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  • Author: William Handel, Nora McGann
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The international system and the individual nation states that comprise it face crucial decisions regarding both the means and methods employed to supply energy to the globe's seven billion human inhabitants. Indeed, there are few issues of public policy with as far-reaching implications as those related to energy production, consumption, distribution, and conservation. The extent to which fluctuations in price and supply of this diverse group of resources can have a dramatic impact upon the industry and livelihood of the entire global population cannot be overstated.
  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On January 1, 2012, the European Union extended its cap and trade system, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), to include CO2 emissions from all airlines arriving in and departing from EU airspace. The EU has claimed that this unilateral action was in response to the slow progress towards reaching a global deal. However, the EU remains committed to reaching a global solution to the problem of aviation emissions and hopes that including international aviation in the ETS will spur action. These additions to the ETS led the EU to take positions on a number of important policy issues that remain unresolved in the international climate change negotiations. These include issues such as how to attribute CO2 emissions from aviation to countries and how to operationalize the environmental principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) – the notion that developed countries will do more to reduce their CO2 emissions than developing countries. Moreover, as many of these issues are also applicable to the broader UN climate change negotiations, the success or failure of the ETS approach to international aviation could affect progress in the wider climate change negotiations. This article outlines how the EU has designed its system to address these challenges. It also provides an overview of the challenges to reaching a global deal on regulating CO2 emissions from international aviation. The final part of the paper considers the current state of international negotiations over aviation emissions and suggests pathways forward.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rainer Baake
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Imagine a mid-sized country. Its population, area, and energy consumption make it a flyweight compared to the emerging giants of China and India. Unlike Russia or Brazil, it possesses virtually no fossil fuels of its own – apart from disastrously dirty lignite and some expensive-to-extract hard coal. Furthermore, this country is located in Europe, a continent that has become synonymous with economic crisis and sluggish growth. Why do the energy policies of such a country – namely Germany – matter? The reason is in its dedication to systematically transform its energy system. It is the first major industrial country to seriously consider the challenge of overcoming the entire range of problems associated with fossil and nuclear fuels – from emissions to cost, from nuclear proliferation to nuclear waste, from environmental devastation to health impacts. If Germany, despite medium irradiation levels, limited land to grow biomass, and average wind and water resources, succeeds in transforming the energy system to renewable sources while maintaining system reliability and keeping an eye on cost, then every other country in the world will be able to follow on that track, too. And the challenges entailed for these countries will be significantly lower.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Brazil, Germany
  • Author: Matthew Futch
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For more than a century, the electric power industry has followed a model that produces and distributes electricity to, ultimately, passive consumers. The power system was originally configured for one-way flow from a concentrated source (the generating facility) to end-users on the other side of the meter. The system is optimized primarily for reliability, and has successfully supported global economic and social development. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, chairman of the UN-Energy, a United Nations body created for promoting sustainable energy programs, summarized the relationship well, alluding to the "strong linkage between energy poverty and income poverty." With smarter energy networks nation states may now accelerate economic development through cleaner, more reliable, and consumer-friendly technologies. Global deployment of smart grid technology is fundamentally changing the one-way, "produce and distribute" model into a more dynamic "collaborate, manage, and use" model. The U.S. Department of Energy describes smart grid as "a class of technology people are using to bring utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation. These systems are made possible by two-way communication technology and computer processing that has been put to use over the past few decades to transform how other industries operate." The grid transformation allows areas without significant twentieth century grid infrastructure to implement a twenty-first century energy network specifically designed to include decentralized renewable generation and intelligently coupled micro grids. This article includes a broad set of technologies in the definition of a smart grid: 1. Any and all technologies that allow for the exchange of information between the power source and end user (e.g. smart meters) 2. Technologies that enable control, management, and coordination of intermittent generation sources (e.g. grid sensors and forecasting analytics) 3. Distributed generation sources (e.g. smaller-scale generation and distributed renewables) The remainder of the article looks at the potential of these technologies to modify how we think about electricity, and the power it provides to nations and their citizens.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Author: Anton Eberhard, Katharine Nawaal Gratwick
