Reconciling Energy and Food Security

Rhett B. Larson *

Achieving food security and energy security are two primary policy aims of international and domestic law. Ironically, the pursuit of energy security can often frustrate efforts to achieve food security. Energy security is the condition of a nation and its citizens having reasonable physical and economic access to sufficient and sustainable energy.[1] Food security is the condition of a nation and its citizens having reasonable physical and economic access to sufficient and sustainable food.[2] These two objectives often collide in the area of agricultural water management. It is in that realm that, frustratingly, the goal of achieving food security most frequently comes into conflict with the ambition to achieve energy security.

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* Associate Professor of Law, The University of Oklahoma College of Law. M.Sc., 2011, Oxford University; J.D., 2005, The University of Chicago Law School; B.A., 2002, Brigham Young University. This article is written as part of the 2013 Allen Chair Symposium on the Energy-Water Nexus, hosted by the University of Richmond School of Law. My thanks go to Karen Bradshaw Schulz, Emily Hammond, Troy Rule, Dan Tarlock, David Grey, Patricia Wouters, and the panelists, presenters, moderators, participants, and organizers of the 2013 Allen Chair Symposium.

        [1].    Barry Barton et al., Introduction to Energy Security: Managing Risk in a Dynamic Legal and Regulatory Environment 5 (Barry Barton et al. eds., 2004); see Wen-chen Shih, Energy Security, GATT/WTO, and Regional Agreements, 49 Nat. Resources J. 433, 436 (2009) (citing U.N. Dev. Programme, U.N. Dep’t of Econ. & Soc. Aff., World Energy Council, World Energy Assessment: Overview 2004 Update, at 42, U.N. Sales No. E.04.III.B.6 (2004), available at http://www.undp.org/content/dam/ap laws/publication/en/publications/environment-energy/www-ee-library/sustainable-energy/ world-energy-assessment-overview-2004-update/World%20Energy%20Assessment%20Ov erview-2004%20Update.pdf).

        [2].    See, e.g., Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture, Negotiations on WTO Agreement on Agriculture: Proposals by India in the Areas of (i) Food Security, (ii) Market Access, (iii) Domestic Support, and (iv) Export Competition, ¶ 1, G/AG/NG/W/102 (Jan. 15, 2001), available at https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/FE_Search/DDFDocuments/48712/Q/ G/AG/NGW102.pdf.