Oil at over $100 a barrel, developing countries increasing demand for energy, rich countries lifestyles, climate change. These are some of the feature of the energy challenge facing the entire world. A set of distinct, varied trends have reached a critical situation in the same period of time, thus rendering energy a highly political issue involving national security and international relations and engendering friction between consumer and producer countries. On the other hand, the energy crisis has struck western (and especially European) countries midway along their transition from state- to market-driven systems, with the danger of compounding the inefficiencies underlying both systems. This volume addresses these topics. There exist no simple solutions to complex problems, and it is necessary to clear the field from commonplaces, such as: the market can cure all ills, fossil fuels are nearly depleted, renewable energy sources can meet all our needs, politics and national interests play no role in the world of energy resources. Only then can sound compromises be reached and progress made toward solving the energy puzzle.
Alberto Cl teaches Industrial Economics and Public Service Economics at the University of Bologna.