Energy security and climate change the loop that binds the world
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Energy Security and Climate Change: The Loop that Binds the World. Conference on Climate Change and Security By RSIS and the Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore Youngho Chang S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University 11-12 October 2007

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Energy security and climate change the loop that binds the world

Energy Security and Climate Change:The Loop that Binds the World

Conference on Climate Change and Security

By RSIS and the Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore

Youngho Chang

S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies,

Nanyang Technological University

11-12 October 2007

Traders Hotel, Singapore



  • Introduction

  • Energy Security

    • Definition

    • Determinants of Energy Supply

    • Ways of Ensuring Energy Security

      • Technology and Energy Diversification Measures

  • Economy, Energy, and Environment

  • Technology, Energy Security and Climate Change

  • Concluding Remarks



  • Energy security and climate change are a global phenomenon

  • Inherent asymmetry of cost bearing in ensuring efforts for energy security and mitigation efforts for climate change is a stumbling block for implementing an efficient, effective and equitable policy in a global scale to tackle both phenomena

  • Is renewable energy (or technology) a way of ensuring energy security and of mitigating or halting climate change due to anthropogenic causes of atmospheric build-up of greenhouse gases?

What is energy security

What is Energy Security?

  • Adequate and reliable supply of energy at a reasonable price

    • Adequacy is associated with production and generation capacity

    • Reliability is associated with transportation and transmission capability

    • A reasonable price is related with the cost of supplying energy and affordability

  • This definition could be extended to examine the status of energy security by computable measures

Energy security measures application to electricity market

Energy Security Measures: Application to Electricity Market

Factors of determining energy supply

Factors of Determining Energy Supply

  • Availability of resource

    • The stock of a resource must exist

  • Applicability of technology

    • A technology that enables the supply of the stock must exist

  • Acceptability by society

    • The resource must be accepted by a society

      • Environmental, social or political

  • These factors could be applied to examine the perspectives on fossil fuels

Measures of availability

Measures of Availability

  • AV – 1 : Proved reserves replacement ratio (RRR) of each firm

  • AV – 2 : Proved hydrocarbon reserves owned by each firm

  • AV – 3 : Capital expenditure on exploration and production incurred by each firm

Measures of applicability

Measures of Applicability

  • AP – 1 : Expenditure on research and development (R&D) invested by each firm

  • AP – 2 : Number of alternative energy technologies employed in each of the firms’ production

  • AP – 3 : Projected market share of renewables (excluding nuclear power) in the energy supply mix within the scenario horizon made by each firm

Measures of acceptability

Measures of Acceptability

  • AC – 1 : Expenditure on social development incurred by each firm

  • AC – 2 : Amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of hydrocarbons production of each firm

  • AC – 3 : Percentage of major operations of each firm certified ISO 14001 (an internationally recognized environmental management standard)

The 3 a triangle grid

The 3-A Triangle Grid

Application of the 3 a triangle grid

Application of the 3-A Triangle Grid

Ways of ensuring energy security

Ways of Ensuring Energy Security

  • Supply side

    • Increase potential supply or economic resources

  • Demand side

    • Improve energy efficiency

    • Encourage energy conservation

  • Integration of energy market (in a regional scale)

  • Backstop technology

    • An ultimate and abundant resource

      • Must be economically and technologically viable

    • Act as a price ceiling on the resources currently in use

    • Renewable energy resources fit into this definition

Price components

Price Components

  • Conventional fuels

    • Extraction, transportation and conversion cost

      • Resources need to be extracted, transported and processed (or converted) to meet end-use criteria as a fuel or energy

      • Is supposed to be constant for the simplicity of analysis

    • Scarcity rent (the implicit value reflecting the depletion of a resource)

      • Is supposed to increase at an interest rate

  • Backstop technology

    • No scarcity rent, but conversion cost

    • Is supposed to be constant

Effects of a backstop technology on resource switch

Effects of A Backstop Technologyon Resource Switch

Effects of a sustained hike in fossil fuel prices on resource switch

Effects of A Sustained Hike in Fossil Fuel Prices on Resource Switch

Backstop technology and renewable energy

Backstop Technology and Renewable Energy

  • Is renewable energy a backstop technology?

    • It would have not been used unless it had met the 3-A criteria

  • Candidates for a backstop technology

    • Fission power, Wind power, Solar power

    • Fuel cell or hydrogen, Fusion power

  • Is the usage of renewable energy a measure of energy security?

Ensuring energy security energy diversification measures

Ensuring Energy Security:Energy Diversification Measures

  • EDM1

    • (TES – TFFS)/TES = 1 – (TFFS/TES)

    • Represents the degree of fossil fuel independence

  • EDM2

    • (TES – TFFS – TNES)/TES = 1- (TFFS + TNES)/TES

    • Close to reality

  • EDM3

    • (TES – TFFS – TNES – THPS)/TES

    • 1 – (TFFS + TNES + THPS)/TES

    • Most stringent, but a true measure?

