Energy security

The work of the Energy (ENE) Program on energy security focuses on how energy security is framed as a policy issue in different political contexts and interacts with other energy policy objectives.

Oil extraction in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, China; © Xishuiyuan | Dreamstime

Oil extraction in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, China; © Xishuiyuan | Dreamstime

In 2014 Jessica Jewell a multi-model comparison on energy security-driven scenarios, as depicted by energy independence targets in all world regions.

The paper that came out of these scenarios is the first systematic evaluation of the effect one key energy security strategy would have on greenhouse gas emissions and the energy system.  

It was found that the relationship between energy independence and climate policies is asymmetric: while climate change mitigation would significantly decrease energy imports in almost all world regions [1], energy independence policies have very little impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

ENE also co-authored two papers [2] [3] examining how and why different energy systems become energy security issues in different political contexts.  

Building on the traditional security literature, it was argued that energy security policy analysis should start with three basic questions: security for whom? security for which values? security from which threats?

This framework was then used to analyze energy security policies and discourses in China to explain why oil continues to be the energy security issue in the policy arena, even though China is the sixth biggest oil producer in the world and has not experienced a disruption in the past two decades [4]. This was found to be due to the centralized institutions to protect oil which were set up in the 1960s following a Soviet oil embargo and that, in spite of the growth of Chinese oil production through the 1990s, continue to promote the importance of oil as a security issue. In contrast, no centralized institutions exist to govern either coal or electricity.


[1] Jewell, J., Cherp, A., Vinichenko, V., Bauer, N., Kober, T., McCollum, D., et al. (2013). Energy security of China, India, the E.U. and the U.S. under long-term scenarios. Climate Change Economics, 4(4).

[2] Cherp A, Jewell J (2014). The concept of energy security: Beyond the four As. Energy Policy, 75:415-421 (December 2014) (Published online 31 October 2014).

[3] Jewell J, Cherp A, Riahi K (2014). Energy security under de-carbonization scenarios: An assessment framework and evaluation under different technology and policy choices. Energy Policy, 65:743-760 (February 2014) (Published online 23 November 2013). 

[4] Leung GCK, Cherp A, Jewell J, Wei Y-M (2014) Securitization of energy supply chains in China. Applied Energy, 123:316-326 (15 June 2014) (Published online 7 January 2014).

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Last edited: 28 April 2015


Jessica Jewell

Guest Research Scholar Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

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