Energy Climate Era
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Energy Climate Era

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Highlights of Thomas Friedman's arguments in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." Lecture prepared by Dr. LaRae Donnellan and shared with her students at Florida A&M University

Highlights of Thomas Friedman's arguments in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." Lecture prepared by Dr. LaRae Donnellan and shared with her students at Florida A&M University

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  • Growing demand for ever-scarcer energy supplies and natural resources Massive transfer of wealth to oil-rich countries & their petrodictators Disruptive climate change Energy poverty (electrical haves & have-nots) Rapidly accelerating biodiversity loss These problems, and how we manage them, will define the Energy-Climate Era. Any one of these problems, if not managed properly, could cause sweeping, nonlinear, irreversible disruptions that might affect multiple generations.
  • Soaring oil and gas prices happen when global flattening meets global crowding.
  • India, China & Middle East spent $50 billion Indonesia spent 30% of budget on energy subsidies The West spent $270 billion subsidizing agriculture.
  • When crowded meets flat.
  • China’s grand-scale urbanization plans call for relocating 400 million people (the population of the U.S.) to newly developed urban centers between 2000 and 2030. They’ll erect half of all buildings constructed IN THE WORLD during that time. Buildings are NOT energy-efficient. Newly urbanized Chinese will consumer 3 ½ times more energy than their rural counterparts. By 2020, they’ll be the largest bloc of tourists – plans for 40 large airports over the next several years. Greenhouse gases from planes could rise to 5x current levels. Per capita consumption rates in China are about 11 x below ours, but if they just rise to our level, and no other country increases its consumption, and all national populations (including China’s) remain unchanged in size and immigration ceases, China’s new consumption would roughly double world consumption rates. Oil consumption would increase by 106%, and world metal consumption by 94%. The rise of China demonstrated by such things as the disappearance of manhole covers around the world, beginning in mid-February 2004 to feed China’s demand for scrap metal. Why? Few virgin commons left to fuel China’s takeoff into capitalism.
  • Authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart, in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things , argue that our current approach to recycling allows to keep making bigger and higher quality computers, electronics, boxes, cars, etc., and turn them into lower quality, less sophisticated products – and then throw them away. This in not recycling but DOWNCYCLING – just slow-motion waste and resource depletion. Instead, we must make every TV set, chair, carpet, furniture, computer screen, etc., out of materials that can be either completely reusable or completely biodegradable.
  • The second key problem that a hot, flat & crowded world is dramatically intensifying is petrodictatorships. Implications: Through our energy purchases, we are helping to strengthen the most intolerant, antimodern, anti-Western, anti-women’s rights, anti-pluralistic strain of Islam – the strain propagated by Saudi Arabia. Our oil addiction is helping to finance a reversal of the democratic trends in Russia, Latin America and elsewhere that were set in motion by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism. Our growing dependence on oil is fueling an ugly global energy scramble that brings out the worst in nations, whether it is Washington biting its tongue about the repression of women and the lack of religious freedom inside Saudi Arabia, or China going into partnership with a murderous African dictatorship in oil-rich Sudan. Through our energy purchases, we are funding both sides of the war on terror. Our purchases enrich conservative, Islaic governments in the Persian Gulf, which share their windfalls with charities, mosques, religious schools, and individuals in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Dubai, Kuwait, and around the Muslim world – some of which donate some of this wealth to anti-American terrorist groups, suicide bombers, and preachers. AND …we are financing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps with our tax tollars. On Jan. 2, 2006, then-Russian President Vladimir Putin briefly shut down Russia’s gas pipeline to Central and Western Europe to inimidate the newly elected Western-oriented government in Ukraine. Russia gained power – NOT because it got better educated, more productive or more efficient at manufacturing. Europe simply got more dependent on Russia’s natural resources, and Russia got more aggressive about exploiting that dependence.
