Today’s shot of eco-angst
Published 29th September 2009 - 1 comments - 1114 views -
Not a lot of reaction to yesterday's post, but that's not a reason to give up monitoring the more outrageous statements being emitted by those who want to give COP15 a heightened sense of urgency.
Today, our focus is on the Australian climate scientist Tim Flannery, who warned last week that if a deal isn't done in Denmark, something really bad might happen. Like what? Well, check this out: "My greatest fear is that once people stop negotiating, once diplomacy fails, that's potentially a prelude for war," Flannery told The Australian. War!
The triggers for conflict he believes include serious water shortages, mass migration of climate-affected people or carbon tariffs. Whereas the first two sound plausible, it is hard to imagine Australia and Europe arming the intercontinental missiles because of carbon tariffs. But that's the thing about apocalyptic visions, nothing is too Fletcherian.
I am with Flannery, however, in seeing resources as central to the 21st century's conflicts, but these may not be fought in the ways that we expect. Future resource hostilities will involve a variety of strategies and weapons, especially economic ones. Today, the Financial Times is reporting that a Chinese state-owned company is in talks with Nigeria to buy large stakes in its vast oil blocs. "The attempt could pitch the Chinese into competition with western oil groups, including Shell, Chevron, Total and ExxonMobil, which partly or wholly control and operate the 23 blocks under discussion," writes Tom Burgis.
How this "competition" will play out is going to be fascinating to watch. And maybe Flannery will be proved right in the end. After all, it was Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian patron saint of foreign policy realists, who once said: "The great questions of the day will be decided not by speeches, or by resolutions of majorities, but by blood and iron."
About the author
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