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10 years HCSS: The fields of climate change and energy security

March 27th 2017 - 10:00

This year we celebrate the ten year anniversary of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS). Originally founded as a Think Tank in the area of defense and security that sought to deepen quantitative (big) data-driven analysis in this field, HCSS has since significantly broadened its scope to cover such issues as natural resources, cyber security, climate change and energy security, among others. In these last two fields HCSS has made some great strides over the past few years.

In late 2013, in partnership with The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Research (TNO), HCSS performed a quantitative analysis of the geopolitical impact of the US shale revolution on large oil and gas exporting countries in the EU neighborhood. Realizing that the effects of the shale revolution were very profound, the report signaled that a big drop in price of oil was around the corner. Some six months after the release of the study, its conclusions were vindicated as the world became a witness to the longest and most pronounced oil price decline in three decades. Faced with a steep drop in resource rents, oil and gas exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa today are still grappling with the consequences and OPEC has had to abandon its strategy whereby it rigorously defends its market share. An absolute highlight was the presentation of the report to policy-makers and defense planners at NATO Headquarters, on how to gauge the broader security implications resulting from the shale revolution.

On the issue of climate change, HCSS has been at the forefront of organizing the Planetary Security Conference. This annual conference brings together hundreds of government officials and non-governmental representatives from over 48 countries with the aim to increase awareness, deepen knowledge and to develop and promote policies and good practice guidance to help governments, private sector and international institutions better secure peace and cooperation in times of climate change and global environmental challenges. Work on this year’s edition is slated to begin before the summer.

On the issue of energy security in Europe, HCSS has been an active participant in the debate on diversification of sources and transit routes in the context of the EU Energy Union, publishing a high volume of articles, reports, and book chapters on this issue. Some highlights include a report on the future viability of the Dutch gas roundabout strategy (Dutch: ‘Gas Rotonde’) authored with TNO and Trinomics, and a briefing to EU policy-makers in the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on the geopolitical consequences of the Nord Stream II pipeline.

The work that HCSS does on these issues is increasingly being recognized, as demonstrated by our top-50 listing among the best energy and resource policy think tanks in the 2016 ‘Global Go To’ Think Tank Index. Looking towards the future, much work still needs to be done. The issue of energy transition remains the single biggest challenge in the context of moving towards a low carbon society. Much attention in this domain is geared towards the environmental side of the debate, and less on the geopolitical consequences of energy transition. HCSS was one of the first to investigate the geopolitical impact of energy and climate policies on the earning models of large hydrocarbon exporting nations. Currently, we are in the process of deepening our footprint in this particular domain.

At HCSS, we remain dedicated to continuously improving our data-driven analytical capabilities and we are confident that doing so will enable us to deliver a positive contribution in the areas of energy and climate policy in the coming years.

Sijbren de Jong

Strategic Analyst, HCSS

This post is part of a series on the HCSS 10 year anniversary. Throughout the year analysts, experts and former colleagues will publish a post reflecting on the past 10 years. 

Read the post by Paul Sinning, Executive Director

Read the post by Rob de Wijk, founder and non-Executive Director 

Read the post by Stephan de Spiegelerei

Read the post by Karlijn Jans

Sijbren de Jong is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS and lecturer in Geo-Economics at Leiden University, The Hague. He has a PhD in EU external energy security relations from the University of Leuven and holds degrees in Economic Geography (MSc) from the University of Groningen and Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding (MA) from the University of Leuven. His geographical areas of expertise include Russia, Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Region; Central and Eastern Europe; and the Western Balkans.