  • Just like Christianity, Islam is practiced in a variety of forms. Some embrace modernity and tolerance of other faiths – like Sufi Islam or the urban-centered, populist Islam still found in Cairo, Istanbul, Casablanca, Baghdad, and Damascus (urban Islam). Others, such as the ruling family of Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda, believe Islam should be returned to its purest roots, an austere “desert Islam” supposedly practiced in the time of the Prophet Muhammad – the Salafi form of Islam. Salafi proselytizers, funded by petrodollars from Saudi Arabia, have made a big impact on the way many mainstream Muslims interpret their faith today, as well as how they relate to the faiths of others. Justification for violent jihadism. In Egypt, formerly more modernist, men and women now sit separate from one another. Saudi investors are buying up the contracts of singers and actors, reshaping the TV and film industries and setting the media agenda. The “35 Rules” of moviemaking: can’t show an empty bed, hugging, kissing, drinking. The madrasa system of education targeted impoverished students the public school system failed. GOOD NEWS: The ruling al-Saud family has begun taking real steps to try to rein in its most virulent jihadist preachers, religious scholars, and youth, and to crack down on Saudis who either join domestic terrorist organizations. BAD NEWS: The Salafist-Wahhabi ideology is so deeply embedded in the Saudi religious/educatio system that trying to dial it down is no easy task. The Kingdom is trying to retrain its 40,000 prayer leaders – known as imams – in an effort to counter militant Islam. GOOD NEWS: Petrodollars ARE helping more women get educated. Many more men and women are able to study abroad. More new media, more globalization.
  • Bahrain – 1 st to discover oil in 1932, and the first to start running out around 1998. 1 st to hold a free and fair parliamentary election, in which women could run and vote. 1 st to overhaul its labor laws and to sign a free-trade agreement with the U.S. Lebanon is the Arab world’s first and only real democracy; it also is one of the few Arab states that never had a drop of oil.
  • Friedman came up with this idea in 2006. In 2001, when oil was $25-$30 a barrel, George W. Bush looked into Russian president Vladimir Putin’s soul and saw a friend of America there. “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. … I was able to get a sense of his soul.” But in 2006, with oil topping $100 a barrel, Putin took over oil companies, newspapers, parliament, etc. “ When oil was $20 a barrel, Putin had 20 percent of the Russian vote; when it was $100 a barrel he had 100 percent of the Russian vote!” “ When oil dipped below $20 a barrel in 1997, Iran elected the reformer Mohammed Khatami as president, and he called for a “dialogue of civilizations.” “ In 2005, with oil selling around $60-$70 a barrel, Iran elected Mohammed Ahmadinejad, who said the Holocaust is a myth.” (p. 95)
  • Taxation effect – Oil-rich governments tend to use their revenues “to relieve social pressures that might otherwise lead to demands for greater accountability … from – and representation in – their government.” (p. 101) Spending effect – Oil wealth leads to greater patronage spending, which in turn dampens pressures for democratization. Group formation effect – When oil revenues provide an already nondemocratic or weak state with a cash windfall, “the government will use its largesse to prevent the formation of social groups that are independent from the state.” (Michael L. Ross, p. 101) Repression effect – Allows governments to spend excessively on police, internal security, and intelligence forces that can be used to choke democratic movements. (p. 102) Antimodernization effect – Massive oil wealth tends to diminish pressures for occupational specialization, urbanization, and the securing of higher levels of education – trends that normally accompany broad-based economic development and also produce a public that is more articulate, free to organize, and endowed with multiple autonomous economic power centers of its own (p. 102) WOMEN in Middle Eastern countries tend to be undereducated, underrepresented in the workforce, and politically disempowered because of oil, not Islam. 1. Higher fertility rates, less education for girls, less female influence within the family. 2. Atypically strong patriarchal cultures and political institutions. 3. Women less likely to exchange information and less likely to mobilize politically and lobby for expanded rights. 4. Oil booms tend to lead to more construction jobs … for men. Not a single WORLD-CLASS UNIVERSITY or scientific research center in the entire Arab world or Iran today. 1. Entrepreneurs in this part of the world live off income from oil or fighting terrorism. … There is no nurturing of talent. (p. 104)
