Energy Security Versus Climate Security
Energy Security Versus Climate Security – See How Your Country Ranks Among Others — Some Are Predictable, Some Are Surprises.
Originally published on Forbes.com on November 29, 2022
This is a way for countries to assess their energy and climate security, to make a comparison with other countries, and even for governments to create a new policy.
Energy security is a source of anxiety across the world. Inflation is high, including the cost of natural gas and electricity, and many are predicting an imminent worldwide recession.
Things in Europe are worse because of the cuts in oil and gas triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A recent article predicted a bad winter for 2022-23 but a worse one for 2023-24. The author predicts that the real energy crisis will hit in 2023-2024 when fuel shortages in Europe will reach 20%.
COP27 is over, where international reps gathered to discuss climate security, lamenting that not enough progress is being made to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause global warming and ensuing climate disasters.
On one hand, the world is faced with energy insecurity, while on the other it’s faced with climate insecurity. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry is caught in the middle because it is responsible for about 83% of the world’s energy and about 73% of global GHG emissions.
It would be insightful to compare energy security versus climate security, country by country, on the same page. This information can be gleaned from one article discussed below.
The bottom line is Sweden is ranked at the top, the UK is fourth, the US is tenth, Australia is thirteenth, and China ranks fortieth. How is this ranking defined, and what does it mean? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Energy Trilemma Index.
The trilemma has three components: Energy Security, Energy Equity, and Environmental Sustainability.
- Energy Security is composed of Energy import dependence, Diversity of electricity generation, and Energy storage.
- Energy Equity consists of Access to electricity, Electricity prices, and Gasoline and diesel prices.
- Environmental Sustainability includes Final energy intensity, Low carbon electricity generation, and CO2 emissions per capita.
An additional factor called Country Context has been built into the assessment and it includes Macroeconomic stability, Effectiveness of government, and Innovation capability.
The original table has been modified into a new Table 1 below. The first two bullets above, when averaged, can be considered a proxy for energy security, while the third bullet is closely related to climate security.
In Table 1, Trilemma rank in the original article is an overall assessment of energy security, energy equity, environmental sustainability, and country context. The columns for Energy Security proxy and Climate Security proxy, are emphasized here because they are deemed a simpler measure to compare energy security against climate security.
If a country scores low in the Energy Security proxy and Climate Security proxy, then that country is rated highly in dealing with energy security and climate security. Note that the Energy Security proxy list does not begin with a rank of 1 because it’s an average of two separate rankings.
The key is how energy security compares with climate security. If the Energy Security proxy is a high number and the Climate Security proxy is a low number, this country scores well on climate security but low on energy security. And vice versa.
Table 1 here only includes results for a short list of countries from the full list of 120 countries.
The last column in Table 1 is a sum of these two proxies and shows that, in general, as we move down the table both energy and climate security decrease and become a reason for more concern (or stated in another way, energy insecurity, and climate insecurity increase).
Summaries are available for many but not all countries in the table list. A few of the following comments have drawn on minor adaptations from the article:
Three Baltic countries are in the top 4 of the table. Their energy security is good but not as good as the US or Canada. Their climate security is very good, equaled only by Norway (another Baltic country), France, the UK, and Brazil (surprise). Note that Norway exports large amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the unburned form of oil and gas, but it’s unclear if that’s counted here.
The US is ranked 10 in Table 1. Its energy security is excellent, but climate security is ordinary due to the release of so many GHG emissions. The US has a secure supply of energy with a mix of natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydropower, and renewables.
Canada and the UK are ranked overall fourth, but for opposite reasons. The UK is advanced in climate security, while Canada is advanced in energy security. The CO2 intensity of the UK economy has more than halved since 2000, due to a significant increase in renewable electricity generation, a rapid phase-down of coal in the energy mix, and a reduction in primary energy consumption from a 2005 peak.
France and Germany have climate security in good hands (France is better), but don’t score as well in energy security as the US and Canada, for example. The US and Canada have the benefit of the shale revolution to thank for this.
Australia is okay with energy security, with almost no reliance on energy imports. But the country underperforms in climate security which should improve with a new government in 2022 promising stronger action on climate plus rapidly expanding solar, wind, and battery developments.
Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar don’t score as well as expected in energy security by countries that produce so much oil and gas. And their positions in climate security are at the “concern” end of the distribution.
Japan is the middle of the road for an advanced economy. Their climate security is improving over time. But they need to import less energy to improve their energy security.
Developing countries like China, India, and Indonesia do not contain summaries in the article for some reason. But from the table, above it’s clear that their poor scores in both energy and climate security reflect the challenges imposed by their immense populations.
The table should be of particular interest to the oil and gas industry because it sits in the crosshairs of the dilemma between energy security and climate security. The fossil fuel industry is responsible for about 83% of the world’s energy and about 73% of global GHG emissions.
The table points out the disjunct between countries like the US and Canada, which score well on energy security, and European countries like the UK and France, which score well on climate security.
As expected, Baltic countries have the best balance between energy and climate security.
The table provides a way for countries to assess their energy security and climate security, and even make a comparison with other countries.
The analysis here may be useful for governments to create a new policy or stimulate old policy in respect of energy and climate security.