Environment

Alienation and Militancy in the Niger Delta: A Response to CSIS on Petroleum, Politics, and Democracy in Nigeria

In the wake of the September 11th attack and the Iraq war, Nigeria’s geopolitical significance to the U.S. has come into sharper relief. In March and April 2003, militancy across the Niger Delta radically disrupted oil production in this major oil supplier nation. News of these actions, following conflict-ridden national elections, has reinforced the notion that Nigeria and the new West African “gulf states” in general are matters of U.S. national security.

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Two Futures, and a Choice

Whether to invade Iraq, and whether to act aggressively to prevent catastrophic climate change may seem to be two separate decisions, but in fact they represent a single fateful choice about the future.

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Calling All Realists

The abortive “Earth Summit” in Johannesburg is already fading from our overtaxed memories. Indeed, as I write this, the conference of the week is COP8, the Eighth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. And it may be a whole lot more important than Johannesburg, if only as a marker, a way to date another death of innocence. For COP8 comes only days after Al Qaeda, in its latest blast of apocalyptic warfare, destroyed a pair of Balinese discos, and with them hundreds of lives. We should not forget, those of us who follow the game of global environmental policy, that Johannesburg’s final preparatory conference was also in Bali, and only a few short miles away.

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Bulletin from Bali: What Are We Going to Do About the United States?

This year, in late August 2002, the United Nations will hold the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), an international conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, ostensibly to create a new model of sustainable development that integrates economic development, social justice, and environmental imperatives. WSSD is supposed to be a ten year follow-up and implementation conference to the 1992 Rio de Janeiro UN Conference on Environment and Development–thus, its other name, “Rio plus 10.” In the Preparatory Committee (PrepComm) meetings that have preceded WSSD, (the latest in Bali, Indonesia held in late May through early June) a common theme has emerged–the United States government is bound and determined to undermine, overthrow, and sabotage any international treaties, agreements, and conferences that it believes restrict its sovereignty in any way as the world’s rogue superpower.

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People versus Big Oil: Rights of Nigerian Indigenous People Recognized

At a time when the petropolitics of the Bush administration seem to reign supreme, the rights of peoples affected by the global hunt for oil have received an important boost. An African commission has ruled the Nigerian government should compensate the Ogoni people for abuses against their lands, environment, housing, and health caused by oil production and government security forces. Nigerian and international groups say that the ruling by the nine-member African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) is a sweeping affirmation of what the human rights community calls ESC rights–defined by the UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social, and, Cultural Rights.

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Sharing the Waters

The Rio Grande/Río Bravo no longer reaches the Gulf of Mexico—it’s blocked by a sandbar that is the result of several years of low flow in the river. This development is symbolic of the dire state of the entire transboundary river basin. The river’s troubles are now manifesting themselves in an increasingly acrimonious dispute between the United States and Mexico.

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