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Problem 5

Lack of energy policy co-ordination among countries is impacting regional stability and an obstacle to cohesive regional energy planning.

Problem Dimensions

Limited Natural Resources

The geographical concentration of developing countries, coupled with the link between energy demand and economic growth:[1]

  • Places pressure on natural resources.
  • Strains bilateral relations between nations.

Globalized Markets

Emphasis on continued economic growth and international trade sidelines policies that would place a nation at an economic disadvantage.

  • E.g. Regulations on the Oil Sands industry in Alberta would raise oil prices to American markets. This might prompt consumers to substitute with increased imports from offshore sources.[2]
  • Regional Instability: Benefits from continued development of the Oil Sands industry seems to take precedence over other stakeholders’ concerns. [3]
    • E.g. Indigenous aboriginal communities. [4]
  • Interregional policy mechanisms, like a continental cap and trade system, would level the playing field for all industries across borders. [5]

Necessity of International Collaboration

Carbon-trading schemes are increasingly embraced as useful and effective market-based instruments to curb GHG emissions.

  • But the effectiveness, scope and usefulness of carbon-trading are ultimately determined on the political level. [6]
    • A sufficiently large number of participants over an adequately large geographical area among the prerequisites of success.

Lack of a Binding International Agreement[7]

  • A bindinginternational agreement on GHG emissions reduction or clean energy generation that applies to both developing and developed nations would create a level playing field, thus overcoming “perceptions of equity.”
    • Many nations that resist signing, ratifying, and honouring the Kyoto Protocol give fairness as a reason.[8]
    • Absence of effective and swift, international mechanisms to punish deviants.
      • Politicians in countries like Canada, which did not meet its commitment, can undermine policies designed to meet Kyoto targets. [9]
      • Are these politicians wrong for protecting the economic interests of their voters?
      • How can we bind environmental concerns to economic costs and benefits?
  • Such an agreement would prompt individual nations to alter their development towards common goals and targets, thereby encouraging international collaboration.
  • Critical obstacle: Inadequate incentives for individual countries to accept and comply with such an agreement.

Solutions

Conventional Solutions

Transitioning to renewable sources of energy

  • Localized energy supplies minimize stress on natural resources an release political stress between countries that share these resources.
  • But hydro-powered dams can bear environmental costs may affect other regions. This reinforces the importance of interregional planning.
  • Furthermore, renewables are often still not sufficiently competitive with conventional energy.[10]
Progressive Solutions

Utilize global entertainment arenas to pressure nations into adopting and enforcing global carbon reduction targets.

E.g. Disallow nations that fail to accept, and meet, Kyoto Protocol targets from participating in Olympic Games.

  • This will involve globally unified civil action through protests and boycotts from stakeholders around the world.
  • Require host countries for the Olympics to make their facilities and preparations leading up to the Games fuelled by renewable energy.
  • Enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol will promote employment of the Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms and encourage inter-regional collaboration and planning.
    • E.g. Producers in developed nations offset GHG emissions by micro-financing renewable energy projects in developing nations.[11]
  1. [1] Explained in Problem 1.
  2. [2] Roger Ramcharita, Director of the Clean Energy Branch at Alberta Environment and speaker for the Future of the Oil Sands session at ISES 2011.
  3. [3] Explained in Problem 2.
  4. [4] http://www.ienearth.org/cits.html
  5. [5] Roger Ramcharita, Director of the Clean Energy Branch at Alberta Environment and speaker for the Future of the Oil Sands session at ISES 2011.
  6. [6]    Dr. James Tansey, Director of ISIS Research Centre, CEO and Founder of Offsetters and speaker for the Creating a Carbon Trading reality session at ISES 2011.
  7. [7] Expanded in Problem 4.
  8. [8]    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/901788–canada-joins-russia-japan-in-opposition-to-extending-kyoto-protocol
  9. [9] http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Politics/20070622/harper_kyoto_070622/
  10. [10] Expanded in Problem 7, 8, 9 and 10.
  11. [11] Explained in Problem 4.

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