Demography, world population, long-term factors, American foreign policy, cultural trends, geopolitical factor, domestic energy, Europe, China, Russia, Germany, fertility rates, energy consumption, climate change, energy prices, oil, nuclear energy, renewable energies, gas companies
The current policy, and even more the future policy of any country is difficult to assess, because it depends on a lot of factors, many of them (public moods, politics, personalities) being of a transient nature.
But the current and future policy of any country also depends largely on long-term factors. And long-term, structural trends are actually often easier to predict than short-term, more political ones. They are not enough to explain the day-to-day international policy of the different actors of the international system, but they constitute the permanent background we need to keep in mind.
[...] For the first time Brussels begins to think about an energy policy, beyond just trying to break energy monopoles: a European legislation to prevent the takeover of European distribution systems for oil and gas are being contemplated. But Europe does not have any real organization to balance its dependence on Russian oil, and European companies meet many difficulties when they want to operate in Russia. Generally speaking, Western oil and gas companies are losing their grip: right now, they control only 25% of world oil and gas reserves; 75% are being controlled by State companies, which implement forcefully the energy but also geopolitical agendas of their respective countries; it's self-evident in the case of Russia and Venezuela, for instance. [...]
[...] Prospects for Russian oil exports in the next 25 years are around 10- of world exports, for natural gas around 25%. A major tool of Russian economic of Russian exports) and foreign policy. The EU, particularly Germany and Poland, are dependent on Russian oil and even more gas, as we have seen, also Ukraine and many Republics of the former Soviet Union. The EU imports 49 of its gas from Russia in 2030. Germany: one third of its oil and gas from Russia. [...]
[...] In 2006 President Putin developed clearly an ambitious energy policy as a major tool of Russian foreign policy. The huge corporation Gasprom seeks to buy energy companies in Europe, Moscow wants to become a world player in the energy field. And it seeks to use its leverage politically, towards the former Soviet Republics, like Ukraine, towards Europe. Generally speaking, we have been witnessing for the last few years a rising politicization of energy: apart from Russia we witness the new leftist governments in Venezuela or Bolivia using their vast oil or natural gas reserves as a major tool of their foreign policy. [...]
[...] There are already, as we shall see, changes from the 50ies and 60ies in the perception the Americans have of the world: this will continue to evolve. II. Energy We tend to stress the problems of energy consumption and its effects on the climate (although the relationship between fossil energy consumption and global warming is not conclusively proven: the Earth was at times very warm even before Mankind We tend to forget that two billion people don't have access to electricity. [...]
[...] But those are general trends; regional ones vary a lot, not without possible geopolitical consequences, even if hard to predict (transfers of the population, international pressures, and so on). Population is in itself an important geopolitical factor. In underdeveloped countries, overpopulation is a problem, because of the allocation of resources. But in developed countries (China and India are quickly developing) a large population means a large supply of scientists, gifted people, and so on, provided the population is, from a cultural standpoint, homogeneous enough. There is a broad base to select from. Already China is training as many engineers as Europe. [...]
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