Past Program

Dec 03 - Dec 08, 2005

The Asian Energy Challenge and Implications for OECD-Asia, the United States, and Europe


As part of its East Asian Program, the Salzburg Seminar is proposing a special project on The East Asian Energy Challenge and Implications for Europe and the United States. The impetus for launching a series of sessions on this topic has emerged from the expressed concern about the increased energy needs of East Asia, combined with the region's dramatic economic growth and increased geopolitical influence. This issue has been raised repeatedly within the context of other Seminar sessions, as well as among Seminar contacts in governments, corporations and research institutions throughout the world. This program is distinctive in its emphasis on multi-sectoral, tri-partite dialogue between East Asia, Europe, and the United States. The Seminar plans to initiate this project with an initial session, December 3 to 8, 2005.

The powerful economic development in Asia, particularly China, has created a dramatic and ever greater need for energy in the region. Energy demand in East Asia will continue to grow in the coming years, and has critical implications not only for all countries in the region but also for Europe and the United States. Repercussions from the increase in Asian energy consumption can be viewed through a variety of prisms-strategic, economic, environmental, and security. East Asian countries are increasingly concerned about obtaining new and secure sources of energy. Development of new technologies for coal, more extensive utilization of natural gas, laying of pipelines, construction of nuclear power plants and hydroelectric plants, as well as green and renewable energy sources are among the initiatives underway. On another level, pressure on industry to use its energy more efficiently and to design more energy efficient products continues to build.

This series of sessions will involve representatives from government, the corporate sector, energy suppliers and consumers, as well as the research and non-governmental sectors. Among the issues to be addressed: How will major new energy consumers intend to satisfy their energy needs? Will they attempt to increase domestic energy resources, will they look to develop energy reserves abroad, and will they attempt to use their growing economic and political power to negotiate deals with major producers to acquire preferential access to specific energy markets? The Russian Far East is a significant potential supplier of energy for Northeast Asia, and Russia's role is of critical importance. In addition, questions exist over financing of an appropriate infrastructure to deliver Russian energy to East Asia as well as competition between China, Japan, and Korea for this Russian energy. What is the geopolitical impact of national energy companies forming overseas energy alliances to secure supplies? What role will East Asian countries, particularly China, play in collaborative international fora such as the International Energy Agency? What consideration is likely to be given to environmental impact and safety concerns? What are the strategic and security impacts of the planned construction in East Asia of large numbers of nuclear power plants of a highly sophisticated nature? The series will also examine the location of major energy fields and possible contested rights as well as possible threats to pipelines, issues dealing with sea lines of communications (SLOCs), and how security of energy fields, pipelines, and SLOCs can be maintained.

The impact on the environment, particularly local air quality and climate change due to uses of traditional energy sources must also be addressed. Because the industrial demand for energy to fuel economic growth as well as the demand for automobiles, electricity, and household goods continues to increase in East Asia, the region is confronted not only with rectifying the environmental degradation of the past, but addressing the acerbating burden brought about by the new demand for energy. As the international community and multinational corporations continue to make major investments in all parts of Asia, it is essential for East Asi