Michael Klare Speech at Webster Vienna

On June 18, Webster Vienna hosted a presentation by distinguished NYT-bestseller author Michael Klare entitled “Climate, Geography, and Technology- the Changing Parameters of Energy Security.” Klare has written extensively about the changing nature of energy security.

Originally, the term “energy security” referred to the protection of oil deliveries from supplier nations to consumer nations, often through military means. To this end, the United States and Saudi Arabia struck an agreement trading protection for privileged oil access. United States’ involvement in the Middle East since World War II has largely been shaped around this partnership. Now energy security is understood much more broadly, often as the triangle of supply, price, and sustainability.

Trends in international relations are bringing energy security to the fore, with examples including the Ukrainian crisis, ongoing turbulence in the Middle East, and tensions in the South China Sea. The latter, in particular, has enormous consequences for United States strategy. President Obama has cited concerns about East Asian maritime disputes as part of the rationale for America’s “pivot” to Asia. 

Klare made clear, however, that energy security has implications beyond geopolitics. With climate change accelerating and little progress in the way of international binding carbon emissions agreements, the question of how nations procure their energy is more relevant and urgent than ever.

The event was attended by stakeholders and scholars in the field of energy and energy security who gathered for an expert meeting, organized by Webster Vienna's IR Department, on the following day. The experts present included B. Alpan (METU), J. Henderson (Oxford Energy Institute), J. Jewell (IIASA), Marcelo Masera (EC, JRC), M. Schreurs (Freie Universität Berlin) K. Westphal (SWP) as well as Webster's IR research faculty with energy focus E. Brutschin, J. Pollak and S. R. Schubert.

After an extensive Q&A session, refreshments were served.

Michael Klare is the author of fourteen books, including Resource Wars (2001); Blood and Oil (2004); Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet (2008); and The Race for What’s Left (2012). He is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies (a joint appointment at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst), and director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Klare is the defense correspondent for The Nation and has written for Current History, Foreign Affairs, Le Monde Diplomatique, the L.A. Times, Newsweek, the N.Y. Times, Scientific American, and Technology Review. He received a B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University and a PhD from the Graduate School of the Union Institute.