Tag Archives: resources

Preventing an Arctic Cold War – NYTimes.com

13 Mar

Several countries, along with corporations like ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, are preparing to exploit the [Arctic] region’s enormous oil and natural gas reserves. New shipping routes will compete with the Panama and Suez Canals. Vast fisheries are being opened to commercial harvesting, without regulation. Coastal areas that are home to indigenous communities are eroding into the sea. China and the European Union are among non-Arctic governments rushing to assert their interests in the region. Some states have increased military personnel and equipment there.

The most fundamental challenge for the Arctic states is to promote cooperation and prevent conflict. Both are essential, but a forum for achieving those goals does not yet exist.

In 1996, eight countries — the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark (which manages the foreign affairs and defense of Greenland) — and groups representing indigenous peoples established the Arctic Council to chart the region’s future. So far, this high-level forum has identified sustainable development and environmental protection as “common Arctic issues.” But another crucial concern — maintaining the peace — was shelved in the talks that led to the council’s creation. The fear then, as now, was that peace implied demilitarization. It doesn’t.

What’s wrong with demilitarization? I think it’s a great idea. We need more of it.

via Preventing an Arctic Cold War – NYTimes.com.

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Peak Oil and Financial Decline

1 Feb

The Nation has posted a video by James Howard Kunstler on Peak Oil and Our Financial Decline:

From the description of the video:

Kunstler suggests that “cheap abundant energy” has facilitated ever-increasing industrialization for centuries. But now that society is in a period of self-destructive capital accumulation, he expects debt to increase as abundance in energy drops. The tremendous amount of accumulated debt, “a by-product of cheap abundant energy,” will mean that in the future governments will be less able to make investments in socially-beneficial programs.

He also criticizes the US environmental movement for shying away from the problem of energy. The movement is unable to talk about walkable neighborhoods, smaller cities or investing in rail or water transit,  an “intellectual failure of the culture to have a coherent conversation from people who ought to be leading” such a conversation.