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Energy Security Yes, But Climate Security Too

Ramesh Jaura, Inter Press Service via Common Dreams
BRUSSELS – Legislators from industrialised and emerging countries want the G8 heads of government to address climate change, clean energy and sustainable development when they gather next Monday in St Petersburg.

The appeal coincides with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s remarks in Moscow that as host of this year’s G8, Russian President Vladimir Putin had suggested putting energy security at the top of the summit agenda.

“The objective is to coordinate a strategy, which entails shared responsibility and shared risks and benefits,” Lavrov said in an interview with the widely read daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Legislators from 13 countries who met in Brussels Jul. 7-8 at the invitation of GLOBE International (Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment) welcomed the decision of the Russian government to build on the last G8 Summit in Gleneagles by focusing on the issue of energy security.

But they pointed out that energy security and climate security need be dealt with together. “If we do not successfully address both, we risk undermining our development, economic and security goals.”

In a statement after two days of intensive discussions at the European Parliament, they said: “Climate security and energy security are inextricably linked. Energy efficiency and diversification of energy sources are key responses to both.”
(11 July 2006)

G8 Call for More Oil Output Won’t Help Poor: Report

Olga R. Rodriguez, Reuters via Common Dreams
High crude oil prices will more than offset the benefits of debt relief the Group of Eight rich nations gave to poor countries last year, and this year the G8 will make the situation worse by promoting more investment in fossil fuels, a new report warned on Wednesday.

The report shows that developing countries continue to pay more for oil imports than they receive in debt relief, and recommends that G8 leaders meeting this weekend in St. Petersburg, Russia, end government subsidies to their oil industries, support the development of renewable fuels and cancel debt linked to unsound loans made for finding oil.

The report was released by the Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of religious groups, environmentalists and other organizations that want debt relief for poor countries.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s oil imports are expected to cost an additional $10.5 billion a year because of high crude prices, which is more than 10 times the amount that 16 African countries combined will receive this year after some of their debt is canceled under last year’s G8 deal.

“This year in St. Petersburg the G8 will focus on promoting trillions of dollars of investment in fossil fuels, which will exacerbate climate change and fail to promote long-term alternatives to the role of volatile oil prices in debt creation,” the report said.
(13 July 2006)
A critical step in improving the siuation of developing countries would be the enactment of the Oil Depletion Protocol. -BA

Towards the International Energy Transition Plan

Andrew McKillop, VHeadline (Venezuela)
One reason the Kyoto Treaty is likely unworkable and will certainly not achieve its claimed original goals of reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by signing and ratifying states to their 1990 levels by at latest 2012, while increasing ‘green energy’ (renewable energy) production, and sustainable economic development through the CDMs (Clean Development Mechanisms), is the ideological trap of market-only mechanisms.

Application of the Kyoto Treaty is supposed to be achieved almost exclusively by a small number of gimmicks such as so-called ‘carbon trading.’

Now embodied by the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Corp., these measures and essentially pork-barrel gifts to market traders and players, started in February 2005.

This ‘system’ is already an Enron-like, opaque, non-productive but very profitable sideshow, operated by the Happy Few who have a license to print money and a supreme disinterest in achieving real world reduction of GHG emissions.

Any kind of constraining legislation for reducing emissions is treated as Stalinist interference with freedom, and consigned ‘to the trashcan of history,’ with or without a capital ‘H.’ When the Peak Oil crisis grips, this ideological handicap will surely be thrown aside and replaced by so-called ‘courageous,’ that is Stalinist type heavy-handed legislation to cut oil use by forced rationing. Oil prices will zigzag to far-out highs, and the economy will crash. The economy will then stay down because world oil supply will fall, every year.

