The Politics of the 21st Century: Energy Security and sustainability.
When people look at history and try to define key themes that shaped the relationships of states, non-state actors and the lives of individuals at that time, then surely the history of the 21st century will have Energy Security at the heart of their analysis. The explosion in economic development across the formerly “Third World” has seen nations like China take 1 billion people out of poverty in little over a decade and seen the BRIC nations becoming increasingly assertive in the international economic and political arena. But at the heart of the largest revolution in global living standards that arguably the world has never seen before, lies the question of Sustainability.
The modern world and modern lifestyles have become increasingly dependent on energy in all aspects. Whether this is the increasing use of IT and mechanisation, the greater mobility of people by train, plane, automobiles and ships, the ability of businesses to outsource all manner of business functions to nations across the globe or even in some of the basic areas like food production and accessing clean fresh water, the question of how we sustain our Energy requirements arises. But sustainability has developed as a concept now far beyond the narrowly constrained definition that Thomas Malthus and his subsequently advocates at the Club of Rome historically articulated. Sustainability is now about Climate change and economics too.
The oft quoted line by Malthusians is that the world as it stands does not have the resources to sustain its current lifestyle. Whether this is by looking at the resources needed to give everyone in the globe a European lifestyle, or even more recently, even the lifestyle of the average Chinese citizen is seen as an unsustainable lifestyle to function as a global model.
What makes this unbearable however is that it would appear, at least on our current trajectory, that the followers of Malthus will be proven right in their assertions, but not by the factors that they believe do make the current global development “unsustainable”. As is often the case in history it is not that the human race does not have the answers or solutions to address the problems it faces, rather, it is the inability of the collective body of global key decision makers total inability to act in a purely rational manner where their collective aim is the global benefit of all, not some.
What this blog will try to do is to look at some things, just a few, where we as a global populace can do better. Where there are ways to think more rationally in the greater interest of all actors involved and not just the few and to try and concentrate on how in certain fields of this authors knowledge, such as Energy, that we Must do better.