Session 2

Energy Access & Climate Change


Part 1 highlights France's and the European Union's energy dependency on fossil fuel importations sold by countries which are both non-democratic and experiencing a decrease in oil production for many.

Part 2 develops basic scientific knowledge on climate change, like the Remaining Carbon Budget, and the urgency of radical action to align with the Paris Agreement.

Course Outline

Quiz on Session 1
Energy Access & Sovereignty
Climate Change & Emission Scenarios

Key Learnings

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The "Compact Relationship" between energy and power

Access to energy played a key role in modern wars and power balance amongst countries.

It is a strategic asset to power mechanized armies, a casus belli and a bargaining lever in international relations.

European countries' dependance on energy importations

European countries have very limited access to major energy sources such as oil, coal and gas, especially in comparison with their consumption.

They are highly dependent on energy importations.

Peak Oil: the North Sea case

The 3 major European oil producers (UK, Norway and Denmark) passed their historical production maximum in the early 2000s: the "Oil Peak".

The reduction in oil production in Europe increases its dependency on importations.

IEA Warnings on Oil Production

The International Energy Agency's warnings:

"Global conventional crude oil production peaked in 2008 at 69 mb/d and has since fallen by just over 2.5mb/d -3,6%."

European Union Oil Sources

25% of EU oil importations come from countries that have passed their oil peak, 29% where the peak is anticipated by 2025 and 11% where the situation is at risk.

Data on oil reserves are private, hence the difficulty of getting a clear picture (graph from Matthieu Auzanneau, pre-Brexit & pre-covid)

Dependence on Non-democratic Leaders

France and the European Union are highly depending on countries with non-democratic leaders or experiencing major instabilities:

Russia 28%, Kazakhstan 8%, Iraq 7%, Libya 6%, Azerbaijan 4%, etc. NB: Russia is the 1st exporter of oil to the European Union.

Climate Change is now, Human Responsibility is certain

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports:

"Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.2°C of global warming", “Limiting warming to 1.5°C depends on greenhouse gas emissions over the next decades”

The Objectives of the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement sets the twofold objective of keeping "the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C" and "pursuing efforts to limit to +1.5°C".

Remaining Carbon Budget

The Remaining Carbon Budget is the cumulative amount of CO2 estimated to limit global warming to a certain temperature rise, with a certain likelihood.

E.g: the Remaining Carbon Budget for a temperature rise of 1.5°C with a67% likelihood is 400 Gt CO2, approximately 8 years with the current CO2 emissions of 43 Gt CO2/year.

Emissions and Temperature Rise Scenarios

Future greenhouse gas emissions will determine temperature rise. The objectives of 1.5°C and 2°C requires an urgent and dramatic decrease in emissions.

Unburnable Fossil Fuel Reserves

Exploiting fossil fuel reserves would overshoot the 2°C objective by far. Between 67% and 80% of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground to safeguard a 50% chance of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C.

Carbon Cycle

"Carbon, in various forms including CO2 and organic materials, is continually exchanged between the atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere. However, human activities have perturbed the carbon cycle."

Carbon Pathway to 1.5°C

The 1.5°C Carbon Budget is decreasing extremely fast: the later climate actions are taken, the worse the consequences will be.

Relying on future generations to act is worsening the situation.

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Student Projects

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Pedagogical Note