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Pandemic-related policies and supply chain disruptions, followed by Russia's war in Ukraine, have sent energy prices skyrocketing, and a global game of energy chess has ensued. Sanctions against Russia and growing energy demand after the economic slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a European energy crisis, exacerbated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) October resolution to cut oil production to "stem a tide of volatility in energy prices" and keep prices high.
Beyond the oil and gas shortages, the impact on prices affects not just international relations between countries but also their domestic affairs. Major economic powers like Britain and the US are seeing their elections impacted and their efforts to fight climate change derailed. Globally, discontent and unrest—driven partly by energy prices—are rising.
This edition of The World Today will examine the politics of global energy pricing. How should countries respond to volatile and rising energy prices and associated inflation? How can they protect their domestic priorities? How will countries manage geopolitical relations amid an energy crisis?
Angela Pachon is the research director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and author and editor of various publications of the Kleinman Center and has studied issues related to electricity markets in the US, gas policies in Pennsylvania, and climate policies in Latin America. Previously, Pachon worked as a policy advisor at the Ontario Energy Board and worked for NERA Economic Consulting in London.
Robert Vitalis is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and former director of the Penn Middle East Center. He is the author of several books and was the recipient of the International Theory Prize from the Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex, His current research focuses on the rise of the militant right in strategic studies in the United States.
Benjamin L. Schmitt is a research associate and project development scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he develops instrumentation and infrastructure to support next-generation Antarctic experimental cosmology telescopes at the South Pole. Schmitt is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, co-founder of the Duke University Space Diplomacy Lab, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has previously served as European Energy Security Advisor at the U.S. Department of State.
Michael Weisberg is senior faculty fellow and director of post-graduate programs at Perry World House, as well as Bess W. Heyman President's Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. An expert in philosophy of science, climate policy, and social ecology, he serves as Editor-in-Chief of Biology and Philosophy, advisor to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Nairobi Work Programme and the Republic of Maldives, and directs Penn’s campus-wide research in the Galápagos. He is the author of Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World and Galápagos: Life in Motion, as well as a contributing author to the "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Report." Professor Weisberg received a BS in chemistry and a BA in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego in 1999, and he continued graduate study in philosophy and evolutionary biology at Stanford University, earning a 2003 PhD in philosophy.