Clima, energia, mediul înconjurător: trei factori esenţiali pentru supravieţuireBild vergrößern (© dpa)
As climate change gathers pace, people are becoming increasingly aware of the finite nature of the world's resources. With prices for oil and gas as well as food rising almost daily, everyone realizes dramatic changes lie ahead. The world's population, moreover, continues to increase unchecked, from two billion fifty years ago to six billion today and a projected ten billion fifty years hence. The major emerging economies are extremely dynamic, but their growth is relatively resource-inefficient. In future therefore competition for energy supplies as well as other finite resources such as clean water and food is likely to intensify. Biodiversity with its huge untapped economic potential is being threatened and in many cases destroyed by irresponsible and couldn't-care-less attitudes.
For all these reasons careful management of the world's natural support systems and resources is vital for humanity's very survival. Already today, with climate change now tangible and commodity prices on the rise, governments are increasingly struggling to secure the energy supplies needed to keep their economies running and at the same time tackle the problem of climate change. The only effective response to these global challenges is national commitment and international cooperation.
Scarce energy resources and alternative sources of energy
By exploiting existing energy reserves and developing new ones previously not considered commercially viable we will gain only limited breathing space to meet rising demand at what currently seems a reasonable price.
In this situation German foreign policy faces a special challenge: helping to avert and defuse international conflicts for control of ever scarcer resources and ensuring in particular that they are fairly shared. Clearly energy security is now a major issue on the international agenda. In practical terms, this means not only diversifying our sources of energy, supply routes and regions as well as suppliers but also a determined effort to enhance energy efficiency and make greater use of renewable energies. To ensure reliable and sustainable energy supplies, there is a need for a cooperative framework that brings together the international energy organizations and notably the emerging economies as well as the major supplier countries. This is the overall context for what is known in Germany as "foreign energy policy" (Energie-Außenpolitik), a term coined by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
In the interest of energy security – but also to protect the environment and meet our common responsibility to fight climate change – the development of alternative, environmentally-friendly sources of energy is increasingly urgent. In Germany solar, wind and geothermal energy have become increasingly popular in recent years. Other more technology-based approaches to enhancing energy efficiency aim to reduce energy consumption, increase its efficiency and facilitate storage.
Climate change – a global and national challenge
Climate change threatens some countries' very existence and unless it can be kept below 2° C will result in irreversible damage to the world's ecosystems. A number of island states and many low-lying coastal regions may be submerged by rising sea-levels. All parts of the world are likely to be affected by increasing desertification as well as extreme weather events such as cyclones and droughts. In many regions, including Europe, water shortages will mean serious problems for agriculture and drinking water supplies and may even render some areas uninhabitable.
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