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During the past decade, concerns about energy security have reached levels not witnessed in the developed democracies since the 1970s and early 1980s. In good part because of such concerns, each of the largest of these countries – Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States – has conducted a major review of energy policy, initiated significant policy changes, or both. Also like the 1970s, recent years have seen a variety of proposals for international cooperation to promote energy security. This is where the similarities with the past largely end, however. In contrast to the earlier period, when the principal sources of concern in these countries were high oil prices and uncertain oil supplies, recent worries about energy security have been much more diverse. This paper describes these differences and explores their implications. It argues that the disparities in today's energy security concerns and policy preferences in the major developed democracies are due in part to the divergent policies pursued in response to the oil shocks of the 1970s. It also argues that the present differences will make meaningful cooperation by these countries to promote energy security, which was never easy in the past, yet more difficult.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Frances in:

Duffield, John S. “The Return of Energy Insecurity in the Developed Democracies,” Contemporary Security Policy 33, no. 1 (April 2012): 1-26.