutions to control relations with countries such as Russia with the world's fuel supplies. The book presents alternatives to fossil fuels as two diametrically opposing strategies: The increased use of atomic energy; and a comprehensive climate protection policy with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. In times of international terrorism, there are heightened concerns about nuclear proliferation, and Energy Security reinforces that the future belongs to renewable energy.
ENERGY SECURITY By Sascha Muller-Kraenner Published by Earthscan, UK, 2008.