  • Taxation effect – Oil-rich governments tend to use their revenues “to relieve social pressures that might otherwise lead to demands for greater accountability … from – and representation in – their government.” (p. 101) Spending effect – Oil wealth leads to greater patronage spending, which in turn dampens pressures for democratization. Group formation effect – When oil revenues provide an already nondemocratic or weak state with a cash windfall, “the government will use its largesse to prevent the formation of social groups that are independent from the state.” (Michael L. Ross, p. 101) Repression effect – Allows governments to spend excessively on police, internal security, and intelligence forces that can be used to choke democratic movements. (p. 102) Antimodernization effect – Massive oil wealth tends to diminish pressures for occupational specialization, urbanization, and the securing of higher levels of education – trends that normally accompany broad-based economic development and also produce a public that is more articulate, free to organize, and endowed with multiple autonomous economic power centers of its own (p. 102) WOMEN in Middle Eastern countries tend to be undereducated, underrepresented in the workforce, and politically disempowered because of oil, not Islam. 1. Higher fertility rates, less education for girls, less female influence within the family. 2. Atypically strong patriarchal cultures and political institutions. 3. Women less likely to exchange information and less likely to mobilize politically and lobby for expanded rights. 4. Oil booms tend to lead to more construction jobs … for men. Not a single WORLD-CLASS UNIVERSITY or scientific research center in the entire Arab world or Iran today. 1. Entrepreneurs in this part of the world live off income from oil or fighting terrorism. … There is no nurturing of talent. (p. 104)
  • As we enter the Energy-Climate Era, we are leaving an era in which whatever effects we were having on the climate and environment were perceived to be manageable and reversible – acid rain, ozone depletion, conventional pollution – and entering an era in which our effects on the climate and earth’s natural systems are becoming potentially unmanageable and irreversible. The United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report in 2007 said global warming is “unequivocal” and that the increase in temperature since 1950 is directly attributable to greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. If we do nothing and let CO2 levels continue to rise, by the next century, we’re looking at a cumulative warming of 3-5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial conditions – would trigger sea level rises, droughts, floods of biblical scale. Our challenge as a civilization in the Energy-Climate Era is to manage those effects that are already “unavoidable,” already baked into our future, and to avoid those effects that would be truly “unmanageable.”
  • Things are worse than predicted. Why? Because scientists often hate to overstate; they try to be extremely careful in their analyses. Also, there’s political pressure to lowball dangers. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was forced to change some of its predictions – just as the EPA was under President George W. Bush.
  • Hunter Lovins, cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, coined the term “global weirding” …”to explain to people that the rise in global average temperature (global warming) is actually going to trigger all sorts of unusual weather events – from hotter heat spells and droughts in some places to heavier snows in others, to more violent storms, more intense flooding, downpours, forest fires, and species loss in still others.” (p. 133) Local meteorologists are the interface between the general public and the scientific community. People look to them and trust them, so it is critical that they make these connections, based on science. This is an environmental literacy opportunity.” (p. 135) – the opinion of Heidi Cullen, the Weather Channel’s climatologist. Set off a firestorm among meterologists. Many think global warming is just politics.
  • For those countries who are already energy-poor and never had electricity, extended power cuts won’t matter much. But for those who now have it, and whose aspirations have increased with every kilowatt, suddenly losing it could become politically explosive.
