It would not be an exaggeration if history labels this year as the energy security year.
This is because over the past decades human socio-economic progress has led to an unprecedented increase in energy consumption. This increase in relying on renewable and non-renewable energy in all aspects of our lives, including food, housing, transportation and industry to name only a few examples, means that any disruption in our access to the energy we need is a security risk for current and future generations.
Today, each country in the world is at a crossroad regarding, to deal with an elephant in the room: How can we balance between sustainability-driven climate change policies with the need to secure an energy mix that matches the country’s development plans?
What makes energy security conversation more relevant now than ever is the current all-out-war between the West led by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) on one side and Russia and China on the other.
While the United Nations and the majority of countries around the world have been focused for the past two decades on adopting a climate change policy that includes focusing on renewables.
The current Russian war on Ukraine has fractured the Western-influenced climate change story. In the past two weeks alone, several countries in Europe have announced coal energy related projects, including leading renewables countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.
The significance of this policy reversal is its influence with less renewable technology resources who have been lobbied by the UN, the US and EU for years to abandon ‘dirty’ fossil fuels related energy sources in favour of renewables.
The Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (AGCCC) have been subject to targeted hard and soft power influence campaigns, proposed legislations and taxes that portray this oil and rich part of the world as part of the problem but not as part of the solution.
The real elephant in the room is the AGCCC, US, EU enduring political and economic alliance and how much it will impact the AGCCC's recent tendency to favour a multi-polar world that counts Russia and China as a power to reckon with within the “international community”.
Current scenarios indicate that global conflicts are leading to a global energy security situation where climate change policies will take a back seat, and securing cheap energy sources for the world superpowers will take the front seat and centre stage.
Sooner or later the AGCCC countries will need to decide whether to address the energy security elephant in the room, or the world superpowers will likely nudge them towards a decision in favour of their own national security agenda.
Khalid Al Huraibi
The writer is a corporate innovator and an insights storyteller