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The natural resources deficit: the implications for German politics. OSW Commentary No. 46, 2011-02-08

Kwiatkowska-Drozdz, Anna (2011) The natural resources deficit: the implications for German politics. OSW Commentary No. 46, 2011-02-08. [Policy Paper]

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    Falling amounts of natural resources and the ‘peak oil’ question, i.e. the point in time when the maximum rate of extraction of easily-accessible oil reserves is reached, have been among the key issues in public debate in Germany on all levels: expert, business and – most crucially – the government level. The alarming assessments of German analysts anticipate a rapid shrinkage of oil reserves and a sharp rise in oil prices, which in the longer term will affect the economic and political systems of importer countries. Concerns about the consequences of the projected resource deficit, especially among representatives of German industry, are also fuelled by the stance of those countries which export raw materials. China, which meets 97% of global demand for minerals crucial for the production of new technologies, cut its exports by 40% in summer 2010 (compared to 2009), arguing that it had to protect its reserves from overexploitation. In 2009 the value of natural resources Germany imported reached €84 billion, of which €62 billion were spent on energy carriers, and €22 billion on metals. For Germany, the shrinkage of resources is a political problem of the utmost importance, since the country is poor in mineral resources and has to acquire petroleum and other necessary raw materials abroad1. In autumn 2010, the German minister of economy initiated the establishment of a Resources Agency designed to support companies in their search for natural resources, and the government prepared and adopted a national Raw Material Strategy. In the next decade the policy of the German government, including foreign policy, will be affected by the consequences of the decreasing availability of natural resources. It can be expected that the mission of the Bundeswehr will be redefined, and the importance of African states and current exporter countries such as Russia and China for German policies will increase. At the same time, Germany will seek to strengthen cooperation among importer countries, which should make pressure on resource-exporting states more effective. In this context, it can be expected that the efforts taken to develop an EU resource strategy or even a ‘comprehensive resource policy’ will be intensified; or at least, the EU’s energy policy will permanently include the issue of sourcing raw materials.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > energy policy (Including international arena)
    Countries > Germany
    Countries > Russia
    Countries > China
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2014 14:52
    Number of Pages: 7
    Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:52

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