Energy playing greater role in foreign policy, State envoy says

To hear outgoing State Department energy envoy Carlos Pascual tell it, energy issues are becoming increasingly "fundamental" in the national security of the United States.

"Energy has become such a fundamental issue in national security and economic prosperity that it has to be integrated into our foreign policy," Pascual said in an interview with Platts Energy Week Sunday.

"If we think about the world of energy investment over the next 30 years … understanding what the environment is to drive those investments, the nature of those investments, how clean are those investments, is going to determine the energy future that we have and the sustainability of the planet," he said.

When it comes to finding a balance between energy investments that advance foreign policy, climate change policies, and are commercially realistic, Pascual said, "no region of the world is more important to this than Asia."

"The intersection of energy and climate is not a new lesson, but the challenges of succeeding, of driving energy investment in a way that advanced our climate objective is absolutely key. And no region of the world is more important to this than Asia," Pascual said. "Countries have to see that they can make investments in alternative forms of power generation that are going to be cost-competitive for their economies."

He added: " If we can't find ways to help Asia find cost-effective alternatives to coal, we can't fix the climate change problem… It's going to take time, but it has a real urgency."

The comments come shortly after a Secretary of State John Kerry visited China to sign eight climate change agreement, which push reductions in greenhouse gases, and launch projects on the electric grid, and carbon capture technology for power plants in China.

The U.S.-China partnership is pushing climate change mitigation will be key for the Obama administration heading into the 2015 Paris talks on climate.