Creating a New Energy Strategy for a Post Ukraine War World
There is every reason for the U.S. to focus on the dangers of climate change and the need to change the sources of its energy supplies to reduce carbon emissions. The new Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed on August 16, 2022, is an important step toward achieving these goals. At the same time, the U.S. needs to work with its European strategic partners to permanently reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas exports and work with Asian partners like Japan and South Korea to ensure that they will not confront a similar threat in the future from China.
The Emeritus Chair in Strategy has prepared a detailed analysis of the issues involved and the new levels of interaction that the U.S. and its strategic partners must address between national security planning and national energy planning. It is entitled Creating a New Energy Strategy for a Post Ukraine War World. A downloadable copy is attached at the end of this transmittal, and it is available on the CSIS website at https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/220822_Cordesman_New_Energy_0.pdf?TcOhgxfcHLkg4EIqO1s8V.EOQybP0p2X.
The analysis addresses the fact that the Ukraine War may well end within a few years, but unless Russia’s leadership changes fundamentally in character, the energy crisis triggered by the Ukraine War is a warning that NATO European states and Europe must not return to dependence on Russian gas and oil. The war is also a warning that America’s strategic partners in the Pacific could face a future Chinese threat to their energy imports that could be as serious as the one Europe faces today.
These risks should change the strategic calculus in U.S. and partner energy planning. They make shifting to renewable sources of energy as important for security reasons as they do in reducing the impact of climate change. At the same, there are serious limits to how fast the supply of renewable energy can be increased using existing technologies, and how cost-effective major new efforts to increase such supplies can be in the near term.
The only short- to medium-term way to reduce NATO European dependence on Russian oil and gas would be to increase the supply of gas and oil exports from other regions and countries, and the only way to provide added security for America’s Asian strategic and trading partners may be to provide better defenses of their sources of exports and the maritime routes that deliver such exports through the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca.
The analysis shows that trade-offs involved will be highly complex, and finding the right answers requires analysis in depth. One key area for such analysis is how fast renewable and alternative sources of energy can actually be increased, and with what real-world levels of cost-effectiveness. Another area is what new sources of oil and gas exports can be increased to meet European and Asian demands, and how well such sources and export routes can be protected. Such increases in oil and gas supplies are likely to create significantly higher levels of dependence on the volume of Middle Eastern oil and gas exports and make the security of such exports significantly more important – particularly to key U.S. strategic partners like Japan, South Korea, Australia, as well as key trading partners in Southeast Asia.