Please choose one discussion prompt below to respond to:  A – Russian Gas and European Politics, or,  B – Compare Energy Transition in Germany & Japan.  After making  your initial post, be sure to make at least one of your response posts  to the other discussion question prompt.

A – Russian Gas and European Politics

Western European natural gas dependency on Russia is a topic of  contemporary interest, but few people understand that this energy  interdependence was a product of political choices emanating from the  political tumult of the 1970s. In that decade, Western European  countries perceived the US  as being in need of economic and political balancing as much as they  wanted to reduce their reliance on Middle Eastern oil, and Russian  natural gas supplies amidst an era of détente offered a solution which  seemed to also increase diverse supplies for the West Germans, for  example. Four decades later, it is worth reassessing these particular  geopolitical conditions and addressing the questions below.

Based on your considered review of this module’s readings as well as  your reflection upon the first three modules, evaluate the questions  below. 

  • In retrospect it seems obvious, but exactly how and why did Eastern  European countries come to depend on Russian oil and natural gas after  World War II? 
  • Why did the Western Europeans reach energy accords with the Russians  in the 1970s and early 1980s, building large-scale natural gas import  infrastructures and increasing their dependence on Russian gas? 

OR

POL320_M4_DQ2_G1.pngB – Compare Energy Transition in Germany & Japan

The advanced industrial states vary greatly in their energy use and  greenhouse gas emission profiles. They also vary in government policies  and energy company commitments to altering course on consumption of  fossil fuels. Some advanced states have embraced a goal of less fossil  fuels in their electrical generation and transportation sectors, while  others are less interested in this goal and instead seek to maintain the  existing energy systems by simply bringing new fossil fuel supplies on  line to keep up with demand (e.g.,  Canadian oil sands for gasoline). Japan and Germany are advanced  industrial states with legacies of being fully entrenched in the US-led  system with a heavy emphasis on oil as the primary fuel. In each  American ally’s case, recent governmental decisions and corporate  commitments have altered each nation’s energy mix and course. Bearing  these potential differences in mind, address the questions below in this  discussion.

Based on your considered review of this module’s readings as well as  your reflection upon the first three modules, evaluate the questions  below:

  • What are Germany and Japan doing differently in their energy and  climate policies, compared with the US, and how has this affected their  mix of energy sources used? 
  • Do you believe Germany and Japan should be working toward a common  objective of energy transition away from fossil fuels? Why or why not?

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