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International Alignment on Energy Essential : The IAEE 1979 - 2016

Address by Paul Tempest to the Council of the IAEE meeting
in Bergen on 19 June 2016 prior to the 39th IAEE International

I have been asked to say a few words about the launch of the IAEE and my impressions of its highly successful evolution into what we all enjoy today. I have also come here to meet some dear friends and colleagues, both Norwegian and from the IAEE worldwide.

I attended the first IAEE International attached to a team of top officials from the UK Department of Energy. Panicked by revolution in Iran, and the second oil-price-hike, the predominantly US economists of the day flocked to Washington in 1979 to listen to the advice of their elders, Mory Adelman, Sam Schurr, Bill Hogan et al. Loud were the dire warnings of US budgetary crisis, inexorable limits to global economic growth, the drying-up of venture capital, global energy famine, an endless bloodbath in the Middle East and a nuclear war. Does this not sound remarkably familiar today?

What struck me most was the diversity of background of the participants – a vital meeting-ground for governments, industry, finance, new technology and academia. For 1980, I was asked to organise, with the help of Professor Richard Eden, the second IAEE International in Churchill College, Cambridge. This was truly international and highly political in content. Here we had, for the first time, the USA in the person of John Sawhill, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Energy facing up to Ali Attiga, Head of Arab OPEC flanked by top-level participants from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The atmosphere was electric and the debate surprisingly positive and cordial.

Let me skip to IAEE 39 opening here today. How did we get here and where are we going? I have three points.

  1. Energy economics has developed into a vital tool and mechanism, giving an ability to measure much more accurately the mix of energy supply and demand and to predict more reliably the responses of the global energy market and their impact on the prospects for the global economy. In this the IAEE has played and will almost certainly continue to play a most valuable part.
  2. The membership mix of the IAEE and its broad global representation is the great hidden strength of the IAEE. The quality of its output and the political wisdom of its management point to much further expansion and recognition.
  3. The solution of all our energy problems lies not simply in governmental edict or commercial opportunism, but in human energy and personal creativity, an ability to provide a new technology and growth momentum through enhanced global trade and cooperation worldwide.

Finally I would like to express my deep appreciation to our Norwegian hosts here today who have consistently provided a strong and eminently sensible voice in the deliberations of this Council over the past 37 years.

I would also like to add a personal thank-you to the two David Williams who have worked so hard and wisely over the last three decades to help deliver such a successful outcome.

Paul Tempest