  • The World Bank estimates that about 1.6 billion people – that’s 1 out of 4 – don’t have regular access to an electricity grid. “ Meanwhile, indoor air pollution caused by the smoke emitted from cooking over open fires with inefficient stoves and pots – the most common alternative to grid electricity – is responsible for 1.6 million deaths per year, mostly of young children and mothers.” (p. 155)
  • We need to help make villages work, not only to help the poor but also to create a better balance in the world. “To make villages work, though, you have to empower people to live locally and act globally; you have to give them opportunity and access. But to empower takes power – electric power.” (p. 168)
  • Half of the world’s tropical and temperate forests are gone. About half the wetlands and a third of the mangroves are gone. Species are disappearing at rates about a 1,000 times faster than normal. About 90% of large predator fish are gone. 20% of corals are gone, and another 20% severely threatened. 2006 loss of the baiji, or river dolphin, in China – we lost an entire mammal genus, which consists of many species. The first large vertebrate forced to extinction by human activity in 50 years.
  • According to Conservation International, which specializes in biodiversity preservation, “one species is now going extinct every twenty minutes, which is a thousand times faster than the norm during most of the earth’s history.” (p. 141)
  • Kyoto Protocol set binding limits for developed countries for greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental treaties were treated as options, not imperatives. The U.S. never accepted the Kyoto Protocol. China and India kept their distance as well. NOW, we can’t expect to enjoy peace & security, economic growth, and human rights if we ignore the key problems of the Energy-Climate Era: 1) energy supply and demand; 2) petrodictatorship, 3) climate change, 4) energy poverty, 5) biodiversity loss.

Energy Climate Era Energy Climate Era Presentation Transcript

  • Thomas Friedman Hot, Flat, and Crowded
    • Industrial Revolution
      • 18 th century
      • CO 2 fuels (coal, oil, natural gas)
      • 280 ppm
    • Transportation Revolution
      • 20 th century
      • Urbanization/suburbanization
      • 2007, 384 ppm
      • 2009, 390.18 ppm
  • NASA GISS (i.e. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/) View slide
    • PCs – Individuals as authors
    • Internet/WWW/browsers
    • Work flow revolution
    • What’s happened?
      • People rise out of poverty.
      • They consume more.
      • They demand more energy.
    View slide
    • 1950: 2.5 billion
    • Today: 6.7 billion people
    • 2050: 9.2 billion people
    • Who? Where?
      • Young people
      • Less-developed countries
      • Cities (unprepared for them)
    • Growing demand for scarcer resources
    • Petrodictators getting richer
    • Disruptive climate change
    • Energy poverty (electricity haves & have-nots)
    • Rapidly accelerating biodiversity loss
    • Global energy consumption grew 5% per year from 1951-1970.
      • Post-World War II growth in U.S., Europe, Japan
    • 2001-2020
      • China, India, other developing countries consuming more.
      • Infrastructure is energy-intensive.
    • 1973, 1980, 1990
      • Wars, revolution in Middle East
      • Offset by “shock absorbers”
        • Spare crude oil
        • Spare refining capacity
        • Spare oil product inventory
    • 2004
      • Sudden leap in demand from China; no shock absorbers
    • 2008 – skyrocketed prices
    • 2.4 billion people living on $2 or less per day.
      • Millions striving for/getting better lives.
      • Creates enormous demand for resources.
    • Why law of supply & demand didn’t work.
      • Subsidies for energy & food kept prices artificially low.
    • We exported our lifestyle (“affluenza”).
      • 2-3x as many living our lifestyle by 2050.
      • Europe & Japan middle class consume less.
    • Most capitalistic country?
      • Communism & socialism were systems of restraint.
      • Urbanization plan changed things.
      • Per capita consumption is 11x less than in U.S., but newly urbanized Chinese will consume 3 ½ x what rural Chinese will consume.
    • Missing manhole covers
      • What does that mean?
    • Lecturing others won’t work.
    • Redefine middle class lifestyle.
      • Invent sustainability tools & spread know-how.
    • Eliminate concept of waste.
      • Stop “downcycling.”
      • Make everything reusable or biodegradable.
    • Massive transfer of wealth
      • From energy-consuming countries to energy-producing countries
    • Implications
      • Gives power & money to conservative hardliners.
