In a world hit and fragilized by the Covid-19 pandemic, innovative and sustainable solutions are necessary for a long-term recovery. The fundamental shift towards a new growth paradigm must give equal value to each of the three main dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, the social and the environmental one.
Let us start with the facts. Over the last years, there were significant gas discoveries off the coasts of Egypt, Israel, and Cyprus. The total reserves in this area comprise around 2100 billion cubic meters, which roughly correspond to four years of the total gas consumption of all European states. Most of these fields are several miles off the coast. So how to establish which state actually owns the resource?
The Group of Twenty (G20) plays a central role in the global energy landscape since it accounts for over 80% of global primary energy consumption, almost all of world’s renewable power generation, and counts the four biggest oil producers among its members.
Over the past 12 years, energy took a growing importance in the G20 agenda. Energy was first mentioned at the Washington Summit in 2008. The first G20 energy ministers meeting was held in 2015. The Energy Transitions Steering Committee was launched at the 2018 Buenos Aires Summit.
Sustainable bonds' participation in global capital markets is on the rise, but time is ripe to go farther. Labeled finance has prospered and gone into greater detail. It is not only Green bonds anymore. Specialization helps issuers and investors to tailor projects and portfolios to their needs, but it is not sufficient. Sustainability has to go from a piecemeal approach to fully embedded in mainstream finance. And a revamped finance approach cannot be expected to lead the overall sustainability agenda, but the other way round.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, prices for oil fell precipitously. On December 31, 2019, North Sea Brent crude, a benchmark, sold for approximately $68.00 a barrel. However, when on April 20 traders recognized that the coronavirus was a global pandemic, prices for Brent dropped to a little more than $25.00 per barrel. In the United States, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), another benchmark, dropped to negative values when producers confronted a choice to shut down their installations or pay buyers to stock their crude.
A recurring word in debates about climate change is “Energy Transition”. The International Renewable Energy Agency defines energy transition as “a pathway toward transformation of the global energy sector from fossil-based to zero-carbon by the second half of this century. At its heart is the need to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions to limit climate change”.
Egypt is on the threshold of becoming a natural gas and electricity export hub, a development which, if it materializes, carries the potential to radically reconfigure the pattern of energy connectivity between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Reorienting the energy architecture at the intersection of three continents, Egypt’s program to develop its energy exports has already started to reshape geopolitics from the eastern Mediterranean to the Horn of Africa.
The current stance of Italy towards the crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and its western and southern neighbours (Greece, Cyprus, Egypt) on the delimitation of the Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZ) can be best understood by referring to the traditional approach of Italian foreign policy in the Mediterranean.
On August 9, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka will seek his sixth term in office. He has ruled over the country for a quarter-century, relying on a mix of repression, information control, and Russian subsidies. Past elections were foregone conclusions. But this one is different: the coronavirus epidemic has exposed Lukashenka’s incompetence and animated Belarusian civil society. No matter how the votes are counted, it will be remembered as an important moment in Belarus’s political history.
Gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean have been enthusiastically received by international observers, although the current price dynamics advises caution. This commentary both explores the opportunities of political and economic collaboration for the states of the region and beyond, and analyses the financial hazards of gas extraction and selling in a global scenario characterised by low prices and decreasing demand.