Energy and Security in South Asia: Cooperation or Conflict?

Brookings Institution Press
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Economic growth and burgeoning populations have put South Asia's energy security in a perilous state. Already energy and power shortages are stunting development in some of the region's least developed locations spurring political insurgences and social dislocation. Should this trend continue, Ebinger argues the Subcontinent will face dire economic, social and political crises. In Energy and Security in South Asia, Brookings ESI director Charles Ebinger, a long-time adviser to South Asian governments, lays out the current regional energy picture arguing that the only way to achieve sustainable energy security is through regional collaboration both within the subcontinent as well as with regional neighbors in the Middle East and Central and Southeast Asia,

Dr. Ebinger commences by illustrating the present-day energy environment in each nation as well as the obstacles governments confront in addressing them. Among the issues examined are: (1) the technical strains that near double-digit economic growth are putting on India's dilapidated power infrastructure, (2) the economic costs the country is incurring by increasing reliance on the Middle East for oil and gas resources; (3) the prospects for expanded wind, solar, energy efficiency and nuclear power generation in India to help reduce the nation's growing carbon footprint as it accelerates the use of coal; (4) the implications of Pakistan's expanded use of coal; (5) an analysis of how poor energy pricing systems are bringing about an energy shortage throughout the region (6) an examination of how strains in Indo/Bengali relations threaten the construction of vital regional energy infrastructure projects; (7) a discussion of how continued political upheaval in Nepal is causing power shortages of up to 20 hours per day; and (8), an analysis of how hydropower development is fuelling Bhutan's "Gross National Happiness" campaign. In addition to individual domestic concerns, each nation shares a crisis whereby hundreds of millions on the Subcontinent lack access to electricity and burn inefficient resources such as fuel wood and biomass for lighting, heating, and cooking, thus contributing sizeable carbon emissions.

The looming Indian Subcontinent energy crisis will force more than half a billion people – and counting–from emerging from dire poverty, thus potentially sparking domestic and regional instability in an already treacherous area.

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About the author

Charles K. Ebinger is director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution, where he is a senior fellow in Foreign Policy. He also teaches at the Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He has served as an energy policy adviser to more than fifty governments.

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Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Aug 31, 2011
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780815704317
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / General
Political Science / International Relations / Arms Control
Political Science / Political Freedom
Political Science / World / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Rapidly increasing global demand for electricity, heightened worries over energy and water security, and climate-change anxieties have brought the potential merits of nuclear energy squarely back into the spotlight. Yet worries remain, especially after the failure of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant to withstand the twin blows of an earthquake and a tsunami. And the idea of increasing the availability of nuclear power in a destabilized world rife with revolution and terrorism seems to many a dangerous proposition.

Business and Nonproliferation examines what a dramatic increase in global nuclear power capacity means for the nuclear nonproliferation regime and how the commercial nuclear industry can strengthen it.

The scope of a nuclear "renaissance" could be broad and wide: some countries seek to enhance their existing nuclear capacity; others will build their first reactors; and many more will seek to develop a nuclear energy capability in the foreseeable future. This expansion will result in wider diffusion and transport of nuclear materials, technologies, and knowledge, placing additional pressures on an already fragile nonproliferation regime. With the private sector at the center of this increased commercial activity, business should have an increased role in preventing proliferation, in part by helping shape future civilian use of nuclear energy in a way that mitigates proliferation.

John Banks, Charles Ebinger, and their colleagues explore the specific emerging challenges to the nonproliferation regime, market trends in the commercial nuclear fuel cycle, and the geopolitical and commercial implications of new nuclear energy states in developing countries. Business and Nonproliferation presents and assesses the concerns and suggestions of key stakeholders in the nuclear community—commercial nuclear industry entities, nongovernment organizations, and government agencies and nuclear regulators. Its analysis addresses the broad question of how, given the global expansion of civilian nuclear power, the nuclear industry can become a more active, sustained partner in efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

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