The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2006
The establishment of a reliable and
comprehensive system of energy security is one of the strategic goals for the
G-8 —- of which Russia assumed the presidency in January —- and the world
community as a whole. Today, energy is an engine of social and economic
progress. This is why it directly affects the well-being of billions of people
around the globe. During the Russian presidency of the G-8, not only will we
seek to develop fundamental approaches to meeting current challenges in this
field, but also outline our coordinated policy for the long term.
Today, the lack of stability in the
hydrocarbon markets poses a real threat to global energy supply. In particular,
the gap between supply and demand continues to widen. The apparent increase in
energy consumption in Asian countries is caused not only by market fluctuations
but also by a host of other factors related to policy and security. In order to
stabilize the situation in this field, coordinated activities of the entire
world community are needed.
The new policy of the leading
countries should be based on the understanding that the globalization of the
energy sector makes energy security indivisible. Our common future in the area
of energy means common responsibilities, risks and benefits.
In our view, it is especially
important to develop a strategy for achieving global energy security. It should
be based on a long-term, reliable and environmentally sustainable energy supply
at prices affordable to both the exporting countries and the consumers. In
addition to reconciling the interests of stakeholders in global energy
interaction, we will have to identify practical measures aimed at ensuring
sustainable access for the world economy to traditional sources of energy, as
well as promoting energy-saving programs and developing alternative energy
A balanced and fair energy supply is
undoubtedly a pillar of global security at present and in the years to come. We
ought to pass on to the future generations a world energy architecture that
would help avoid conflicts and counterproductive competition for energy
security. This is why it is essential to find common approaches to creating a
solid and long-term energy base for our civilization.
In this connection, Russia calls on
the G-8 countries and the international community to focus their efforts on
developing innovative technologies. This could serve as an initial step in
creating a technological basis for mankind’s energy supply in the future, when
the energy potential in its present form is exhausted.
Global energy security will also
benefit from an integrated approach to enhancing the energy efficiency of social
and economic development. The G-8 made important progress toward elaborating
this last year at Gleneagles, including, in particular, the adoption of a Plan
of Action aimed at promoting innovation, energy saving and environmental
protection. We find it crucially important to engage non-G-8 countries —-
especially fast-growing and industrializing economies —- in G-8 initiatives and,
particularly, in implementing the document adopted at Gleneagles.
The way most people see it, energy
security has mainly to do with the interests of industrially developed
countries. It should be kept in mind, however, that almost two billion people in
today’s world do not enjoy modern-day energy services, while many lack access
even to electricity. Their access to many benefits and advances of civilization
has been virtually blocked. Needless to say, energy alone would not solve the
poverty problem. At the same time, lack of energy resources throughout different
regions significantly hinders economic growth, while their unsustainable use may
result in an ecological disaster on a global rather than local scale.
Lately, experts have been actively
discussing ways of increasing energy use in developing countries through a more
intensive development of unconventional energy sources. And this is where
assistance rendered by the G-8 in developing and introducing alternative power
facilities becomes so important.
Generally speaking, all of us should
recognize and admit that “energy egotism” in a modern and highly interdependent
world is a road to nowhere. Therefore, Russia’s attitude toward energy security
remains clear and unchanged. It is our strong belief that energy redistribution
guided wholly by the priorities of a small group of the most-developed countries
does not serve the goals and purposes of global development. We will strive to
create an energy security system sensitive to the interests of the whole
international community. Basically, all it takes is for mankind to create a
balanced potential in order to provide every state with sustainable energy
supply, and international cooperation opens all avenues for that. Russia is
ready to contribute actively to further progress in this direction.