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Energy security: U.S. has a role in mind for Canada and Mexico

Tony Fogarassy, Vancouver Sun
We, as Canadians, know reasonably well what energy is all about in Canada. But what we don’t know or realize how differently the United States views energy — its energy, Mexico’s and, indeed, Canada’s.

At the invitation of the U.S. government I, with a delegation of two other Canadians and three Mexicans, spent most of June learning first-hand the American perspectives on energy, in particular energy security. The single-mindedness of American desire to achieve energy security was somewhat of a revelation.

“Energy” means many things to many people. Mainly it means the supply of power (primarily electricity), using fossil fuels, renewable (e.g. wind) or alternate energy sources (e.g. ethanol) for home, commercial and industrial use.

We know the environment is intimately linked to energy and conflicts between the two abound. We know it’s an increasingly continental commodity. We know that without an adequate supply of energy, the world as we know it would cease to exist. And we know that Canada exports energy to the U.S. — a lot of energy.

The U.S. perspective on energy is defined, almost one-dimensionally, in the phrase energy security.

Energy independence should not be confused with energy security. Energy independence is complete domestic sourcing of energy, whereas energy security refers to a mix of domestic and imported energy.

Security is the mot du jour that infuses almost all American policy since Sept. 11. 2001.
(7 August 2007)
Contributor BH writes:
I thought the writer had a good mainstream, insider insight into US perception of energy supply but others on a list-serve just thought he was a shill for integration.

Norway: No Reason to Exploit Arctic’s Gas, Oil ‘For Decades’

John Stonestreet, Thomson Financial; AFX News via Rigzone
Technological and logistical factors are likely to preserve the Arctic region’s huge reserves of oil and gas from exploitation for decades to come, said Norway’s deputy foreign minister Liv Monica Stubholt.

“I think we would do well not to underestimate the difficulties” involved in any exploitation of the high north’s natural resources, Stubholt told Thomson Financial News in a telephone interview.

And as far as drilling in the Arctic is concerned, “the technological challenges are (still) insurmountable … I think we have decades ahead of us before the technology to do this in a safe and sustainable way is there.”
(9 August 2007)

The crisis under the ice
Global warming enabled Russia’s Arctic land grab, and now it could get worse

Jeremy Rifkin, Los Angeles Timies
Any lingering doubts about how ill-prepared we are to face up to the reality of climate change should have been laid to rest this month when two Russian mini-submarines dove two miles under the Arctic ice to plant a Russian flag made of titanium on the seabed. The government of Vladimir V. Putin claims that the seabed under the North Pole, known as the Lomonosov Ridge, is an extension of Russia’s continental shelf and therefore Russian territory that will be open for oil exploration.

Russia is not alone in making such a claim. Geologists think that 25% of Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas may be embedded in the rock under the Arctic Ocean. No wonder Norway, Canada and Denmark (through its possession of Greenland) are all using the continental-shelf argument to claim the Arctic seabed as an extension of their own sovereign territories. The sudden interest in Arctic oil and gas has put a fire under U.S. lawmakers to ratify the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty, which allows signatory nations to claim exclusive commercial exploitation zones up to 200 miles out from their coastlines.

What makes this development so depressing is that the interest in prospecting the Arctic seabed, and subsoil, is only now becoming possible because climate change is melting away Arctic ice.
(9 August 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.