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Energy and Security: Global Challenges – Regional Perspectives

/ Ed. 16. 11. 2015

The second annual Program of Atlantic Security Studies (PASS) conference entitled “Energy and Security: Global Challenges – Regional Perspectives” was convened between October 19-21, 2004 in Prague as a joint project of the Prague Security Studies Institute and the Association for International Affairs. Participants came from North America, Europe and Japan, and addressed a number of interrelated issues concerning energy, security and the environment. Several key “Prague Principles for Energy Security” were drawn from the discussion including:

  • World energy demand is growing at a rapid rate, and international cooperation to find economic, secure and sustainable energy sources is of vital importance for both industrial and developing nations. Energy demand will likely double within the next twenty years. All energy resources are important. Oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power and renewable resources are required; but each poses a different set of challenges.
  • The Czech Republic, EU, Japan, the United States and other nations can best achieve energy and security objectives through diversification of energy fuels and the sources of those fuels. Particular attention should be given to the rising dependency of EU countries on imports.
  • Oil demand is rising rapidly, especially in China and other industrializing countries. Current challenges confronting the oil market are manageable, but concerted efforts are required to expand world oil production and protect against the growing threat of terrorism. The importance of political and economic stability in key producer countries is noted and encouraged.
  • Nuclear power is an important source of energy and could contribute further to alleviating energy security and environmental problems. New technology, especially recycling nuclear fuels, can help extend uranium reserves and provide solutions to long-term storage. Nuclear energy can only be successful within a framework of robust controls to enhance non-proliferation objectives. Concern is expressed over the nuclear weapons potential of North Korea and Iran. In this regard, the growing importance of the International Atomic Energy Agency is noted.
  • Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe, has abundant coal resources. Development of new technologies to burn coal more cleanly and to sequester CO2 is essential to expand coal use which can be an indigenous resource of vital importance to diversification of the world’s energy base.
  • Natural gas is a clean fuel and is gaining increasing prominence, especially in Europe. Care must be given, however, not to become overly dependent on any one source of supply. Concern was especially expressed over growing reliance of Central and Eastern Europe on gas supplies from Russia. Diversification of sources is required to eliminate the possibility of undue political leverage being exercised.
  • An unprecedented effort is required to ensure adequate transparency of investment in producer countries and the protection of infrastructure and transportation corridors. A key challenge is the need for energy capital acquisition, which requires long-term energy markets and deregulation of the markets.
  • Leadership at the highest level of government is required to ensure that energy security is achieved at reasonable economic cost. A high priority is that emerging energy strategies be sustainable and compatible with environmental and global security objectives. Energy conservation and efficiency shall be an integral component of these strategies. International cooperation on this matter is of highest importance.

Report prepared by Alexandr Vondra  (Conference Chairman, PASS Coordinator) and William F. Martin  (Member of the Board of Directors, Prague Security Studies Institute, Former US Deputy Secretary of Energy).

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