November 10, 2023

How Geopolitics Shifts Today’s Global Energy Industry

By Ana Stosberg

The Center for Global Affairs’ Associate Dean, Carolyn Kissane, met with host Allan Marks on the Law, Policy & Markets Podcast. The episode, titled The Geopolitics of Energy: “Shifting Sands”, touches on the policies prompted by the US, EU, and China that not only encourage but enforce the use of clean technologies. Listen to the episode here

Marks and Kissane discuss the role of geopolitics in energy using the Middle East as an example of how “war and regional instability threaten critical supply lines for oil and gas exports to Europe,” Marks explains. This worldly shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a step in the right direction regarding global warming. However, the politics of it all is still prominent in the progression of renewable energy. 

Overall, “the political climate has been very positive towards supporting renewable energy technologies,” Kissane states. Globally, the strategy for slowing down the effects of global warming has been to promote renewable energy. However, each country’s approach to supporting this positive change has been different. Kissane explains,“When you look at oil demand and gas demand, it's very important to understand what's happening in China…China is import-dependent on oil and natural gas.” Since this may become a vulnerability in the future, the Chinese government has made investments in green technology, A.I., and hard tech to compensate. 

China is not the only country that is putting money, policy, and concerted action behind renewable energy. European countries have also taken steps towards doing the same thing; as Kissane says, “It’s healthy competition.” Nevertheless, Kissane argues that natural gas is not going away and will stay with us for at least the next 20 years, but this does not mean other energies can slowly begin to be used in replace of oil and gas.

Carolyn Kissane and Allan Marks engage in a thought-provoking discussion that captures the essence of the global shift towards renewable energy through the geopolitical lens of it all. While countries like China aggressively invest in ways to keep them on top of the movement, and the EU promotes policies in support of the movement, the episode reminds us that the journey to renewable energy is not just about innovation and competition. It is also about the delicate balance between energy security for all countries and pushing the limits for a more sustainable future.

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