The Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings encourages the development, discussion and dissemination of high-caliber energy and climate research. ESCI is guided by the observation that energy policy choices of the past have shaped the current economic, environmental and strategic landscape in profound ways, and by the additional premise that the energy decisions we make today will have an equally profound impact on the economic, environmental and strategic landscape of the future. Achieving a more secure future will therefore require a determined effort to understand the consequences of our present actions in each of these spheres and to transform them into effective policy prescriptions.
ESCI, through its research and convening efforts, seeks to examine three key substantive aspects of energy security:
- From a strategic perspective, we focus on the geopolitics of energy in a range of countries and regions around the world, including the Middle East, Asia, Russia, Europe and Latin America. We aim to understand the intersection of politics and energy; security risks to the United States and other consumers and producers posed by vulnerabilities in energy supply; the ways in which energy demand drives national security decisions in countries such as China and India.
- From an economic perspective, we focus on supply disruptions and price spikes and their effects on the United States and the world energy markets; the impact of the transition toward lower-carbon energy sources on energy producing and consuming countries; and the impact of open and sustainable economic systems on development both in energy-consuming and energy-producing nations.
- Considering the environment, we focus on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, including non-fossil supply sources; pathways toward a low-carbon energy future; demand management, regulation, taxes and other policy tools that can incentivize a low-carbon transition; and the geopolitics of international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Governance and security arrangements that cut across all three major issue areas are also examined. These include the interplay between federal, state and local regulation of various forms of energy; the role of existing institutions in international energy markets; efforts to increase incentives to invest in new and existing resources and technology; achieving greater diversification of the energy mix domestically and globally; building institutional capacity to curb carbon emissions; and managing the geopolitical impacts of a transition to greener energy.
Energy security is a major factor influencing how countries conduct their foreign, economic and international security policies. Major supplier countries with vast energy resources exercise power on the international stage, but that situation is changing as energy markets and supplies change. Energy is a primary consideration in how large importers—in need of adequate, reliable, and affordable supplies of energy—make alliances, offer foreign aid, and otherwise conduct their foreign policy. Brookings aims to guide effective, pragmatic policies to address U.S. and global energy and climate issues over the next decade.