Global energy politics

Global Energy has become the most useful political weapon of our century. Studying about global energy teaches us more about international relationships than anything.
Let’s take a look at the Global energy system of the 21st century. Its pros and cons, limitations, and what would be the future of energy. Their sources, consumption, production, politics, and trade.

Geopolitics of Energy journey:

Global energy
Global Energy

Our world consumes 25 times more energy than it used to consume just 2 centuries ago. Until 1800, more than 99% of the Global energy was produced by burning wood and organic matter .

All these 21st-century global sources of energy we know, are barely discovered within the last two centuries.
Our expansion into oil consumption didn’t begin around 1870. Two decades later, it was followed by natural gas and hydroelectricity.
By 1900, coal consumption has increased significantly. Coal was used to produce almost half of the global energy.

After World War 2 unleashed nuclear power, the world government tried to find peaceful ways of utilizing nuclear power. And we started using nuclear power to produce electricity.

Until 1965, North America, Europe, Eurasia collectively consumed more than 80% of the world’s energy.

But now, that trend is rapidly changing most dramatically in the Asia pacific where the total consumption has increased more than 12 fold over this period.
The list of top 10 energy-consuming countries which consume 60% of the world’s energy.

Global energy
Global Energy-Energy per country consumption

Geo-politics of Renewable Energy:

Let’s take a closer look at what is causing the difference in politics:
Many countries in the world do not and can not produce fossils fuel, this means that they are strongly dependent on countries that are willing to sell them fossils fuel.
For instance, many countries in Europe are strongly dependent on oil from Africa and the Middle East and Natural gas from Russia. However, countries don’t like to rely on other countries too strongly because this reduces natural safety. So, it is no surprise that European countries are the strongest advocates for renewable energy because that will allow them to produce their energy.

Energy influences Politics strongly:

Countries use Energy politics to bargain & even blackmail other countries to work for their best interest. For example, when Russia occupied Crimea, western countries made trade sanctions to hurt Russia’s economy-however what would have hurt Russia, is if other countries stopped buying their fossil fuels.

However western countries didn’t want to extend their trade sanctions to energy because trade was so crucial for them. That also meant that the western countries couldn’t pressure Russia as much as they would have liked for.

Global energy politics is actually the competition about the honor and distribution of resources. Why is this competition?
According to I.E.A, In the last 40 years, Energy demand has doubled. Why? Because the increment on consumption is not in production. So countries want to secure the supply of energy. That’s how competition creates globally.

In addition to the big picture scenario countries also have different interests in what energy sources are considered environmentally friendly. The fact is, there probably is not a single energy source that is 100% environment friendly
If we take a look at solar panels there are material-intensive and they require rare metals that need to be mined out of the ground .These mines are unfriendly to the environment having the potential to cause large environmental disasters.

Furthermore, some of these rare metals may only be found in a few countries in the world. Meaning that, countries are once again reliant on a particular country to sell these rare metals to them.
However calculating the environmental impact of any given energy source is very complicated and something scientists and economists find hard to agree on, as you can see energy politics is complicated and countries find it hard to agree on these things.

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Sana Irfan

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