What we in fact need is international and multilateral institutions and measures to deal with the real and terminal crisis for cheap fossil energy, including both demand side and supply side action. Demand side cuts are urgent in the high energy economies, and supply side action in the shape of coordinated, big-scale, international development of renewables is necessary worldwide.
(13 July 2006)

The Mother Of All Battles: For Oil

K Gajendra Singh, Al-Jazeera
This is an essay on the ongoing “Mother of all Battles” ,for oil, where the US-led West, mercifully, is losing some ground. Starting with brutal colonial exploitation dubbed the so called burden of civilization (the westerners reaching Asia were certainly almost barbarians , as they still remain in many ways, or Christopher Columbus, a greedy and brutal genocidal murderer of ‘Indians’ in the new world – anointed a Christian saint). It then became development and globalization and in case of Iraq, simple gobblisation of its oil resources led by decision makers, who have broken almost all international laws and conventions and USA’s own internal laws, a country which is becoming less free and more dictatorial, with one-party-like consensus.

K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan in1992 -96. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the1990 – 91Gulf war), Romania and Senegal . He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies, in Bucharest . The views expressed here are his own.
(12 July 2006)
A very long, heavy-handed critique of Western imperialism, emphasizing the struggle to control oil resources. Peak oil is discussed. Singh has other articles posted on the Web. This article is also posted at Vheadline. -BA

In energy, we’re all connected

Editorial, Christian Science Monitor
As host of this weekend’s summit of top world leaders in Russia, Vladimir Putin got the party theme right. “Energy security” is a hot topic, given doubled oil prices over the past three years. Yet the Russian president’s views on this subject need adjusting.

As the biggest energy exporter among the Group of Eight industrialized countries, known as the G-8, Russia’s take on this issue carries weight – dead weight. The Russian president is increasing state control over his country’s oil and gas wealth. He’s limiting foreign investment in these hydrocarbons and wants to do what he can to lock in demand for the energy exports. Most troubling, he’s not above using fuel as a political weapon.

But Mr. Putin’s hardly alone in his view that national control of energy equals a secure future for his country. China, for instance, thinks that if its state-managed firms can just buy stakes in enough oil fields – in Sudan, Nigeria, and Angola, for example – it can guarantee fuel for its surging economic growth.

If the leaders of the G-8 do anything this weekend, they would do well to move closer to an understanding that energy security (i.e. enough supply at an affordable price) is a matter of global market interdependence – not national control.

…Historically, diversification is the key to energy security, and governments and the private sector should do all they can to diversify. That includes greater investment in safer nuclear power, “clean” coal, renewables, and conservation (a 10 m.p.g. increase in US fuel efficiency would reduce oil imports by nearly 25 percent).

But in today’s global economy, equal emphasis must be placed on ensuring that energy markets run openly and smoothly. After all, a China disabled by an energy shortage would also hurt the US economy.
(12 July 2006)

Energy should not be political tool – Chirac

Energy should not be used as a political tool, French President Jacques Chirac said on Wednesday, and he urged world leaders meeting in Russia to take steps to improve the functioning of oil and gas markets.

Chirac said energy had to be treated within the context of a “global partnership for sustainable development”.

“Energy should not be a political instrument,” Chirac said in an article released late on Wednesday ahead of publication in Thursday’s edition of the Les Echos business daily.

Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine and Georgia last winter in what many saw as an effort to get pro-West countries to toe Moscow’s line. It also threatened to re-route gas exports to Asia if European states blocked acquisitions by its companies.

Energy is set to be one of the main issues on the agenda when the Group of Eight leaders of the world’s big industrial nations meet in St Petersburg on July 15-17.

“I hope that in St Petersburg, we will take measures to improve the functioning of oil and gas markets, to promote a dialogue between producers, consumers and transit countries, to accelerate the transition into the post-oil era and to help emerging countries develop ecologically responsible development,” Chirac said.

Chirac said countries should boost renewable and alternative energies, including nuclear, and focus on saving energy.
(12 July 2006)

‘Global fear’ over energy plans

People fear energy policies are threatening the environment and global stability, a BBC poll suggests. The findings from across 19 countries come in the run-up to the G8 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, which will focus on energy security.

Carried out for the BBC World Service, the poll of nearly 20,000 people indicates concern that some energy suppliers will withhold oil exports.

The study also found wide support for alternative energy strategies. The poll illustrates a perceived triple threat from the way the world produces and uses energy.

Majorities across all 19 countries indicate that citizens fear:

* the climate and environment are being harmed
* that the global economy will be destabilised
* that competition for energy will lead to greater conflict
(13 July 2006)