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Visualizing the Top Energy Priorities of Major Countries

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Energy priorities by country

Visualizing the Top Energy Priorities of Major Countries

As policy makers, business leaders, and academics gather at COP28 in Dubai this week, topics like climate change and the energy transition will be front and center.

Discussions and policy commitments on these issues are crucial. However, navigating the complexity of aligning policies for the future of energy can be challenging, given the multitude of sometimes conflicting priorities among nations.

Today’s visualization uses data from Ipsos, which details how 24,000 people in 28 countries feel about the top energy issues in their country.

Top Issue: Energy Security

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has propelled energy security to the forefront of concerns for many countries, particularly in Europe.

Directly impacted nations, including Germany, have had to reactivate coal production and extend the operational lives of nuclear power plants to ensure adequate heating during winter.

According to the Ipsos survey, achieving energy self-sufficiency, thereby reducing dependence on external sources, is the top energy priority for numerous countries, including the U.S., Canada, Italy, and France.

Country / Top PriorityEnergy Security Affordability Cleaner Energy Other
🇿🇦 South Africa44%33%33%21%
🇳🇴 Norway 42%28%25%20%
🇸🇪 Sweden 41%27%21%23%
🇵🇱 Poland 36%35%31%24%
🇮🇹 Italy36%32%31%20%
🇭🇺 Hungary35%30%30%26%
🇹🇷 Turkey35%28%33%23%
🇫🇷 France34%33%23%18%
🇺🇸 U.S.33%25%26%18%
🇲🇾 Malaysia 32%17%25%21%
🇨🇦 Canada 31%28%22%19%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia25%21%22%16%

The survey reveals that even countries self-reliant on energy consider energy security the top priority.

Norway, for example, gets 96% of its energy by exploiting its offshore oil and gas fields and using hydroelectric power. The country even has a surplus of power, which it exports to other countries, such as the UK. Despite this, self-sufficiency remains a top priority in the minds of Norwegians.

Top Issue: Cleaner Energy

Following energy security, the second most critical priority is the development of cleaner energy sources like wind, solar, and hydrogen.

Country / Top PriorityEnergy Security Affordability Cleaner Energy Other
🇯🇵 Japan21%17%40%26%
🇦🇷 Argentina33%23%38%30%
🇳🇿 New Zealand34%33%36%21%
🇨🇱 Chile 30%25%35%24%
🇨🇴 Colombia 24%26%33%28%
🇵🇪 Peru22%22%31%25%
🇲🇽 Mexico 29%23%31%20%

This concern is the top pick in Japan and a high concern for other Asian economies such as South Korea and China. Today, the region accounts for 52% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Besides the environmental impact, clean energy development can have an economic impact. Recent studies have shown that doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix could increase global GDP by up to 1.1% or $1.3 trillion.

Top Issue: Affordability of Energy

Reducing the cost of energy for consumers is the third most frequently mentioned concern. This is particularly emphasized in Belgium, Great Britain, and Germany, where prices are about double that of neighbors like France and Greece.

Country / Top PriorityEnergy Security Affordability Cleaner Energy Other
🇧🇪 Belgium33%43%17%21%
🇬🇧 Great Britain38%41%25%24%
🇦🇺 Australia31%37%23%18%
🇩🇪 Germany28%34%23%15%
🇳🇱 Netherlands 30%33%20%23%
🇪🇸 Spain 27%32%26%20%

For perspective, energy prices in many European countries are more than twice or three times the global average.

Less frequently mentioned energy priorities include:

  • Building more energy infrastructure.
  • Charging energy consumers more taxes for excessive use.
  • Ensuring Indigenous peoples benefit from major energy projects.

Reducing deforestation emerged as the top priority in Brazil, home to 60% of the Amazon rainforest. Recent data indicates that almost 20% of the forest has been destroyed since the 1970s.

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Oil and Gas

How Oil Is Adding Fuel to Geopolitical Fragmentation

Which countries and regions decreased, banned, or increased Russian oil imports following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine?

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A preview Sankey chart showing Russian oil imported by country from 2021 to 2023.

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The following content is sponsored by The Hinrich Foundation

How Oil Is Adding Fuel to Global Fragmentation

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led to severe bans or restrictions on Russian oil from the West. Meanwhile, other nations—including China, India, and Türkiye—opted to deepen trade ties with the country.

This graphic from the Hinrich Foundation is the final visualization in a three-part series covering the future of trade. It provides visual context to the growing divide among countries shunning Russian oil versus those taking advantage of the excess supply.

Which Countries Have Decreased or Banned Russian Oil Imports?

This analysis uses data from the IEA’s February 2024 Oil Market Report on Russian oil exports from 2021 to 2023.

Following the invasion, both the U.S. and the UK enacted a complete ban on Russian crude. Imports dropped from 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to zero by late-2022. 

Country/Region2021 (bpd)2022 (bpd)2023 (bpd)Change; 2021-2023 (bpd)
EU3.3M3.0M600K-2.7M
UK & U.S.600K100K0-600K
OECD Asia500K200K0-500K

Similarly, the EU, which has historically been more reliant on oil from Russia, dropped imports by over 80%, from 3.3 million bpd in 2021 to 600,000 bpd in 2023.

OECD Asia-Pacific—which includes Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand—also slashed their Russian oil imports. 

Which Countries Have Increased Imports of Russian Oil?

The pullback in demand for Russian crude from the West created a buying opportunity for countries and regions that chose not to support Western sanctions. 

Country/Region2021 (bpd)2022 (bpd)2023 (bpd)Change; 2021-2023 (bpd)
India100K900K1.9M+1.8M
China1.6M1.9M2.3M+700K
Türkiye200K400K700K+500K
Africa100K100K400K+300K
Middle East100K200K300K+200K
Latin America100K100K200K+100K
Other800K600K900K+100K

India increased its imports of oil from Russia, by the largest amount from 2021 to 2023—up to 1.9 million bpd from only 100,000 bpd

China, the biggest net importer, also saw a large uptick. The country boosted imports for Russian oil by over 40% over this timeframe. Türkiye increased imports of Russian crude by an additional 500,000 bpd

Several other regions—such as Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America—saw slight upticks in imports. 

Shifting Trade Dependencies

The dynamics present in the global crude market underscore broader trends in Russia’s trade relationships. Russia is becoming increasingly less economically reliant on the West and more reliant on China. 

From 2022 to 2023, the largest upward shift in the UNCTAD’s bilateral trade dependency estimates was Russia’s increased reliance upon China (+7.1%). 

DependentDepending OnAnnual Change
RussiaChina+7.1%
UkraineEU+5.8%
BrazilChina+3.0%

Note: Trade dependencies are calculated by UNCTAD as the ratio of two countries’ bilateral trade over the total trade of the dependent economy.

In fact, China threw a lifeline to Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine invasion. The Atlantic Council reported that Chinese exports to Russia have grown 121% since 2021, while exports to the rest of the world have increased by only 29% in the same period.  

In contrast, Russia also exhibited a large decrease in reliance on the EU (-5.3%). South Korea and the U.S. have made shifts to further distance themselves from China as geopolitical tensions continue to mount.

DependentDepending OnAnnual Change
RussiaEU-5.3%
South KoreaChina-1.2%
U.S.China-1.2%

As the Russian oil market shows, geopolitical tensions have the potential to significantly impact trade. Though Russian crude exports remained steady amid the conflict, this necessitated a shift in its main trading partners. 

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Visit the Hinrich Foundation to learn more about the future of geopolitical trade

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