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Energy... beyond oil$
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Fraser Armstrong and Katherine Blundell

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199209965

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199209965.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

Governing the transition to a new energy economy

Governing the transition to a new energy economy

(p.197) 13 Governing the transition to a new energy economy
Energy... beyond oil

James Meadowcroft

Oxford University Press

Over the next two or three decades a new energy economy should begin to take shape in the developed industrial countries. This will not be a post-fossil fuel economy. But it could be an economy in which non-fossil sources play a more important role; where efficiency in the production, distribution, and use of energy is significantly enhanced; where new storage and carrier technologies are being adopted; and where the fossil sector is being transformed by the imperative of carbon sequestration. Such an energy economy would represent a critical staging post in a much longer transition towards a carbon neutral, low-environmental impact, energy system. The extent to which a new energy economy actually materializes will depend on many factors including the pace and orientation of international economic development, the rate and direction of technological innovation and diffusion, as well as patterns of geo-strategic cooperation and conflict. But there is no doubt the trajectory will be significantly influenced by political decisions and government action on the energy file. This is the issue with which this chapter is concerned. At the moment there are two main political drivers for the move to look beyond oil. First, there are supply concerns. Increasing global demand, production bottlenecks, and political instability have pushed oil prices towards historic highs. Although the oil intensity (oil consumption per unit of GDP) of the OECD economies is less than during the oil crises of the 1970s (IMF, 2005), there is no doubt that the long term economic impact of high oil prices would be considerable. There are also critical issues associated with the geographic distribution of reserves. Production from areas opened up following the turbulence of the early 1970s (such as the North Sea) is peaking. In coming years the United States will be more heavily dependent on imported oil, with an increasing percentage of these imports destined to come from politically volatile areas in the Middle East and Asia. And this presents a serious risk of supply disruption.

Keywords:   Netherlands, carbon sequestration, deregulation, energy assistance, interactive governance, privatization, sustainable development

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