GLOBAL FUTURE ANALYSIS
ENERGY | GOVERNMENTS
Governments are not quite actual in their energy perceptions. Expecting that national/state or federal governments will take the lead in addressing the Energy Crisis is like expecting grandfather to win the New York Marathon. The only governmental layer you can expect a lot from is the local governmental layer. Governments has a whole toolbox to address the Energy Crisis, but if they will use them is certainly the question. If you don't get the problem, who you should address it. The toolbox of governments contains eight powerful tools: 1) Propaganda (not a negative word, just a description of governmental originated information). The quickest, easiest and cheapest way to do this is, just proposing a speed limit law. The newspapers and public discussion will handle the rest of that. An other smart way of propaganda in the installation of an energy Department with an Energy Minister (if both aren't yet already installed). Also here the media, the business community and the public will take over the proclamation for the state. 2) Initiatives. Governments are not very well known for their initiative capacities. It's also a question if taking initiatives can be considered as a governmental responsibility. Governments and action smells like the USSR economy. Proven not very effective. But the situation is emerging, should this change this? It would be the worst thing to do. Everybody will except the solution than from the governments and they'll not be able to provide it. The best thing governments could do is just saying: there is nothing we can do, the only ones that can help you are you and yourself. Than everybody well take adequate action, measurements will be multiplied, passive policies prevented. 3) Subsidies. The problem with subsidies is that they disturb the healthy mechanism of a free market and demand for control mechanism for preventing abuse. If subsidies will play a role they must be channeled by market parties. For example: A government can subsidize energy adjustment investments in housing by paying a part of the interest. The administration than is completely pushed to the banks, who welcomes this possibility to give their customers an interest discount certainly. Subsidizing also has effects on (already much overstretched) governmental budgets. Some governments therefore take money by extra taxation on carbon energy and put that in renewable energy. Germany is an example of this model and it has made Germany a leading technological nation in research and sales of renewable energy technology. Furthermore is cutting any subsidy that increases energy use a good thing to do. 4) Taxation. Taxation is a tool governments like a lot. The more the better. But government is an artificial resource and has its own optimal balance point (under it: heading for national chaos, above it: heading for national economic and freedom decline). Taxation of carbons that only feed the general budget could speed up transition, but certainly will not make the government popular. Taxation of carbons that facilitates renewable subsidy budgets could be an idea. But may taxation is a tool governments has already to much. Working several months a year for the government is not a sign of high development, but just a modern and more civilized form of slavery, something that will no longer accepted in the 21st century. Cutting each tax deduction that encourage energy use is certainly a good thing to do. Cutting in subsidizing (by tax deduction) of long work/home distances is a good thing to do tool within taxation. Maybe movement subsidy by tax deduction if people move closer to their work, of (better) a tax deduction if people stop commuting by remote office technology or taking a job more close to home (moving the jobs, virtualizing office spaces is better than expensive movement subsidies). 5) Legislation. Governments has used legislation already heavenly as tool for addressing other issues. Legislation is mend to enforce behavior. Maybe we not must use enforcement not for addressing this issue, although it's certainly a very severe issue. A speed limit legislation proposal is the best (quickest, easiest, cheapest, most open) governmental propaganda ever possible concerning the Energy Crisis. 6) Energy Department. Not any country has yet an Energy Department and an Energy Minister. Energy is the main thing in economies (and therefore also in governmental budget funding). A nation without an Energy Department and Energy Minister has less economic future. 7) Budget focusing. Current budgets can be steered very easily in the energy research/education/investments direction, by just demanding that a certain percentage must be spend on energy research/education/investments. Just one simple steering issue, that will have a huge and very diverse impact. 8) Guarantees. Guarantees are a major powerful tool for governments, as they don't burden current budgets. Instant mega effects and an administration that is done by the market. If a national/federal government says: energy become expensive, solve it companies/households, we will guarantee the bank that will lend you the money the investment. Than a government will only have to make a simple legislation, that has two parts: one in the form of an A4 for the text of the legislation that addresses the companies/households and one a little more extended version for the banks. The investment wave than will boom, without any problem. Guarantees are just perfect, because they only give an off-balance liability and by the energy price development the contra inflation characteristics of the energy price, makes guarantees and energy investments to a perfect created for each other couple. Concluding: What can governments do to address very quick and very easy the Energy Crisis? 1) Just propose (not essay bring in place) a speed limit legislation (the media and the public does the communication on the Energy Crisis from their better than any government ever could do). 2) Guarantee energy investments (the companies and households will do a better job than any government ever could do, and the market price of energy takes care that the liability very less will be actual draw). Governments also has both a legislative and a guarantying task in energy infrastructures. Governments that are trying to initiate energy infrastructures. The Nabucco pipeline from Central Asia to Central Europe is a perfect example: governments are to slow for business deals. Gazproms comparative South Stream pipeline has (although started later) already build up much more advantage in signed national deals. Russia plays the energy card, but not by government, but by governmental supported businessmen. This is why Russia gets the deals: businessmen understand doing business, they are good in compromises and are focused on getting a deal signed. Governmental officials have other blood. Russia plays two types of cards, the Nabucco initiative only one (the governmental card). One huge disadvantage of Europe is their colonial genes. This late ticket of colonialism has damages Europe's foreign policy a lot and still will: Europe is high hearted in negotiations: but these times are over. Just like the bullish attitude of the US has damaged them already a lot and will damage them even more in the future. Self esteem drives the 'new' nations, they will do business with everyone that honors them really and the same time will really support them in the issues that are important for them.
Author: Gijs Graafland
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