In the wake of the recent Russia-Ukraine gas spat, debate has begun once more in Europe on how to secure energy supplies. The focus again turns to developing policies that reduce the continent’s vulnerability to events that threaten the security of supply in the future.
As reported here earlier, in the wake of the gas dispute, a number of E.U. member states are considering a nuclear revival—while others have even switched on old Soviet-era nuclear reactors.
But an emphasis on “energy solidarity” and making energy efficiency targets mandatory, is also gaining traction in the European Parliament. Solidarity essentially means that an attack on the energy supplies of one E.U. member would be considered an attack on the energy supply of the entire E.U.
The Wall Street Journal’s Keith Johnson reports that Spain’s Socialist-led government, which is stridently against nuclear power, is instead pinning its energy security hopes heavily on a regimen of energy efficiency. Johnson goes on to suggest that a similar energy efficiency approach could become the “real red meat of Team Obama’s energy plans.”
While one could ask more academic questions such as whether improving energy efficiency actually decreases demand in the long-run, a more practical question might be whether President Obama still wants to attempt tackling such an immensely difficult task like energy independence during his first 100 days in office–by merely peddling energy efficiency as the solution? This comes as the American public’s attention begins to focus on other issues besides global warming, and as nuclear power continues to gain favor with Americans.
Mr. Bell is a U.S. Fulbright Fellow to Austria, and MPA student at Seattle University.