How does projected energy consumption in the world, and specifically in the US affect world politics and economics
Energy forms a main part of the everyday lives of mankind. Energy is needed to switch on lights, drive cars, create the merchandises used and keep homes warm during winter, and cool during summer. As the economy nurtures, demand for energy augments as the number of appliances; domestic or industrial; augments as well as demand more functionality from innovative products. To appreciate the fundamental trends in energy consumption good quality statistics are need since our energy exploit has an immense impact on our environment, economy and politics.
As the economy develops and activity augments within the economy it is more often than not correlated to rises in the transportation, production, and utilization of goods and services all of which need energy. The demand for energy thus shoots up. Since there is elevated demand and the supply is rather constant or below the demand, countries tend to search for fresh discoveries and technical innovations to increase the magnitude of the energy reserves around the world. For instance some analysts anticipate that shale gas may enlarge global energy supply up to 50 percent (Raymond, 2009).
This apparent shift from conventional energy productions to new discoveries elicits reactions and tensions among the stakeholders in the energy industry. This is especially seen in the aspect of nuclear power; though this is one of best energy source, both in terms of energy production and waste management in relation to global warming (Gichana, 2000). All techniques of producing energy have grave environmental impacts. The main protests against nuclear power plants are the trepidation of probable accidents, the uncertain problem of nuclear waste storage, and the prospect of plutonium distraction for weapons manufacture by a terrorist group; terrorism. The chief advantage of nuclear power plants, though, is that they do not cause environmental pollution (Gichana, 2000). This is just part of politics of the rich oil dependants on controlling the world.
International politics is one thing that is dearly affected by projected energy consumption. World energy consumption has projected over the years by 44 percent through in the US according to recently released data by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2010). This increase in demand has made the US as a superpower venture into other countries for energy raw materials such as oil. Recently, the US under Bush, raided Afghanistan and Iraq, allegedly to have their oil or have them cheaper. In addition, the on going referendum in the Sudan is of great importance to The US, since they believe by the South Sudan gaining autonomy, they stand to benefit from its oil. South Sudan is vehemently rich with oil reserves.
The wild fluctuations in the price of oil have caught many, if not all, practitioners and academicians of energy resources off guard. How much of it could be explained by changes in the fundamentals of demand and supply, and how much of it could be ascribed to the speculators? The determinants of energy prices as well as the effects of such fluctuations on the global economy are of great importance. An increased energy production in an economy can either make or break one. For example some analysis put the cost of energy subsidies in OPEC countries at more than 100 billion a year (Raymond, 2009). As demand for oil is increased, such countries have an upper hand especially in terms of oil revenue, they gain a lot. But those other countries have to pay the huge levies that come with increased oil prices thus affecting their economies negatively.
The growing threat of climate change may create radical alterations in how the world consumes energy. This change will affect both energy producers and consumers. Increase in energy consumption has brought about (Karling,2001) The high release of greenhouse gases mostly from burning of fossil fuels has caused the global temperatures to rise resulting in what is known as global warming. These changes will eventually alter the ecosystem and this will in turn affect the water supply, crop yields, and forest land.
In conclusion, increased trends in energy consumption produce an immense impact on our environment, economy and politics. As discussed above, The US being a superpower is not exempted from this. It is therefore important to reduce overreliance on oil, and accept other ways of producing enough energy for the increased demand.
U.S. Department of Energy; Energy Information Administration. Annual Energy Outlook 2008. (4/30/2008)://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/
Gichana, S.M., (2000) “Energy generation for the world today”; Energy, Calcutta; Mahindra press
Karling, Horace M. (2001) Global Climate Change. Huntington, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers
Raymond, M., (2009) The world in terms of energy consumption. London