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Economic and social development depends critically on infrastructure, for which electricity may be among the most important inputs. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has among the lowest rates of electricity access in the world - less than 30 percent. Furthermore, excluding South Africa, SSA is the only region for which per capita consumption of electricity is falling. The total installed capacity in the region amounts to less than South Korea's, and this limited supply is costly and unpredictable, imposing heavy tolls on social and economic development. It has been estimated that about 7,000 megawatts (MW) need to be added each year (2005-2015) to meet suppressed demand and provide additional capacity for electrification expansion. Such an investment would cost approximately $27 billion per year. Presently, funding to the electricity sector (for capital expenditure) is estimated at just $4.6 billion a year; hence, an annual funding gap of more than $20 billion exists. Public sources - utility income and fiscal transfers - contribute only about one-half of current capital investments, highlighting the urgent need for increased private investment, including public-private partnerships. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, the push towards private investment in electrical generation dates to the early 1990s, but the journey has not been smooth. Significant lessons may be identified, including: understanding the limited pool of investments, together with the importance of public stakeholders in equity and debt alike; the increasing application of partial risk guarantees (PRGs) to mobilize finance; and the emergence of more non-OECD partners. We note a number of success stories, including Kenya, South Africa and (potentially) Nigeria, whose policy innovations have replication potential in other Sub-Saharan African countries and beyond.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, South Korea, South Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Kevin Massy, John Banks
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Most discussions on nuclear power in the Middle East in recent years have focused predominantly on Iran's suspected weapons program. However, the region is also home to another major nuclear-related trend: it is likely to play host to the first new nuclear energy states of the twenty-first century. While many countries in the broader Middle East have expressed interest in civil nuclear power, three–the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and Jordan–have set firm tar- gets for its implementation by the end of this decade. If they are to reach these ambitious goals and if they are to develop and deploy safe, secure, and sustainable civil nuclear power programs, these countries will have to overcome a range of technical, institutional, and, most importantly, human-resource related challenges. Of the countries in the region, the UAE is by far the most advanced in the development of its program. Having made public its interest in civil nuclear power in a white paper in 2008, the country purchased four nuclear reactors the following year from a South Korean consortium and is aiming to have its first reactor connected to the grid in 2017, an extremely ambitious time frame for a newcomer nuclear energy state. Turkey has a long history of attempting to implement civil nuclear power, and its latest agreement with Russia for the provision of four reactors at Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast is, by some counts, its sixth attempt at a commercial-scale program. However, there is good reason to believe that this time will be different for Ankara; the terms provided by Rosatom– the Russian state-controlled nuclear company that will finance, build, and operate the project–shield Turkey from a large amount of financial–if not operational–risk, and the Akkuyu project is due to be operational by 2020. Like Turkey, Jordan has a public goal of de- ploying its first nuclear reactor by the end of the decade. Having reduced its shortlist of nuclear vendors to two bidders (Rosatom and a French-Japanese consortium led by Areva and Mitsubishi), the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission plans to make its final decision in time to start construction of its first plant by the end of 2013.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, South Korea, Jordan, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Hossein Askari
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the last 100 years, crude oil has been priced between $10 and $30 per barrel (adjusted for inflation, in 2010 U.S. dollars), with the exception of two periods: 1973-1983 and 2001-2011.1 These two periods were both marked by conflicts, upheavals, and disruptions in the Middle East. The resulting oil price shocks were dramatic and led to large swings in current account balances, as oil producers rapidly acquired cash for their increasingly valuable resources. Large current account surpluses signify net annual savings in a country's transactions with the rest of the world, and large imbalances put stress on the international financial and banking system. These massive surpluses and corresponding deficits played a leading role in the developing-world debt crisis of the 1980s and may have a contributing factor to the global financial crisis of the late 2000s. In this paper, we begin by taking a brief look at the factors affecting oil prices, a subject that is often the victim of popular misconceptions. Then, we turn to a significant result of higher prices, large swings in current account balances, and potential financial crises. We conclude by proposing a change in U.S. and international policies to contain conflicts, reduce violent swings in oil prices, better manage and recycle the current account surpluses of oil exporters, and reduce the likelihood of recurring and severe financial crises.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Spencer Abraham, Mark P. Mills
