Energy is the lifeblood of all economic activity. For this reason, disruptions in predictable supply and demand have far reaching impacts for all countries. Though a popular topic of discussion in the media, the catalogue of threats associated with energy instability has been slow to gain traction as a policy priority. Some practical questions arise from the welter of discussion and popular conjecture: Is there a looming global energy crisis? If so, how quickly is it happening, and how grave is the problem? What are the economic implications of coming energy shortages, and what are the geopolitical implications? What are the governance issues and what options exist for addressing them in a multilateral context?

These questions were posed to a group of thirty esteemed experts who assembled under the auspices of the Canadian International Council (CIC), on October 27, 2007. The session, held at The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, Ontario, was chaired by CIGI Distinguished Fellow Louise Fréchette, chair of CIGI's Nuclear Energy Futures project and former UN deputy secretary general (1998-2006).