The Geopolitics of "Cleaner" Energy

This series explores some of the major trends shaping the shift towards or away from cleaner energy sources as well as some of the emerging geopolitical dynamics arising as part of the push for "cleaner" energy.

The interest globally to increase the share of low carbon energy sources has dominated energy policy as a result of persistently high and volatile energy prices, strong economic growth, concern over balance of payments and energy security risks.  These factors coupled with a growing recognition of the need to address global climate change provided the focus needed to push cleaner energy to the forefront of many nations’ energy agendas in the 2000s.

The global economic downturn and financial crisis of 2008, along with the discovery of vast new unconventional fossil-based energy resources and the reality that cleaner energy sources face significant hurdles, such as having the technology, know-how, financing, systems compatibility, and infrastructure in place, have limited widespread adoption. That said, countries are unlikely to disregard the local and national environmental impacts of energy production and use.  

The result has been a convergence of clean energy policies and the conventional energy sector.  The more significant clean energy becomes to the global energy dimensions of security, environment and the economy, the more it takes on its own geopolitical dimensions-both in relation to traditional sources and within the new energy space.

The series, therefore, will highlight the shifting landscape of lower-carbon sources of energy, examine major trends shaping the shift towards or away from cleaner energy sources, and evaluate the emerging geopolitical dynamics surrounding the energy transformation and public policy efforts aimed at addressing energy security, economic and climate change concerns.