Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Recommendations for the agenda of the G8

The Institute for International Economics has some advice for the G-8.

The recommendations include:

1. Rescue the WTO's latest round of trade talks. The round - known as the Doha development round - risks failure. "The G-7 could make an important statement, or even reach an agreement, on the reduction of protectionism in agriculture, which is the key concession the rich countries need to offer the developing world."

2. Agree the Energy Charter Treaty; "In particular, Eurasian energy transportation systems, both pipelines and grids, should be opened to independent producers, foreign trade, and international transit. . . Private investment in the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas need to be stimulated through the reinforcement of investors' property rights and predictable, transparent taxation. Violations of these rules should be subject to binding international arbitration." Moreover, agree on the rational use of energy.

3. Invite China, India, Brazil, and South Africa to join the G8, making it a G12.

4. Increase the membership of the International Energy Agency.
Members of the IEA are expected to share their reserves of energy with one another. Here is an IEA Fact Sheet on IEA Oil Stocks and Emergency Response Potential. The release of oil stocks to the market in September 2005, which followed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, is detailed here; the contributions are based on members' energy consumption in the past; therefore the biggest releases came from the United States (44 percent), Japan (12 percent) and Germany (6 percent).


Obstacle in Russia to full agreement of the Energy Charter Treaty:

"the importance of clear-cut rules on international energy flows, and transit flows in particular, to ensure that energy resources can be brought to international markets without interruption."

"I have read the transcript of the 2001 Duma hearings, and while opinion was broadly favourable towards the Treaty, I well understand the concerns that were raised at this time. I feel that a number of these concerns were based on clear misunderstandings of the Treaty. . . However, there were also some substantial issues raised regarding the application of the Treaty’s Article 7 on transit. This was the main reason why – at the end of the debate – the conclusion back in 2001 in relation to ratification was: ‘not now, but later’, and, in particular, once certain issues related to transit have been clarified or studied in more detail."

"That was more than five years ago and – in the meantime – these outstanding questions have been taken up in the Charter process and in the negotiation of a Transit Protocol. That is why I am convinced that the moment defined as ‘later’ in 2001 is now within reach, and why I feel that 2006 is the right moment for a political signal from Russia that ratification is back on the agenda. "

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Progress of renewables in providing energy security

Last month the International Energy Agency gave details of the advances towards renewable energy globally. The progress is disappointing.

"In this leaflet, we define renewables to include combustible renewables and waste (CRW), hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, tide and wave energy." The leaflet tells us that renewable energy was 13% of the total energy supplied in 2003 - the total being split oil 35%, coal 24%, gas 21%, nuclear 7%, renewables 13%.

Although continuing supplies of energy are vital, the political commitment to new forms of energy seems to be missing. The big hopes of geothermal, solar, wind, tide, and wave energy supplied only 4% of the renewable total in 2003 - and 0.5% of the energy total. On the analysis of renewables, "Combustible renewables and waste (97% of which is biomass, both commercial and non-commercial) represented almost 80% of total renewables followed by hydro (16.2%).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Energy politics

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed today (21 March) to deepen energy cooperation. "Putin, who has made energy security the theme of Russia's current presidency of the G8 group of industrialized nations, said in November that diversifying energy export routes was a top priority, with supplies to Asia of paramount importance."

A report says that China plans to build 27 nuclear plants in the next 15 years. Russia intends to tender for them, and build 40 of its own by 2030. Russia also wants to set up in competition to the United States to reprocess the spent nuclear fuel of developing countries.

Meanwhile, the European Union still finds it difficult to agree a common energy policy.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


From G8 to G11?

It is suggested today that the G8 should be increased to a G11. Add India, China and Brazil says former UK Foreign Secretary David (Lord) Owen.

Why? Speed of action: in non-military issues [such as health], an expanded G8 would be beneficial. Yet reform is also needed to facilitate effective military multilateralism. Under UN resolution or with UN Security Council acquiescence, an enlarged G8 could act as the executive arm of a new Nato. The Rwandan genocide and Sudan's Darfur show the shortcomings of the present institutional arrangements.

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