Energy security is one of the major global challenges of the 21st century. Many of the richest energy-producing regions of the world, such as the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, are unstable and torn with conflict. New fast-growing energy consumers, such as China, are significantly changing the geopolitics of energy resources. Billions of the world’s poorest suffer the insecurity of energy poverty or fail to benefit from the abundant energy resources that enrich political elites and companies. And our planet is increasingly under pressure because of our continued dependence on fossil fuels. It is easy to see why energy security has risen to the top of the political agenda and looks set to stay there.
In this book, Roland Dannreuther offers a new and comprehensive approach to understanding energy security. Drawing on the latest research in security studies, he treats energy security as a value that is continually in dynamic conflict with other core values, such as economic prosperity and sustainability. The different physical properties of the key energy resources – coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewables – are of course critical for the differing manifestations of energy insecurity. But it is the social, economic and political contexts, developed over time and place, which are essential for a fuller appreciation of contemporary energy challenges. In highlighting the history and politics of energy security and the critical role played by power and justice in framing these debates, this incisive and cutting-edge analysis is a go-to introduction for students grappling with the complexities of energy security today.