The Global Community has had work on energy management, issues and rights
ever since 1985. A short list of our previous work on the energy management, issues and rights
For more recent work on energy management, issues and rights
read the following table.
|| Theme and Author
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| December 8, 2007
|| Peak Oil And The Vision In The Mirror
by Aaron Wissner, Countercurrents.org,
Aaron Wissner, Organizer, Local Future Network
What happens when the energy supply stops growing, but the population continues to grow?
More importantly, what happens when the energy supply begins to decline, as population continues to grow?
Peak oil is not simply an issue of learning to conserve or finding ways to do more with less. It isn't simply about the possibility of economic
collapse, war, starvation or global pandemic. It isn't just about changing our behaviors or our beliefs. It is about turning ourselves inside-out, and not only
surviving the transformation, but also being and living equal and in harmony with all the rest.
| December 7, 2007
|| Forests Could Cool or Cook The Planet
by Stephen Leahy , Countercurrents.org,
BROOKLIN, Canada, Dec 7 (IPS) - A two-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures could flip the Amazon forest
from being the Earth's vital air conditioner to a flamethrower that cooks the planet, warns a new report released at the climate talks in Bali, Indonesia Friday.
The trees of the Amazon contain at least 100 billion tonnes of carbon -- 15 years worth of global emissions from all sources, he said. "It's not
only essential for cooling the world's temperature but also such a large source of freshwater that it may be enough to influence some of the great ocean currents."
It is in everyone's interest to keep the Amazon intact, but deforestation continues apace, driven by expanding cattle ranching, soy farming, conversion into sugar cane for
biofuel and logging. This assault is drying out the forest, making it more vulnerable to burning. Rising global temperatures are also increasing evaporation rates,
drying the forest further.
| November 27, 2007
|| UNDP wants climate justice through trade
by ASHOK B SHARMA
published by Indian Society For Sustainable Agriculture and by Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) for the first time in its human development report has analysed the impact of climate
change. The Human Development Report 2007-08 – Fighting climate change : Human solidarity in a divided world is released at a time when the climate change agenda is
slowly gaining its entry in the WTO negotiations and the discussions on the review of the work under Kyoto Protocol is slated to take place in Bali in Indonesia in
December, this year.
The report documented the impact of climate change across the world also projected the likely scenario for the future. Making out a case for alternative sources of
energy and fuels like bio-fuels, the UNDP report said that global trade has a major role to play. It said :
International trade could play a much larger role in
the expanding Markets for alternative fuels. Brazil is more efficient than either the European Union or the United States in producing ethanol, Moreover, sugar-based
ethanol is more efficient in cutting carbon emissions. The problem is that imports of Brazilian ethanol are restricted by high import tariffs. Removing these tariffs
would generate gains not just for Brazil, but for climate change mitigation.
Negotiations on emissions limits for the post-2012 Kyoto Protocol commitment period can – and must – frame the global carbon budget.
Saying so it noted most developed countries like Canada fell short of the targets. Though the European Union and UK have both embraced their targets, they are likely to
fall far short of the goals set unless they move rapidly to put climate mitigation at the center of energy policy reform. Two major OECD countries like US and Australia
are not bound by Kyoto Protocol.
The report suggested two ways to mitigate climate change, one is to directly tax carbon dioxide emission and the other is cap-and-trade. Under cap-and-trade system,
the government sets an overall emissions cap and issues tradable allowances that grant business the right to emit a set amount. Those who can reduce emissions more cheaply
are able to sell allowances. One potential disadvantage of cap-and-trade is energy price instability while the potential advantage is environmental certainty, it noted.
While the transition to climate protecting energy and life styles will have short-term costs, there may be economic benefits beyond what what is to be achieved by
stabilizing temperatures. These benefits are likely to be realized through Keynesian and Schumpeterian mechanisms with new incentives for massive investment stimulating
overall demand and creative destruction leading to innovation and productivity jumps in a wide array of sectors, the foreward to the report said.
While government leadership is going to be essential in correcting the huge externality that is climate change, Markets and prices will have to be put to work so that
private sector decisions can lead more naturally to optimal investment and production decisions.
| November 19, 2007
|| Globalisation Or Militarist Imperialism? India Must Choose: the Indo-US nuclear deal
by Rohini Hensman, Countercurrents.org,
If India wishes to be a respected member of
the international community, it would need to uphold
international law. This would entail working with
other countries to outlaw weapons of mass destruction
(chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, including
Depleted Uranium weapons), as well as weapons that
target civilians, such as land mines and cluster
bombs, all of which violate international law by
failing to confine their effects to military targets.
Obviously this would imply halting the nuclear
weaponisation programme in India.
It is easy to understand why the current US
administration is so desperate to seal a strategic
alliance with India, at a time when Pakistan, its
traditional ally in South Asia, appears to be
faltering. For India, however, the deal would be a
disaster. Backing out of it under pressure from public
opinion may be embarrassing, but not shameful; on the
contrary, it is the only democratic option. Going
through with it, on the other hand, would be
detrimental to India in the multifarious ways outlined
above. Clearly, the democratic option is both the
wisest and the only honourable one.
| November 13, 2007
|| US, British And Australian Forces Build Oil-Protection Base In Iraq
by Patrick Martin, Countercurrents.org, WSWS.org
The US Navy, with the assistance of British and Australian commandos, is building a permanent base to guard two oil-export platforms in Iraqi waters
at the northern end of the Persian Gulf. The military mission goes far beyond the patrols which US warships
have conducted in the Persian Gulf for the past 30 years, in the name of
keeping oil shipping lanes open. The Navy finds
itself with an additional, much more specific role: playing security guard
to Iraq’s offshore oil infrastructure. US, British and Australian military officers will control Iraq’s oil export
shipping for the indefinite future.