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Energy, like food, is a foundational requirement for civiliza- tion. The World Economic Forum's 2012 Energy Vision Update begins with the observation: “Energy is the lifeblood of the global economy – a crucial input to nearly all of the goods and services of the modern world.” We disagree with the Forum in one respect. Energy is crucial not to “nearly all” but in fact to all goods and services. Ensuring the availability of an economically sustainable and secure energy supply is one of the primary responsibilities of sovereign governments. Energy independence, properly understood, is a central component in achieving both supply and economic security. The policy options for pursuing “independence” depend on the realities of the day. In this paper we will argue that a clear understanding of the landscape is more important than clever policies, and that, in any case, there are precious few options in regards to the latter. We begin by noting that two central features of the global energy landscape are the same now as they have been for decades, even centuries. These are the underlying character of both geopolitics and geophysics. The animating forces in geopolitics have been the same for as long as there have been nation states. National goals, political systems, and social objectives vary widely, and always have. Differences can lead to both unintentional and intentional conflicts. Conflicts are ultimately resolved using the same three tools since time immemorial: business arrangements of mutual convenience, diplomacy, or war. Put simply, people have not changed. Similarly, underlying geophysical realities of the planet remain constant. The asymmetric distribution of easily accessible high-grade resources is incontestably a fact that creates opportunities for economic or geopolitical advantage, or conflict.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: David Galbraith
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As revolution swept across the Arab world beginning in early 2011, the monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) appeared largely immune. In Bahrain, the only GCC country where mass protests did erupt, the government suppressed them violently with the political and military support of neighboring GCC countries. This crackdown was a leading exhibit in what observers termed the “counterrevolution.” Yet to think of the Gulf states as immune to unrest ignores the internal challenges that have been inspired by the Arab Spring over the past two years. Although these challenges differed from country to country, three trends broadly hold: they represent an intensification of trends that pre-dated the Arab Spring; except in Bahrain, they have not evolved into broad-based movements that question regime legitimacy; and no regime has chosen to open up meaningful new institutional political space in response. The United States has been criticized for hypocrisy in the wake of the Arab uprisings because it maintains strong alliances with the Gulf monarchies even as it supports democratic transitions elsewhere. However, the United States should not push strongly for systemic political reform across these countries in the absence of broad social mobilization. A more targeted and softer approach, adjusted to the internal dynamics in each country, is the right course.
  • Political Geography: United States, Arabia, Bahrain
  • Author: Mark P. Lagon, Ryan Kaminski
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since Samuel Huntington's 1993 article warning of inter-civilizational conflict, pundits and policymakers alike have been quick to forecast a so-called “clash of civilizations.” This has become especially common following 9/11, with warnings of a unitary Islam pitted against a unified West. Yet a clear-eyed assessment reveals that the West includes Muslim-majority regions and the often fractious United Nations; this divisive vision is as incorrect as it is unhelpful. In his address to the UN General Assembly in September 2012, President Barack Obama argued that freedom of speech and tolerance transcends civilizational, cultural, and religious fault lines. “Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that's the vision we will support,” declared Obama. In direct opposition to those favoring limitations on the freedom of expression or the imposition of blasphemy charges, the president noted, “The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech – the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.” Setting the stage for Obama's remarks was what can roughly be termed as a global panic attack with peaceful, semi-violent, and violent protests about a video spreading from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In the face of the unmistakable energy and vigor associated with protests, however, many were left confused how a shabbily crafted video, Innocence of Muslims, with a skeletal budget, and miniscule opening audience to match, could instigate such a worldwide conflagration.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Europe, Middle East, Asia