The energy policy of the European Union and China toward the Arctic in view of falling oil and gas prices, climate change and low-carbon economies
Keywords:energy sources, energey policy, Arctic, coal, oil, natural gas, renewable energy sources, sustainability
Energy has become one of the most important fields of international policy since many countries are now aware that traditional (fossil) energy sources are finite. The European Union and China among the others try to ensure their sustainable energy supply and energy security. Both of them are net importers, their growing economy based on external energy sources. The Middle – East Africa and Eurasia have been the energy supplier regions in the world, but today the taut situation in those regions and the fierce competition between the EU and China force them to find new energy fields. The Arctic region is rich in hydrocarbon and other energy sources that have not been exploited yet. That is why the EU and China pay more attention to this region. This article attempts to reveal the different energy policies of the EU and China towards the substantial fossil energy resources of the Arctic taking into consideration the increasing need for renewable energy sources and the growing demand to phase out fossil fuels, particularly coal. First, a brief overview of the energy sources and institutions of the Arctic region illuminates the major role of the Arctic Council, then the European Union’s and China’s energy policy and their current energy situation are analyzed. The next paragraphs reveal the recent steps, future targets, and achievements of the European and Chinese energy policy towards the Arctic. These paragraphs describe the Neo-Liberal energy policy of the European Community and the Realist or Neo-Liberal ways of Chinese energy strategy, unfortunately, based mainly on fossil fuels. However, due to increasing political pressure because of climate change and environmental pollution, the development of renewable energy sources is imperative, often integrated into one “more sustainable” system with the traditional fossil energy sources. The central question is: Whose policy will win the battle for the Arctic region’s energy sources? It means whose policy will be more effective to obtain energy sources, both fossil and renewable ones. Finally, it sums up and compares the differences between the two international actors’ energy policy regarding their strategies for explorations of fossil fuels and renewables and highlights the different ways and tools of their energy diplomacy.
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