Towards a Unified Global Effort to Resolve the Energy Crisis

  • 5 June 2008

The debate is raging between the parties of the energy equation while oil prices have reached unprecedented heights. Each side in the equation blames the other, and international factors, and accuses them of being responsible for the state of affairs in the economies of the world as a consequence of rising oil prices that topped $130 a barrel, although these have retreated lately to about $125 a barrel. Even at this latter price, oil costs remain too high in comparison to those of a year ago when they only reached $65 a barrel.

It is without doubt that the increasing energy cost has negative consequences for consuming countries since the hike did not only affect the prices of crude oil but also spread to natural gas and coal and even bio-fuels which some consuming countries tried to use to address the issues of supply and high cost of oil. As a consequence, and following supply and demand principles, the price of alternative fuels jumped, resulting in a wave of ever-rising criticisms and accusations directed at producing and exporting countries. These countries responded in kind, which caused ongoing debates, lack of confidence between consumers and producers, raised tensions, and prompted mutual retaliatory actions. Consumers demand `liberalizing' oil markets, lifting supply constraints, and increasing producers' investments to raise the levels of exploration and production. The debate even reached the level of threatening legal action against producers.

Leveling accusations regarding oil prices will not decrease the acuteness of the energy crisis; instead, they will add to the complexity of the issue. Some parties' resort to vengeful or punitive measures against others in the equation will only lead to the exacerbation of the situation and will escalate it to new levels that would not be in the interest of the international economy or human prosperity. The right framework and correct choice for resolving the energy crisis are rational judgments based on a realistic evaluation of economic and scientific facts far from individualistic and selfish considerations. Additionally, the crisis should be dealt with radically and from all angles because it is an international problem with multiple elements and many reasons. Facing it selectively will not resolve it; nor will emphasizing individual interests without regard to the interests and needs of others. Such a course will lead to only one outcome which will not be happy or beneficial for any of the parties involved.