Energy in Europe and North America: From National to Human Security? A German Marshall Fund of the United States Policy Research Conference on Energy Security 18-19 April 2008 University of Trento, Italy It has become fashionable in recent years to portray the United States as driven by a Hobbesian vision of international relations while Europe is seen as captured by a Kantian spirit of an innate belief in the power of rules and universal values. While the metaphor of Mars and Venus is suggestive, a more fruitful question would be to ask whether Europe and North America are beginning to diverge in their definition of security. On a range of issues, from the environment to international terrorism, we can ask whether Europe is increasingly using the lens of human security to define its interests and design its strategies; while the United States remains more firmly tied to traditional notions of national security. Energy provides an excellent opportunity to explore the extent to which the two sides of the Atlantic are pursuing truly divergent paths on security; and, if so, what might be the consequences for the Atlantic alliance and global politics in general. The aim of this conference, then, is to examine the ways in which the discussion about energy now weaves traditional notions of security with its more recent, broader definition that takes into account both traditional elements of power politics as well as issues related to human security. It will try to explore whether the transatlantic partners may be parting ways in both their definition of energy as a security concern and how to deal with the related issues such as the environment, democratization, social stability and so on. The focus will be not only on policy differences but also on what might be the policy consequences of the possibly different strategic lens through which security is understood. The conference will be divided into five distinct but closely related components that speak to the ways in which energy is being defined by traditional and human 2 security paradigms. It will bring together a range of scholars, from varying disciplines and different parts of the world; thus reflecting what is emerging as a truly global politics of energy that will shape transatlantic relations in the near and distant future. Access to energy supplies has always been a factor shaping relations between states, from competition for coal during the earlier phases of industrialization to the current concern with dwindling reserves of fossil fuels. There are two features of the current concern with energy security that distinguish the debate from previous periods in which energy issues dominated international politics. First, there is a broader range of actors that reflects the emergence of not only non-state actors and regional bodies, such as the European Union, but also non-governmental organizations such as environmental groups. Moreover, it also includes industrializing countries not only as producers but also (probably for the first time) as important consumers of energy and possible rivals for access to dwindling supplies. Second, whereas access to energy was always seen as related to traditional definitions of national security as it affected elements of hard power, such as the economy and military production, it now touches upon a range of issues that are related to a broadening of the definition of security; something that might be called human security. This broader definition implies looking not just at the military capacity of states and the traditional domains of foreign policy, but also at issues such as the environment, human rights, democratization, terrorism and social development. Energy is not only an issue for industrial and foreign policy, but it is now inexorably linked to environmental policy and a range of policy concerns that touch upon the social, political, cultural and economic conditions that affect the daily lives of individuals. Conference Themes 1) Energy security and power politics For the most part, the foreign policy questions for the last half-century have revolved around the Middle East and surrounding areas. Energy issues during the Cold War were contained within the 3 boundaries of the spheres of influence of each bloc, with few instances of rivalry for access becoming a defining issue of power politics. A number of factors have contributed to create a truly global politics of energy security, and not all of them connected to the end of the Cold War. The rise of the price of oil has led to a resurgent role for Russia on the world stage, raising questions for both the United States and Europe. For instance, can the transatlantic partners deal with security issues within an enlarged NATO without risking gas and oil supplies for a number of European states? Can the accession members of the EU and the EU 15 member states agree on foreign policy objectives that will ensure ready supplies of oil and gas? For instance, Lithuania and Poland have taken decidedly different positions on how to deal with Russia as a result of concern with access to oil and gas. In addition, China’s economic transformation has led it to assume a more prominent role in international relations as it seeks to secure both a central role as an emerging power and a presence in oil rich parts of the world. Some of the consequences have already been felt in disparate parts of the globe, from Iran to Sudan, as China seeks to guarantee access to energy supplies even at the expense of not supporting resolutions in the UN Security Council. Does the emergence of new rivals for resources provide an opportunity for Europe and North America to find common ground on how to deal