ABSTRACT

Multiple sea changes are currently afoot in the world economy. The most sweeping shift is the rise of new economic powerhouses beyond the traditional Triad (United States, Europe, Japan). Gradually, a multipolar power constellation is taking form. The ability of the West to exercise leadership in global governance is eroding correspondingly (Subacchi 2008). At the same time, the world is facing numerous critical energy challenges: soaring prices, global resource competition, climate change and energy poverty, to name but a few. Obviously, these two phenomena – rising multipolarity and acute energy challenges – are closely intertwined since fastgrowing economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so-called “BRICs”) have accelerated and exacerbated existing energy trends. By dint of their sheer size, demographic weight and rapid economic ascendency, energy developments in these new poles are transforming the global energy system. China and India are emerging as new demand centers, while Russia and Brazil have turned into important energy exporters, leading up to a new geography of the world’s supply and demand structure.