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Volatile oil prices, growing demand for energy, concentration of resources in politically sensitive areas and the loom of global warming—these are just a few issues that have made policymakers open their eyes to a banal truth that the continuity of energy supplies cannot be taken for granted. Hardly anyone now calls into question the need for coordinated international action to combat climate change or the mounting strategic significance of energy security for both consumers and producers. Hardly anyone calls into question the need for access to cheap energy as one of the prerequisites of steady economic development and modernization. These issues, the “three E’s”—environmental acceptability, energy security and economic efficiency—are closely interwoven and at the same time to some extent mutually-exclusive. That is why it is necessary to find ways to balance them and to define the potential trade-offs.
This book is the outcome of a conference organized by the Polish Institute of International Affairs in September 2008. It addresses some selected issues of the double challenge of energy security and climate change, such as concern over security of natural gas supplies, energy efficiency, nuclear power or the energy/climate nexus of the main stakeholders in global negotiations on the post-Kyoto climate agreement. What seems obvious from the global perspective seems less so when reduced to individual states and regions, which still tend to look at climate and energy policy through the prism of short and mid-term economic and security objectives. Here again the international community should work out a commonly agreed agenda with balanced responses to the needs and expectations of both the developed North and the industrializing South [edytuj opis]