There’s no escaping it. Changing monsoons, agriculture in crisis, environmental refugees—climate change is looming ever larger on the horizon of governments everywhere.
The United States now stands at a critical juncture in the evolution of its energy policy, particularly with respect to petroleum and natural gas consumption. The demand for energy in this country has been rising steadily over the past years as a result of continued economic growth and the vital role of air, ground, and sea transportation in all aspects of economic activity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), total energy use in the United States grew by 16 percent between 1990 and 2002, and is projected to grow by another 35 percent between 2002 and 2025. At the same time, many other countries, both developed and developing, have also experienced an increased need for energy, pushing total world energy use from 348 quadrillion BTUs in 1990 to a projected 645 quadrillion BTUs in 2025, an increase of 85 percent.
There are some people in the world’s wealthy countries who forecast that 2005 will be a decisive year for Africa.
Of the many lessons to be learned from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, none is perhaps more important over the long run than the obvious need for a new national energy strategy.
The first thing to say about Kyoto’s entry into force (Feb 16th) is that it is a significant victory, won particularly by the Europeans, over social and economic complacency, cash-amplified, flat-earth pseudo-science, the carbon cartel, and, of course, the Bush administration. The second is that, if itÂs not soon followed by other victories, deeper and even more challenging ones, the EarthÂs climate will soonÂthink 2050 or even soonerÂbe transformed into one that is far more inhospitable, and even hostile, than even most environmentalists imagine.
As the Kyoto Protocol comes into force this month, a carbon rush is gaining steam in the financial industry. Investors predict that the carbon trade could become one of the largest markets in the world with a trading volume of $60 – $250 billion by 2008 and some unlikely actors are gearing up to profit from this new, invisible market. Foremost among them is the World Bank.
On its face, President George Bush’s recent endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s land grab in the occupied territories makes little sense. The plan, under which Israel would abandon Gaza while permanently annexing most of the West Bank, has met with almost universal condemnation.
The first tanker loaded with Chadian crude oil embarked from the Cameroonian port of Kribi on October 5th, 2003. The landlocked Central African nation of Chad will receive around $2 billion over the lifetime of the oil fields developed by a consortium led by energy giant Exxon-Mobil. Through its financial backing of the project, the World Bank is putting to the test a new approach to an old African problem: the marriage of oil, embezzlement, and political corruption. Through a carefully orchestrated plan to impose transparency and good governance on the elected Chadian officials, the bank aims to ensure that the money is used to benefit the nation’s people, who are among the poorest in the world.
Ryan Murphy, creator of television’s popular reality TV show Nip/Tuck, has a theory based in Greek tragedy of why viewers tune in to see volunteers request extreme plastic surgery and wind up hideously disfigured. “It’s a cautionary fairy tale. It says, ‘Be careful what you wish for’,” he told USA Today recently.1