with China as a potential countervailing power? Or will they seek different paths as China (and India) may emerge as not only an economic rival but also an opportunity to develop new markets and trading partners? The foreign policy dynamics of energy have been rendered more complex by the emergence of international terrorist networks, many with direct links and political ambitions in states that are an important source of energy for both Europe and the United States. Moreover, as the recent al-Qaeda threats against countries such as Venezuela and Canada that export oil to the United States demonstrate, the weaving of energy politics and terrorism is not limited to the Middle East. The aim of this part of the conference is to explore the ways in which energy considerations, from oil and gas to nuclear energy and water, are intersecting with traditional and new foreign policy interests and instruments. It will explore whether the institutions that have forged the 4 transatlantic community can endure the pressure of competing interests. The topics will include looking not only at European and American relations with Russia and China, but also how the changing energy landscape may change foreign policy and power politics in, and with, Latin America and Africa. 2) Energy security and democratization The conventional wisdom is that concern for human rights and democratization during the period of the Cold War was trumped by the constant search for a balance of power between the two superpowers. The post-Cold War era has been characterized by an emerging consensus that respect for human rights and basic democratic principles should play a role in foreign policy decision- making. There is a growing sense that energy security is becoming the new national security concern that trumps democratization. However, it seems that perhaps the issue is not as clear cut as in the Cold War era. On the one hand, there is an approach which ignores human right abuses and the lack of basic democratic principles and institutions in the pursuit of reliable energy supplies. This is the case with respect to some central Asian republics and Sudan as well as with many important Middle East suppliers. On the other hand, there is a growing literature that argues that the presence of large oil reserves is an obstacle to democratization in some parts of the world. The cases of Iraq, Iran and Sudan are just three stark examples of how the international community has to reconcile its demand for energy with a desire to avoid supporting regimes that do not respect the rule of law or where we find instances of severe abuses of human rights. Russia also might constitute a case worth observing as the development of its democratic institutions might be affected by the importance that oil and natural gas play in its economy. The aim of this section would be to explore the extent to which the European Union and the United States have taken different positions on linking the promotion of democracy and the protection of human rights with choices about energy security. For instance, Europe in its relations with Russia and the United States in its relations with Venezuela face the challenge of reconciling 5 energy needs with concerns about democratization. If Europe is truly a Kantian haven, we would expect that member states of the EU have begun to jettison national consideration in defining their energy policy and, more importantly, ready to put human rights and democratization ahead of their interest in gaining reliable access to energy sources. On the other hand, if the United States defines its national interest in traditional terms, we would expect that it would overlook human rights abuses in places such as Sudan. This part of the conference would explore the ways in which the transatlantic partners have sought to find policy solutions to the question of energy and human rights. 3) Energy security, competitiveness and the environment One of the distinct features of the current debate about energy security is that it is running in parallel to the discussion about how to address the problem of climate change. Environmental security has become one of the central features of human security, as the challenges in the near future raise the possibility of serious threats to the lives of millions and could lead to instability in international relations. In so many obvious ways, there is synchronicity between the need to reduce greenhouse gases and to conserve energy in the face of dwindling supplies of fossil fuels. However, as the debate over the Kyoto Protocol demonstrates, how to bring together the two objectives does not always find Europe and North America reading from the same page. This section looks to the ways in which Europe and North America have sought to address the question of climate change and energy security. It will explore the different approaches taken to the question of greenhouse gases, not only at the national level in the United States but also initiatives at the state level such as those in California. At stake is not only environmental security but the future of key industries such as automobiles. Clearly, this is an area where a transatlantic partnership would seem a fruitful policy option but it also is one characterised by rivalry as the United States and Europe seek to balance energy needs, environmental protection and current and future economic competitiveness. At the same time, presenting energy policy through the 6 environmental prism, by emphasising conservation and alternative fuel sources, intersects human security concerns with traditional security definitions. The call to cut energy consumption, in the United States and Europe, is also pitched in terms of reducing dependency on foreign powers. 