Energy security is one of the most talked about topics not only in terms of the debates around climate change action but also conventional policy. Energy price and stability have very real economic implications for any nation and there is now more than ever increasing concern to secure the resource by internalising energy generation.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be the biggest international 'free-trade deal' in history. It will standardise EU regulations with their almost non-existent US counterparts. Negotiations are secret and over 90 per cent consultants are corporate lobbyists, which is more than a little suspicious.
Fracking presents a new challenge for OPEC, as well as opportunities. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that, over the next five years, one-third of the new oil production of the world will be developed in the USA. By 2020, the US will be a net exporter of gas. By 2035. It will be energy self-sufficient, they say...
In addition to these local effects, natural gas extraction has global environmental consequences, because the methane gas that is accessed through extraction and the carbon dioxide released during methane burning are both greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. New fracking technologies allow for the extraction of more gas, thus contributing more to climate change than previous natural gas extraction."
When all the scientists on the International Panel for Climate Change agree that the planet is on course for a four-degree warming - caused in the main by human activity, and this warming will be 'severe, pervasive and irreversible', you would think that the European election might just be based on what the political parties would do about it.
Travelling through the countryside of Germany and Denmark, there is hardly at any point you can't see any wind turbines spinning in the background. Even in deeply conservative Texas, in the US, wind turbines are becoming a more dominant factor in the landscape and here is the thing - people like it.