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To what extent will increased energy scarcity effect geopolitics?

The focus in this question is the degree to which enhanced energy scarcity will effect politics on a global level. It is important to include a number of examples, such as Russian control over gas reserves and oil in Middle East. Here is a sample answer: 

Energy scarcity will have an enormous impact on global geopolitics. This is as a result of countries, particularly in the western world, dependence on energy to maintain everyday life. Therefore, in order to ensure that supply matches demand many countries will take a number of actions that could impact global political relations. OPEC nations, many of which are in the Middle East, control c. 44% of global oil production and 50% of global gas reserves. The USA is highly dependent on oil from the Middle East and this oil is often from unstable areas, such as the Middle East. Therefore, increases in oil scarcity could result in enhanced US involvement in the Middle East, which could result in increased global political turmoil.

 In addition, enhanced energy scarcity could result in expansion of energy activities into environmental sensitive areas, such as the Arctic. Extraction of Arctic Oil can have massive environmental impacts on the fragile local ecosystem. However, as the price of petroleum increases extraction of oil from environmentally sensitive areas such as the Arctic will become more viable. Thus resulting in enhanced political despites between indigenous communities, Governments, environmentalists and oil companies.

Furthermore, nations with greater energy reserves could use them as a weapon for political control. Thus highlighted the Ukraine ‘Gas Wars’ in 2006 , which resulted in Russia cutting off supplies to Ukraine, which impacted supplies into Europe. The gas dispute was arguably about Ukraine’s increasing relationship with Western Europe. This indicates that as energy scarcity, particularly in relation to fossil fuel access rises, nations with energy reverses could use this to gain political control. Energy Scarcity will have a significant impact on global geopolitical relations and nations with access and the ability to control energy supplies will have greatest influence over geopolitical relations. 

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