The External Dimension of the European Research Area
Edited by Heiko Prange-Gstöhl
Chapter 3: Forging European Responses to the Challenge of Climate Change and Energy Resource Supply
Catherine Mitchell INTRODUCTION The European Union is keen to find its appropriate role in the rapidly changing world we live in. Recent issues, such as the 2008 oil price hike and food riots, combined with the more traditional challenges of climate change and energy security, have enhanced the need for a flexible, international science and technology policy for Europe, capable of addressing both short- and longterm concerns. This chapter focuses on this area, with particular reference to climate change and energy resource supply. The 2008 oil price hike (Forbes 2009) highlighted serious political, environmental and social issues concerning the dependence on, security to, and affordability of, energy around the world; as well as the complex, unintended consequences of policies. One result of the increasing oil prices was that hitherto non-competitive sustainable (for example renewable) and non-sustainable forms of energy (for example oil sands) became more affordable; another was that it led to an increased use of coal, as its price fell below natural gas. In parallel, efforts to develop biofuels to mitigate climate change, to reduce dependence on oil and to improve energy security has been linked to, although not proved to be the cause of, an increase in the price of staple foods. The combination of increasing oil and food prices led to serious social unrest in several parts of the world forcing Europe to examine its appropriate role in this area. Around the same time, concerns related to the Russia–Ukraine natural gas dispute strengthened European desires for...
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