4) Energy security and regional integration Another important feature that distinguishes the current debate about energy security is the extent to which it is framed increasingly in terms of finding regional solutions. This is clearly the case with the European Union, where the European Commission has been preparing an energy policy that touches on a number of parallel policy areas such as the environment, competition and foreign policy. The regional dimension is no less the case, although there is no comprehensive energy policy, in North America. A central feature of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is Chapter 6, which governs energy and petrochemicals. It aims to integrate energy markets in Canada and the United States (Mexico is largely excluded from these provisions) by restricting the capacity of governments to price discriminate (through export taxes) and to interrupt supply. Given that oil reserves in Canadian tar sands have been estimated as second only to those in Saudi Arabia, Canada could provide an important solution to short and medium term energy needs for the United States. Moreover, Canadian provinces are also important suppliers of hydroelectricity for bordering American states. It is no surprise, then, that the Bush administration has made a central feature of its energy policy decreasing dependency on “foreign” energy sources along with looking for ways in which to increase cross-border trade in energy. This section will explore the extent to which energy policy is increasingly seen in continental or regional terms in both North America and Europe. A sure sign that we have moved beyond the classic boundaries of definitions of national security would be the extent to which states see their energy future, whether it be water or fossil fuels, as part of a regional economy or interest. This might be more clearly the case in the European Union but broader geo-political considerations are leading the United States to look to North American (or at least hemispheric solutions) to its 7 energy needs. Could energy be the basis for a North American Community? Are there lessons from Europe for North America? 5) Energy security and economic liberalization It is not surprising that in an increasingly global economy that the economic governance of energy supplies can become an issue that shapes relations between states. This is clearly the case in the European Union, as its energy policy is largely centred on ways in which to create more competitive markets. The issue of the extent to which market mechanisms can help ensure the proper functioning of scarce resources is one that has the potential to create tensions but also opportunities in transatlantic relations. Liberalization implies a redefinition of national interests for many European states as they have built vertical energy infrastructures to maintain domestic control. But as access to energy is becoming an important factor in economic competitiveness and productivity, states have to reconcile different domestic demands. This part of the conference will explore whether the strategy of developing national energy champions in many European states is sustainable or whether it will lead to a transatlantic conflict. It will explore whether the two partners share the same approach to the economic governance of energy resources and whether this may be an opportunity to strengthen ties or increase rivalries. The focus will be clearly on the economics of energy security but it will also have to focus on some of the social and political aspects as well. For instance, how will the costs of liberalization, as well as the benefits, be distributed throughout society? How do Europe and the United States treat energy policy as part of a broader model of economic governance? Can Europe liberalize and still maintain its much heralded social model? Particpants 8 A call for papers will go out in May 2007 for a conference to be held in March 2008. There will be one panel for each section of the conference, with three papers on each panel. Each panel will have at least one author from North America and from Europe. An effort will be made to have the third member of the panel represent a different part of the world, providing a different lens not only on the question of energy security but also the transatlantic relationship. The call will go out to anyone who has an interest in the policy areas involved in the five themes descrived above: foreign policy, energy, environment, democratization and human rights, market liberlaization, regional integration. In addition, the conference will be opened by a roundtable discussion involving key policy actors – from the public and private sector as well as NGOs – that will be aimed at a broader public. Activities planned for disseminating project results There will be four main sources of dissemination of the project activities and results. 1. Working papers – The papers presented during the conference will be posted on the websites of the School of International Studies at the University of Trento as part of its working papers series, as well as the sites of other project partners. 2. Manuscript – The seminar series and conference will produce at least one collection of essays on the question of the policy implications of the changing concern with energy from an issue of national to human security. It is expected that this will be published by a major English-language academic publisher. 3. Webcast – The conference will be broadcast over the Internet using the facilities at the University of Trento.
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