Energy in France and the world


Opening the doors of the electricity and gas markets faster in France and Europe

Michèle Rousseau

The topic of opening the electricity and gas markets recurs in newspaper articles that set the "modern" advocates of liberalization and lower prices at odds with "old-timers" devoted to the public service, in particular a French-style one. But what is the real situation with regard to opening markets in France and Europe? A warning against any Manichaean approach…

Securing gas supplies in Europe and dealing with Russia

Jean-François Corallo

Developing the production of gas-wells economically accessible to various markets can easily cover the growing consumption of natural gas in Europe. Gas from Russia could make up a big part of gas supplies. Given the opening of markets however, there are risks of both temporary shortages and, in particular, sharp price-swings if the conditions are not maintained for a relative equilibrium within the long-term partnerships that have been worked up to the present.

Oil pricing

Didier Houssin

The particularities of the petroleum market make it very hard to predict prices, subject as they are to strategic decisions rather than economic mechanisms. Although the spot and futures markets react to oil prices, the key factor in pricing is still the mechanisms that OPEC set up to control output.

The Caspian’s petroleum potential… and developing it

Pierre Audigier

Estimated reserves in the Caspian run from talk about a big North Sea to a little Mid-East… All the countries bordering on the Caspian Sea, except for Russia and Iran, are landlocked, whence questions about how to export toward solvable markets. Owing to its history, geography and geology, Russia has several advantages for making its interests heard. Neither Russia nor Iran are favorable to growing American influence. Since 11 September 2002, they are trying to get along with each other in the region. The political, legal, technical and environmental risks working against developing this zone’s potential are manifold.

Controlling the demand for electricity and public utility monopolies, a comparison of France and Brazil

Christophe de Gouvello and Gilberto De Martino Jannuzzi

In France and Brazil, electric utility monopolies are partly responsible for the difficulty of saving energy. In particular, they have done very little to rationalize the final uses of electricity. Even though public monopolies now seem to be something of the past and even as policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are being drawn up, controlling the demand for electricity might be a way, in France and Europe, to limit future uses of fossil energy for producing electricity. This could come out of a single electricity market.

Briefing: The campaign against climatic change

The campaign against climatic change: Government interventions and the involvement of firms

Christophe Baulinet

France’s objective of steadying, by 2010, CO2 emissions at the level the country reached in 1990 might seem to lack ambition. It will, however, be very hard to meet since the leeway has, we might say, already been consumed. Despite major long-term efforts, especially in matters of energy efficiency, industry will not be spared in this quest for concrete solutions to meet up to this environmental requirement. Public officials will have to convince firms to become involved, since forcing them risks making them less competitive.

From the Hague to Marrakech: Between symbolic success and environmental failure?

Jean-Charles Hourcade

Signing the Marrakech agreement in 2002 (COP7) might represent a diplomatic victory: the process initiated in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 is still advancing, despite the withdrawal of the United States. However, if we compare the results with the compromises imagined in the Hague in 2001 (COP6) and, even more so, with the objectives set in Kyoto (1997), environmental performance has undeniably taken a beating. Political debates have left in the background decisive questions, dividing North from South, about how to enable developing countries to take an active part in climate policy.

The United States and global warming

Denis Gardin and Gael Grégoire

The sudden, unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Kyoto Protocol shocked its partners around the world, since it seemed to reflect an indifference toward one of the major challenges of our era. Even though some industries lobbied President Bush to make this decision, the fundamental reasons lie elsewhere, since the United States never truly supported the Kyoto Protocol. Wanting cheap energy and more independence as to energy sources, American public opinion does not see the campaign against global warming as a key issue.

Tradable emission credits: From theory to practice in Europe

Patrick Criqui

Since the Kyoto Protocol, major industrialized lands might be subject to tight restrictions on greenhouse gases emission. Even though negotiations have been shaken by the withdrawal of the United States, the European Union has decided to go ahead with concrete proposals about setting up a system of tradable emission credits for industry. Herein, these credits are analyzed in economic terms and as a practical means for regulating the environment.

Facts and figures

Articles and statistics from the Observatoire de l’Énergie

Richard Lavergne and Louis Meuric (eds.)



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