Academic journal article Insight Turkey

Turkey and the Changing Dynamics of World Energy: Towards Cleaner and Smarter Energy

Academic journal article Insight Turkey

Turkey and the Changing Dynamics of World Energy: Towards Cleaner and Smarter Energy

Article excerpt

Modern countries need ever increasing amounts of oil, gas and other fuels to run their economies. It is the life-blood. As globalization lifts millions out of poverty, the demand for energy worldwide will continue to grow, and we risk ending up with a volatile, "beggar thy neighbor" style of competition between countries to control sources of supply, especially in the developing world.

Even casual newspaper readers have become aware that there are very strong links between growth in energy demand, economic development, security, and foreign policy. Precisely what these links comprise is not always clear. The problems of energy "dependence," "independence," and "interdependence" are being debated in a burgeoning literature for both laymen and specialists. The deployment of oil as a political weapon occurred most manifestly during the 1973-74 Arab embargo. More recently, Iraq's invasion and Russia's use of gas as the Kremlin's instrument of choice in relations with other C.I.S. countries and the EU came to the spotlight, as did China's expanding acquisitions of energy assets worldwide (1).


Between 2002 and July 2008, prices more than trebled, to $147 a barrel. Among other events related to energy and foreign policy were: blackouts in California, a standoff between the West and Iran over Iran's nuclear program, frequent attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria, politically driven interruptions in Venezuela's production, the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Iraq's slip into civil anarchy and the subsequent delay in the return of its production to pre-Saddam era levels, and general concerns over terrorist attacks on energy facilities.

The current power struggle has now been directed towards maximizing economic interests, gaining commercial advantage on technologies, and securing scarce resources (i.e. energy, water, food and metals) in a highly competitive, global environment. Possession, financing, production, transportation, and marketing of energy have become key determinants in international relations among nations, which seek either demand or supply security (2).

Energy at the Center of Foreign and Security Policy

The world energy is by definition both an above-ground and below-ground system. What makes it somehow unstable are the "above-ground factors", such as technological developments, war, civil unrest, energy policy, investment decisions and a host of other human actions, rather than the "below-ground realities". This kind of thinking should not also ignore the climate change implications of burning the earth's existing inventory of hydrocarbons and downplay the geologic constraints on oil and other fossil fuel supplies.

Geopolitics often takes a back seat when confronted with the choice of advancing business, commercial, energy and technological interests vis-a-vis vaguely defined political interests (3). Moreover, we are witnessing the inexorable rise of the new Asian great powers, China and India; by 2020 these and other "giants" will be flexing their economic muscles to the east of Turkey. They are among the largest energy-deficit nations. The relativities of power are changing with the erosion of America's margin of superiority in economic, military, and 'soft power' terms. Few financial concepts have caught on as quickly as "BRICs," a term coined by Goldman Sachs, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the "Big Four" fastest-growing economies in the world today.

By dint of their sheer size and population--and their collective decision to embrace their own particular brand of capitalism--BRICs are the economic future of the world. Together, the BRICs encompass more than 25percent of the world's land mass and 40percent of the world's population. Thanks to their anticipated, rapid growth, by 2050 the BRICs could eclipse the joint economies of the current, richest countries of the world. China and India will become the dominant global suppliers of manufactured goods and services. …

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