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?
B – 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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