How Can They (and We) Wield the Green Energy Transition for Geostrategic Power?

June 2022 No Comments

Speaker(s): Nugee, R. (Non-Executive Member for Climate Change and Sustainability, UK Ministry of Defence); Livingston, D. (Senior Advisor in the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry)

Date: 15 June 2022

Speaker Session Summary

SMA hosted a speaker session with panelists Lieutenant General (Retd) Richard Nugee (Former Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy Lead, UK Ministry of Defence) and Mr. David Livingston (Senior Advisor in the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry) and moderator Dr. Nicholas Wright (Intelligent Biology; Georgetown Medical Center; University College London; New America) as part of its SMA UK MoD Strategic Advantage Speaker Series.

Western countries shifting from fossil fuels to new forms of clean energy is causing the first energy revolution in more than 100 years. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric power are the most well-known forms of clean energy; however, there are many more forms: including geothermal. The speed at which this energy change is occurring is fast; however, it must happen even faster for Western countries to achieve their environmental goals commented Lieutenant General (Retd) Nugee. However, decreasing the global reliance on fossil fuels for energy will negatively affect countries—like Nigeria and Russia-that rely on fossil fuels for a significant portion of their GDP. This change in the type of energy used will not end how countries compete over energy. Instead, competition will shift to new forms of energy, countries, and actors.

The future competition for new forms of clean energy will force the US and its allies to focus on the amount they spend resources and parts of the clean energy supply chain, commented Mr. Livingston. He also argued that the shift to clean energy is increasing the geopolitical importance of countries that are considered obsolete now, but possess minerals or resources used in clean energy technology. These countries growing importance is increasing the need for the US and Western countries to continually nurture new alliances while fortifying old partnerships. The US and its allies should also try to grow their influence over new energy sources, their manufacturing, and their distribution. Increasing their influence over these new supply chains will be pivotal as China already has massive manufacturing capacity. If the West is going to compete with China’s control of new forms of clean energy, then they must increase their own production.

Speaker Session Recording

Please email Ms. Nicole Peterson ( for access to the recording of this session.

Briefing Materials


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