Energy diversification measures

Energy Diversification Measures

  • An Illustration

    • Out of total primary energy supply in 2006 (BP Statistical Review of World Energy), the share of nuclear energy is 0.058 and hydro-power 0.063

      • Total primary energy supply: 10,878.5 million toe

      • Nuclear energy: 635.5; Hydro-power: 688.1

    • This statistics shows EDM1 can be calculated as about 0.12

    • How can this statistics be interpreted?

An analytical framework

An Analytical Framework

  • An Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) model incorporates

    • An economic growth model,

    • An aggregate representation of the carbon dynamics and

    • Endogenous substitution of energy use in an economy

  • E3 combines top-down economic approach and bottom-up engineering approach

A backstop technology in the e 3 model

A Backstop Technology in the E3 Model

  • Different rates of advancement or diffusion in a backstop technology have startling but distinguishable influences on the paths of atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases vis-à-vis of temperature change

  • Solar energy is chosen as a backstop technology and all end-usage are eventually met (but different time scales) by electricity harnessed from solar energy.

Degree of solar energy utilization and temperature change

Degree of Solar Energy Utilization and Temperature Change

  • Assumptions

    • Two sectors in a global economy

      • Capital goods and consumption goods producing sector

    • Three production factors: capital, labor and energy

    • Four energy sources

      • Three fossil fuels (finite) and solar energy (infinite)

      • A representative technology is employed for calculating the cost of using energy in each sector

      • The costs of using these energy sources are different by sector (2x4 matrix, i.e., 8 different cost parameters)

    • The cost of generating electricity from solar energy is decreasing at 5%, 10%, 30% and 50% per decade

Resource switching time by sector

Resource Switching Time by Sector

Greenhouse gas emissions paths

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Paths

Temperature change paths by different harnessing cost

Temperature Change Paths by Different Harnessing Cost

Concluding remarks i

Concluding Remarks I

  • Energy (i.e., energy use) is in the loop of energy security and climate change that binds the world

    • Efforts for ensuring energy security through exploring more conventional energy sources or technological developments in harnessing various alternative energy sources affect climate change by altering mainly the extent of greenhouse gas contributions

    • Movements for mitigating or halting climate change chiefly by limiting energy use or altering energy use behavior also influence the availability of energy, the applicability of relevant technology and the societal acceptability towards the energy

Concluding remarks ii

Concluding Remarks II

  • Unless the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are stabilized within or at a threshold level, a vicious cycle of using more energy and putting more damage onto the world keeps going and a breakdown of the harmless or benign natural cycle would occur

  • In addition, severing the loop is not possible as this goes against natural laws

  • However, the loop or cycle can be less vicious if the world switches to a backstop technology, an ultimate, clean and abundant energy source

Concluding remarks iii

Concluding Remarks III

  • To make such a switch happen

    • We need to be clear about the definition of energy security and how energy supply is determined

    • We need to identify ways of ensuring energy security and mitigating climate change through supply and demand side instruments and implement them

    • We need to develop a backstop technology and make a smooth transition to such a stage in which all or as much as energy sources are harnessed from an ultimate, clean and abundant energy source

Concluding remarks iv

Concluding Remarks IV

  • Renewable energy could fit into a backstop technology

  • Energy Diversification Measure (i.e., how much energy is harnessed from renewable sources) can show the degree of energy security

  • A simulation study shows that successful developments of such a backstop technology could stabilize the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and prevent a drastic situation in climate change



  • Bielecki, J. (2002) “Energy Security: Is the Wolf at the Door?,” The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 42:235-250.

  • Bohi, D. R. and M. A. Toman (1996). The Economics Of Energy Security, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston.

  • Chakravorty, U., J. A. Roumasset, and K.-P. Tse (1997). “Endogenous Substitution among Energy Resources and Global Warming,” Journal of Political Economy. 105(6): 1201-1234.

  • Chang, Y. H. and W. Toh. (2007). “Efficiency of generation companies in the deregulated electricity market of Singapore: Parametric and non-parametric approaches,” International Journal of Electronic Business Management (to be published).



  • Chang, Y. H. and J. Yong (2007). “Differing perspectives of major oil firms on future energy developments: An illustrative framework,” Energy Policy 35 (11): 5466-5480 (2007).

  • Harris, D. P. (1993). “Mineral Resource Stocks and Information,” in Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics by A. Kneese and J. L. Sweeney (eds.), North-Holland.

  • Nordhaus, W. D. (1979), The Efficient Use of Energy Resources. Yale University Press.

  • Nordhaus, W. D. (1994). Managing the Global Commons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Nordhaus, W. D., and J. Boyer (2000). Warming the World: Economic Models of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Thank you

Thank You!

Comments or suggestions, please contact me at

[email protected]

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