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Threats to Energy Security May Change the Map by Michael Bailey

Threats to Energy Security May Change the Map by Michael Bailey

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Published by Michael Bailey
A cursory examination of the ways in which energy security implications commonly affect civil stability. Explores issues of regionalism and nationalism in conjunction with energy trading and energy needs. Compares current policy trends against existing rivalries.
A cursory examination of the ways in which energy security implications commonly affect civil stability. Explores issues of regionalism and nationalism in conjunction with energy trading and energy needs. Compares current policy trends against existing rivalries.

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Published by: Michael Bailey on Jul 05, 2013
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04/23/2014

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Threats to Energy Security May Change the Map A recent Lloyd’s 360 report by Chatham House called “Sustainable Energy Security”,made the assertion that future challenges to meeting energy needs in the West aregoing to revolve around energy security. There are a number of issues that willcontribute to these challenges, including cyber security, other national security issues,political upheaval and environmental initiatives.Cyber Security ChallengesThreats to network security remain a prime concern for energy managers at every level,from retail delivery at fuel stations right to the top of governmental energy ministries.Security and information technology experts are scrambling to keep abreast of a rapidlychanging landscape with regard to vulnerabilities that are open to exploitation. Arrayedagainst them are literal armies, as well as individuals and groups, with increasingknowledge and skills in this arena.Certain groups like crime syndicates, Al Qaeda and Anonymous represent new threatspreviously seen on a much smaller scale, traditionally lone wolf hackers and small,loosely organized crime rings. Other, more obvious concerns are posed bygovernmental pursuit of deliberately directed and highly funded programs aimed atcompromising the energy infrastructure in order to lower defensive capabilities.
 
Countries like China, Iran, Venezuela, Russia and Syria have embarked on ambitiousprojects to shut down dams and generators, seize control of energy managementsystems and cripple energy grids. The West is no slouch with such programs itself, ashas been demonstrated with the viral destruction of Iran’s nuclear research program for a considerable period. Such destruction costs millions and can leave a country wideopen for military or terrorist attack.National SecuritySome estimates have oil peaking at over 200 dollars a barrel in the near future. Thiswould drive retail prices of gasoline and other consumer products to unprecedentedlevels. In the United States, there is the additional specter of inflation to deal with, fromcentral banking policies such as unlimited money supply. These types of concerns placeenormous pressures on societal ills like poverty and sluggish economies attempting toclimb out of recession.It is entirely conceivable that these pressures could result in civil unrest, even intraditionally stable societies such as the United States, Germany and the UnitedKingdom. One widely accepted model holds that it requires 10 calories of infrastructuresuch as fertilizer, fuel, packaging and electricity to produce one calorie of food in theWest.
 
Food prices could skyrocket along with energy costs. If people are unable to heat their homes, cook their food (or even purchase it) and lack access to hot water, tensionscould boil over into frustrations and even rioting. In such a situation, not only is thesocial fabric of a country threatened, rivals could seek to exploit these conditions to their own military advantages.Environmental ConcernsIn accordance with United Nations Agenda 21 and other such environmental initiatives,there have been severe limitations on exploration and retrieval of fossil fuels like gasand oil. In addition, many coal producers such as Australia and Europe are seeking toeliminate coal production entirely in coming decades. These have been, and remain, thecheapest sources of energy available. At this point, solar and wind have provenincapable of taking up the slack.No technological breakthroughs seem imminent that would change the shape of thatcurve, either. This means without significant technical development, such aspiezoelectric harvesting or dramatic reduction in fossil energy requirements to producesolar components, oil and gas prices seem destined to rise sharply. Given the

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