Home > Député européen (Verts, France) > Mes initiatives > Sécurité collective et environnement > Opening Speech – Energy and Security (http://lipietz.net/?article2255)
by Angelika Beer | 12 June 2008
Opening Speech – Energy and Security
ARTICLE LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATIONS :
Language for this article: English
In view of the growing energy needs of the world (for example the developing economies in Asia), the demand will rise for the non-renewable resources oil and gas, and thus the competition over secured supplies will intensify. This implies new conflict potentials. Gas and oil are predominantly imported from potential crisis regions. Real alternatives do not exist since the natural deposits are unchangeably concentrated in those areas. Incalculable price developments, interruptions of the supply, or even longer supply failures are only few of the possible risks. Long transport routes and complicated transport systems are easy targets for asymmetric threats (such as piracy, terrorism at sea, interruptions of pipelines, etc), which exacerbate the set of problems. One should only imagine a several months long closure of the Suez Canal due to a terrorist attack and the consequences this would have for the Western energy markets.
Sadly it took a long time until this interconnectedness was finally recognised. We Greens have been debating this topic already for quite some time, as one can see inter alia from our flyer.
To begin with we have to confront ourselves with the question of energy consumption. We cannot afford to continue to use our resources in such a wasteful manner. Still today 15% of the world’s population use 60% of the crude oil and natural gas and more than half of the other limited resources. Furthermore, the hunger for energy in other aspiring countries will rise and not fall. Already today China consumes 25% of the world’s basic metals. All people have an equally legitimate interest in natural resources and energy. An existing disproportionate level of consumption does not justify a disproportionate interest; instead it obliges to contribute more towards the saving of limited resources and to minimise the use to the benefit of others.
Only a few more remarks since many of these thoughts are also topics of discussion at the conference:
The worldwide trade in weapons has increased, as peace research institutes have again just recently shown. Therewith arises the problem of worldwide available weapons, which by itself already constitutes a problem. What is new to consider are the effects on the environment: The number of worldwide engagements in civil and military missions has increased enourmously. An evaluation of sufficient scope has so far not taken place. We say we want international engagements in order to protect people, but have we always accounted for the consequences of our actions? What impact does it have on the environment when thousands of aid workers/soldiers enter the country? In this area there are many aspects to be considered, which by far have not been extensively discussed.
The insight of knowing about the interrelatedness between environmental effects (resources and climate change) and security policy has so far not been reflected in coherent strategies nor is the knowlegde being used to co-ordinate policy areas with each other in a consistent way. I would like to end my speech with the hope that today’s conference will give further impulses, which may even be suitable to be integrated into our political actions. In that spirit I wish you/us a successful conference!