Mohammed Amine Belarbi ( Morocco, 10-12, RCN)
Energy has long been in the heart of discussions spanning from the corridors in the white house to the modest coffee shops whose owners curse day and night the recurrent cuts in electrical supply during the height of the classic game played in front of a vast crowd of customers. Yet the actual turning point in the energy revolution started a couple of years ago when serious leaps forward were made to bring these talks to life and implement what has long been kept in archives and technical plans. What made this green revolution in the last decade spur and offshoot in the world affairs is not an ethical or considerate incentive towards mother Earth and the future generations, but rather a profit and benefit driven agenda which amounted to the most critical items in the national security concerns. These incentives, which I will try to explore and shed light on, are not any new emerging factors, but are incentives know to societies and governments since the early Babylon and the paranoid empires which made our history class much more enjoyable!
Political stability and Economic Prosperity
The first and foremost concern of any standing government and existing society is political and social stability. A state of fear and disturbance is ultimately a noxious land which prevents the establishment of any prosperous life and the sustainability of daily activities. Yet the social and political chess game of a certain nation cannot only be devastated by a victorious chess mate climbing on the top of tanks and fighter jets, but also can be overruled by economic and financial warfare. These are nothing shocking as economic embargos and thus energy prompted shortages have been used since Medieval blockades on castles and then upgraded to much more efficient mechanisms used against non-complying actors in the world scene (Economic embargo on Iran and Iraq which targeted mainly energy sectors through restrictions on oil industry).
Quite a striking event which pushed seriously the advisors and strategists in all presidential and royal cabinets to think twice about bypassing conventional energy sectors is a rather forgotten event ditched in the 70s: The oil crisis!
A quick overview of this piece of history for those who didn’t scroll through their history manuals in high school is here presented, and as obvious as it may seem, taken from the holy Wikipedia who saved our lives so many times it needs to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize:
‘’The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) proclaimed an oil embargo. This was “in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military” during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the U.S. actions seen as initiating the oil embargo and the long term possibility of high oil prices, disrupted supply and recession, a strong rift was created within NATO. Additionally, some European nations and Japan sought to disassociate themselves from the U.S. Middle East policy. Arab oil producers had also linked the end of the embargo with successful U.S. efforts to create peace in the Middle East, which complicated the situation. To address these developments, the Nixon Administration began parallel negotiations with both Arab oil producers to end the embargo, and with Egypt, Syria, and Israel to arrange an Israeli pull back from the Sinai and the Golan Heights after the fighting stopped. By January 18, 1974, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had negotiated an Israeli troop withdrawal from parts of the Sinai. The promise of a negotiated settlement between Israel and Syria was sufficient to convince Arab oil producers to lift the embargo in March 1974. By May, Israel agreed to withdraw from some parts of the Golan Heights.‘’
Most of world economies are heavily relying on oil as a prime catalyst of all major industries, and those who detain the blessings of oil reserves are the true holders of the key to economic output, aka we Arabs and other not so American friendly nations, have the power to induce political changes and dictate actions on states foreign policies of the international community through the stick of oil exports. How can sovereign states claim integrity when its prosperity and stability can be compromised by outside players who detain the fuel to world economies?
This has led to the emergence of two philosophies at the state levels: oil stockpiling and renewable energy development. The first proved to be quite challenging due to the physical dimensions it occupies, and due to the hazards associated with stockpiling inflammable materials. Clever analysts and strategists decided that government working plan should pour in the direction of initiating and developing programs in universities, businesses and technological centers to produce and market renewable sources of energy, well most of the world went on that direction except those who always want to swim against the current: Americans! (USA, Canada is innocent of all the foolish policies of its neighbor)
As a direct product, 16% of nowadays energy output sources from renewable sources, propelling several nations into a serenade of political and economic stability. A striking example is Iran which most of the western world pictures a nation of bearded fanatics planning to launch a nuclear warfare! Iran is a pioneer in renewable energy in the Middle East, with a clear global leadership in wind power with a wind power capacity of 130MW as of 2009. Due to its controversial foreign policy, Iran is an obvious targets for international sanctions and embargos, and since its Islamic revolution and the consequent nuclear program development, Iran regards renewable energy not only as a privilege but as a survival kit in a ferocious world environment. Depending solely on oil is a self-suicide for any nation which intends to displease to Uncle Sam, and Iraq would quite agree with that as it made a quite direct and painful encounter with this concept, an encounter which cost its previous regime and its political and social stability. Khomeini’s followers took lesson from history and thus the outreaching technological endeavors undertaken by the leadership in the domains of space exploration and renewable energy are clear repercussions of the realization of the importance of self-dependency, especially in the Energy sector.
“New Energy sectors for a New World Order” is a summary of the importance of alternative energy development in today’s world. The torch bearers won’t be those who manufacture F35s or cross continental missiles, but the nations who accomplish and attain energy sufficiency and surpass it to renewable energy export. No wonder all the attention is today directed to the Gulf, namely Qatar and the United Arab Emirates who, though small in size, had a great impact in the global Energy scene. Innovations and technological breakthroughs in wind, solar and tidal powers have turned the wealthy emirates into international hubs with world recognition further confirmed by the shift of international businesses and research teams to the East. Masdar institute and Masdar city where World summits on Renewable Energies are hosted are none but a fragment of the industry operating in the Gulf, a promising and money making field where even the conventional environment criminals couldn’t contend but joining and investing in.
Moral of the story: the doors of the competition for global leadership are open, and the New World Order is waiting for new actors to shape it with their innovative and long term investing policies. Survival will be determined by Energy sufficiency, and the development of the renewable energy sectors are tantamount to developing patriot missiles in a world where the rockets of energy crisis are never too far from striking!
– United words team-.