New UK global energy strategy stresses supply security and climate change
The UK has announced its plans for an international energy strategy, with the issues of tackling climate change and obtaining secure and affordable energy supplies at its core. Speaking on the publication of the document on Thursday — entitled “UK International Priorities: The Energy Strategy” — foreign secretary Jack Straw said that it sets out “how (the UK) we will work across government and international partners to ensure our long-term energy interests”.
He added that it would “focus on the international component of energy policy, and set out a clear way forward to achieve our policy goals”. The UK needed to adapt to its status as a net importer of oil and gas later in the decade, and that the country needed “stronger partnerships to tackle a complex and global challenge”.
The plan commits the government to the pursuit of “a transparent, liquid and competitive market” for both oil and gas as a means of achieving price sustainability, as well as ensuring the security and diversity of energy supplies through ensuring that there is sufficient infrastructure for oil and gas transit and adequate spare capacity in the system to prevent price and supply shocks.
The government has stated that it will achieve these objectives through promoting the full liberalisation of the EU’s energy markets, and by using the EU’s relations with Russia and other countries to pursue domestic objectives.
Noting that by 2020, half of the world’s oil supplies would come from countries with the potential for internal political or social instability, the government has stated that will help to deal with disputes and promote political and economic reform in the Middle East and the nations of Africa and the former Soviet Union. It will also look to improve both investment and energy management in these nations — with emphasis on ensuring the stability of supply links to the UK.
On the area of climate change, the report states that “The UK can show leadership, but we cannot act in isolation,” and stresses the importance of a global approach to reducing emissions. In order to achieve this objective, it adds that the UK will look to secure further international commitment in this area — including through the use of its presidency of the G8 next year — from the EU, Russia and also through the USA, despite the latter’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol.
This will include promotion of renewable energy technologies and encouraging sustainable energy consumption in the US and growing economies such as China.
However, a decision on new nuclear build remains no nearer, with the document noting that the UK will need to “keep abreast of new developments in this field, and to understand the potential implications for demand for other energy sources...(and) climate change.”
Other Related Stories