      • Finances antidemocratic trends.
      • Fuels ugly energy scramble.
      • Funds both sides of the war on terror.
    • Rise in Saudi fundamentalist Salafi “desert” Islam.
      • Women’s rights
      • Performing arts
      • Education funding
    • Rise in revolutionary Shiite Islam from Iran.
    • “ As the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down; and as the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up.”
    • Countries
      • Bahrain & Lebanon 1 st to run out.
      • Angola, Nigeria, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Indonesia, Gabon, Egypt, Burma
  • Thomas Friedman, “ The First Law of Petropolitics ,” Foreign Affairs 154 (May-June 2006): pp. 28-36.  
    • Taxation effect
      • Relieves social pressures
      • No taxation or representation
    • Spending effect
      • Greater patronage, less demand for democracy
    • Group formation effect
      • Prevents independent groups
    • Repression effect
      • More police, security forces
    • Antimodernization effect
      • Hire others; women held back
    • We still need petroleum-based products (plastics, fertilizers).
    • We need plentiful renewable energy sources
      • Reduce global demand for oil
      • Oil-rich states will have to diversify their economies
    • Second Law of Petropolitics
      • Effective policy realists must be environmentalists.
    • IPCC Report:
      • Global warming IS REAL.
        • Increase in temperature since 1950 caused by humans.
        • Without dramatic reduction in CO 2 by 2012, climate change may bring “abrupt or irreversible” effects.
      • Hurricane Katrina fed by warmer Gulf waters.
    • “ Avoid the unmanageable & manage the unavoidable.”
    • Philosophical question
      • Are hurricanes acts of god … or man?
      • Are warm winter days a gift … or a price we’re paying?
    • Things are worse than predicted.
      • “ Chicken Little” syndrome?
    • Hard to grasp exponential change (tipping points)
    • Three stages of skepticism
      • You’re wrong; I can prove it.
      • You’re right, but who cares?
      • It’s too late to do anything.
    • Wrong thinking
    • “ Global warming” is a misnomer.
      • Not uniform or gradual.
      • Unusual weather events occurring rapidly.
    • Need for “thematic,” not just “episodic” stories.
      • Meteorologists are the key.
    • Access to electricity is essential to compete, connect, collaborate.
    • Creating a world of energy haves and have-nots.
    • 1 of 4 don’t have electricity.
      • Dark nights for 1.6 billion people.
      • 75% of Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa)
      • 50% of South Asia (90% of rural)
    • Indoor air pollution
      • 1.6 million deaths/year
    • Ineffective utilities
      • Caused by misgovernance and/or war
      • Perpetuates social inequality
    • Being energy-poor is not what it used to be.
      • Hot world: more punishing.
      • Flat world: can’t compete.
      • Crowded world: can’t thrive.
    • The poor will suffer most.
    • We need to tap into their creativity & innovation.
      • Get balance between localization & globalization.
    • Deforestation
      • Losing an acre/second
    • Species disappearing
    • Biodiversity tipping point?
      • 2006 loss of the river dolphin – first GENUS loss in 50 years
    • We’re causing the flood & must save species by creating “arks.”
      • One species goes extinct every 20 minutes.
      • Natural cures, industrial materials, biological insights?
    • Ecosystem services
      • Provide fresh water, filter pollutants, provide breeding grounds, buffer storms, take in CO 2 , etc.
    • Humans are the only species that no animal or plant depends on for survival.
      • We need the web of life to survive – it doesn’t need us.
    • Biodiversity is about saving humanity.
      • “ Later is over.”
      • We’d better start saving now!
    • Sought peace & security, economic development, human rights.
    • Ignored environmental imperative.
      • Kyoto Protocol in 1997
    • Can’t have one without the other.
  • What’s Next?
    • What do you think needs to be done?
    • What are YOU willing to do?
    • To contact your elected officials, go to:
    • http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml