The Challenges Facing Comprehensive Energy Policy
World leaders have long grappled with the challenges of comprehensive energy policy, and with little success. The United States has been no more successful in adopting energy policy than our counterparts. But, as challenging as the development of comprehensive energy policy is, those efforts must be aligned with broader policies that impact health, safety and economic prosperity for all people. Energy policies must be compatible with policies on land use, access to water, environmental stewardship, economic growth and national security.
Decisions made in one part of the world potentially pose significant negative impacts to others. Our global population is expected to continue to grow at a healthy rate, resource shortages are noticeable in parts of the world (and expected to worsen), and the natural interest of nation-states to keep their economies growing will continue to put pressure on energy feedstocks and other critical resources. As non-renewable resources dwindle, shortages will inevitably lead to tension and conflict between nations. In the worst case, these conflicts manifest themselves in military engagement. It is within this context of an uncertain world and multiple competing priorities that comprehensive global energy policy must find its place, and in some way co-exist with these competing priorities.
A complete discussion of energy policy, how it relates to other major global initiatives, financial health, quality of life, and the environment would take volumes. This article is intended to simply scratch the surface of the issues and provide insight for those engaging in the debate.