China proposes global energy governance, development

China wants an international body to govern energy supply for greater stability. It is also seeking more renewable energy development and technology transfer to underdeveloped nations that are energy poor.
Written by David Worthington, Contributor
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has proposed the creation of rules governing global energy supply. (Image Credit: WIkipedia Commons)

China is calling for an international body to govern energy markets and is suggesting that developed nations take action to address the issues of energy and resource inequality in impoverished states.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today proposed that a G20 like body be assembled to establish "fair, reasonable and binding" global rules to stabilize supplies of natural gas and oil at World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UPI reports. Stakeholders from consumers, suppliers and transit countries should all be involved, he said.

Geopolitics frequently disrupts global energy markets. Events ranging from tensions in the Middle East to dust ups between Russia and former Soviet republics have adversely impacted energy prices and supplies. Wars have broken out over scarce resources, such as salt, and similar conflicts could happen again in the future.

I recall former U.S. President and oilman George W. Bush reading up on salt's impact on conflicts, finance, and trade. It's not too difficult to imagine a dystopian future where energy and sources spur similar situations.

China's desire for energy supply stability makes sense. It is a budding superpower, and has used diplomacy to secure energy resources that fuel its growth. Aside from calling for increased global cooperation, it has recently resisted U.S. pressure to reduce oil imports from an IAEA defying Iran and dramatically increased its footprint in Africa’s energy markets.

Lest China be accused of being self-serving, Jiabao drew attention to the relationships between energy and poverty. He noted that access to energy and resources is a human growth and development issue. People who lack electricity miss out on educational opportunities and may lack basic necessities such as clean drinking water.

Jiabao called for the adoption of policies that would spawn the creation of renewable energy technologies and more energy efficiency. Developed nations should be willing to share their technologies with underdeveloped countries, Jiabao said.

The United Nations is encouraging wealthier nations to invest in sustainable energy to broaden economic development and advance human health in energy poor nations. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that millions of people throughout the world still lack basic access to electricity, according to UPI.

(Image Credit: International Energy Agency: World Energy Outlook 2011)

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