Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 11/2010

Dependency and Complacency in the Energy Sector: Implications for Human Security

October 2010

Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies


The need for higher levels of economic growth and development – in both developing and developed countries – has only served to increase the world’s appetite for energy. The persistent dependence on traditional sources of energy in the form of fossil fuels such as oil and coal relegates the plan to develop renewable sources of energy to a long-term goal despite the desire for sustainable development and a low-carbon economy. Such dependency on these energy sources has sometimes come with a degree of complacency. Complacency sets in when profit-driven firms fail to take into account the socioeconomic and environmental implications of the development of traditional energy sources; these could indirectly affect production and operational processes as well as the firms’ overall image. This complacency is reflected in ineffective management which can and has posed threats to human security.