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March 19, 2009

The world is energy short and carbon long. This report focuses on that juxtaposition and the means to achieve energy security in a world concerned over climate change and maintaining economic growth.

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Executive Summary:

The provision of a sustainable energy future will require a dramatic transformation of the world’s energy supplies and consumption patterns.  The current global financial crisis and accompanying economic downturn has made meeting this challenge significantly much more difficult.  Despite the current softening of energy demand, the world is facing a long-term tightening of conventional energy supplies and a need to address increasing environmental concerns that will require international cooperation on an unprecedented scale.

This will not occur unless the transatlantic community moves in concert to increase the efficiency of energy use, and to develop and deploy the technologies required to meet the needs of both the developed and developing countries. Efficient and effective technologies, policies and regulations will be required to sustain economic growth throughout the world.  Without a high degree of global cooperation, the objectives of achieving secure, reasonably priced energy to foster economic prosperity will not be attainable.  However, global cooperation will not occur without a significant increase in transatlantic cooperation. The world is looking to the developed countries to lead, and leadership of the transatlantic community is crucial. Neither Europe nor the United States will be capable of achieving the above objectives in isolation.

The report, along with a companion report focused on climate change, proposes a means by which the transatlantic community can effectively cooperate among itself and with other countries and international organizations by outlining twelve specific recommendations to governments on both side of the Atlantic, as follows:

  1. The transatlantic community needs to maximize “common, compatible and complementary” efforts to develop energy strategies, standards and regulations, research and development, markets, institutions, protection of infrastructure, and response to supply disruptions.
  2. A Transatlantic Forum on Energy Cooperation (TFEC) should be formed which includes the United States, the European Union, NATO, and the nations of both the EU and NATO.  The TFEC should establish a close working relationship between Europe and the United States on energy security, including joint efforts that will:
  3. focus on conservation and efficiency standards,
  4. accelerate the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies,
  5. coordinate and accelerate the demonstration of clean coal technologies with carbon capture and storage,
  6. support the development and deployment of safe, lower-cost nuclear power, focusing on nuclear waste and site issues and international controls and regulation,
  7. establish a Transatlantic Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Fund for joint research to accelerate the introduction on new technologies,
  8. create a transportation initiative to halve oil consumption in transportation by 2030,
  9. assess the future availability of oil and gas supplies and develop options, including alternatives.
  10. The transatlantic community should take the lead to expand membership of the International Energy Agency.
  11. The TFEC should hold a series of dialogues to establish a clear understanding of the appropriate role of military force and other security measures, and
  12. should establish a permanent working group on adaptation to climate change.

By following these recommendations and those of the companion report, the transatlantic community can develop the legislative and policy framework required to develop a sustainable energy industry that can be emulated throughout the world.  A number of major initiatives are already in place address many of these issues.  However, it is time for the transatlantic community to work together to ensure a secure, stable and sustainable supply of energy.

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