Iraq is one of the least-explored countries among the major oil producers, and there are plans to
explore for oil in the western desert (Anbar province) as well as the
traditional oil-producing regions in the north and south. Iraq has 112
billion barrels in proven oil reserves, but UN estimates have placed its
probable but as yet unproven reserves at 214 billion barrels, perhaps
the world’s largest pool of untapped oil. The oil ministry reported last week that daily crude oil production in
October hit a three-year high of 2.7 million barrels a day, of which 1.8
million barrels were exported. Hussein al-Shahristani, the oil minister,
said that crude production should reach 3 million barrels daily by the
end of the year.
| November 8, 2007
Welcome to the Age of Insuffiency: As oil prices hit new highs and supplies sink, our way of life will drastically change.
We are nearing the end of the Petroleum Age and have entered the Age of Insufficiency.
Major investors are not likely to cough up the trillions of dollars needed to substantially boost production in the years ahead, suggesting that the global output of
conventional petroleum will not reach the elevated levels predicted by the Energy Department but will soon begin an irreversible decline.
This conclusion leads to two obvious strategic impulses: first, the government will seek to ease the qualms of major energy investors by promising to protect their overseas
investments through the deployment of American military forces; and second, the industry will seek to hedge its bets by shifting an ever-increasing share of its investment
funds into the development of nonpetroleum liquids. In considering these past events, it is important to recognize that the use of military force to protect the flow
of imported petroleum has generally enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Washington. One might imagine that the current debacle in Iraq would shake this consensus, but
there is no evidence that this is so. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case: possibly fearful that the chaos in Iraq will spread to other countries in the Gulf
region, senior figures in both parties are calling for a reinvigorated US military role in the protection of foreign energy deliveries.
There is mounting perils to the safe flow of foreign oil. Concluding that the United States alone has the capacity to protect the global oil trade against the threat of
violent obstruction, it argues the need for a strong US military presence in key producing areas and in the sea lanes that carry foreign oil to American shores.
An awareness of this new "Washington consensus" on the need to protect overseas oil supplies with American troops helps explain many recent developments in Washington.
Most significant, it illuminates the strategic stance adopted by President Bush in justifying his determination to retain a potent US force in Iraq -- and why the Democrats
have found it so difficult to contest that stance. We should expect an increase in the use of military force to protect the overseas flow of oil, as the threat level rises
along with the need for new investment to avert even further reductions in global supplies.
| October 22, 2007
|| It’s The Oil
by Jim Holt, Countercurrents.org, London Review Of Books
Iraq has 115 billion barrels of known oil reserves. That is more than five
times the total in the United States. And, because of its long isolation, it
is the least explored of the world’s oil-rich nations. A mere two
thousand wells have been drilled across the entire country; in Texas
alone there are a million. It has been estimated, by the Council on
Foreign Relations, that Iraq may have a further 220 billion barrels of
undiscovered oil; another study puts the figure at 300 billion. If these
estimates are anywhere close to the mark, US forces are now sitting on
one quarter of the world’s oil resources. The value of Iraqi oil, largely
light crude with low production costs, would be of the order of $30
trillion at today’s prices. For purposes of comparison, the projected
total cost of the US invasion/occupation is around $1 trillion.
Who will get Iraq’s oil? One of the Bush administration’s ‘benchmarks’
for the Iraqi government is the passage of a law to distribute oil
revenues. The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress
would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. The Iraq National
Oil Company would retain control of 17 of Iraq’s 80 existing oilfields,
leaving the rest – including all yet to be discovered oil – under foreign
corporate control for 30 years.
The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but
the Bush administration’s cavalier attitude towards ‘nation-building’ has
all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the
next few decades – a necessary condition for the extraction of its oil
wealth. If the US had managed to create a strong, democratic
government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police
force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that
government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in
the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is
oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final
‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been
more effective. The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few
dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and
which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists
killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to
$30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and
cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a
fiasco; it is a resounding success.
| October 6, 2007
Whether we avert catastrophe with climate change may actually be decided by Citibank and Bank of America.
Citi has been busy funding dirty energy. Last year they gave 200 times more money for dirty energy than for clean. In the process they've helped underwrite some of the world's worst environmental and human rights offenders.
In 2006 they gave $4 billion to Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal mining company, which has been ravaging Dine and Hopi lands for 40 years, taking 2.5 million gallons of water out of their desert watershed each day and leaving behind a trail of toxic waste.
The disastrous Peabody Energy got $4 billion last year from BOA, which should help them on their way to building new plants in New Mexico, Illinois and Kentucky.
The banks are helping coal to take the wealth from us, to steal us blind and leave us in poverty, and leave us in poison. If those banks took the $141 billion they plan to spend on building new coal plants, and instead invested it in energy efficient measures, they could reduce electricity demand by 19 percent by 2025.
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