Climate Change and Energy
The issue of energy has been one of the reasons behind the creation of the G7 mechanism and with later added climate change problem, it remains high on the G8 agenda. The major powers of the West needed to coordinate their efforts in order to confront the new challenges: the need to ensure security of energy supply, introduce energy saving and energy efficient technologies and make sure that leading industrial countries can afford proper economic development with the adequate and unhampered energy supply. The global energy system has come through three major stages, with the last system structure still being in the making – with all the stakeholders, namely producer, consumer and transit states, big transnational energy corporations and national energy companies, still going through grand reshuffle and redistribution of “decision-making vs. accepting the rules of the games” roles. The G8 in general follows the suit along the lines of changes introduced within the global energy architecture fluctuations. As for the club’s activities, there is a way to provisionally single out five phases in the G7/G8 energy activities. During the times of the two energy crises – 1970s – early 1980s energy security issues took a prominent place on the G7 agenda. Further on during the period of much lower prices and sustainable excess of supply over demand this issue became second rate and was mentioned only within the environmental context. End of 1980s – early 1990s, after the demise of the Soviet Union and the socialist block falling apart the main focus of the G7 lead178 Part III. Critical cCase sStudies ers was shifted to the problems of nuclear security (not only as an environmental issue, especially after Chernobyl AES accident of 1986, but also in the light of growing risks of proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies. After 2000 energy security in its own right recaptured the attention of the G8 countries, with the so popular climate change issue being not only ecological, economic and political issue, but also intensified to a certain extent a PR and market-oriented reaction of the hydrocarbon consuming actors to the sky-rocketed oil prices. The fifth phase is still to be introduced and developed by the G8+ participants, since the current global financial and economic crisis has brought its own differentials into the process.