Energy security and climate change: Conflicting or complementary energy policy objectives?

Gordon MacKerron

Raphael Sauter University of Sussex SPRU



Energy security and climate change have become core energy policy objectives. Despite arising conflicts both objectives have predominantly been framed as complementary in the policy debate. In the context of energy security potential policy trade-offs have mostly been discussed in relation to market liberalisation objectives and sufficient incentives for new investments. On the other hand, climate change policies and their costs have been discussed against economic competitiveness, growth and employment while often neglecting indirect benefits. The Stern report contributed to a certain shift in this perspective by highlighting the potential societal costs if no or insufficient action against rising GHG emissions is taken. The proposed paper aims to provide a better understanding of the potential trade-offs and synergies between energy security and climate protection as core energy policy objectives. For this purpose the paper will first present a theoretical and conceptual discussion of energy security and climate change policies and their potential linkages. Particular attention will be paid to trade-offs between climate adaptation and energy security policies which has been widely neglected in the literature. In a second step it will empirically assess the role of the two energy policy objectives as frames in two national energy policy processes: the UK and Germany. These two EU member states represent two contrasting examples with quite distinctive experiences in national energy policies. The study will conclude with some national and EU relevant policy recommendations.

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