Global themes brief energy water nexus and sustainability


Published on

The extensive interview with Dr. Gupta contains references, analysis and insight into the “challenges of the commons” faced globally, including:

• Energy and water resources and their implications for development and foreign affairs;

• Climate change, carbon emissions equations and the response of nature;

• Discussions about natural gas and nuclear energy and waste;

• And, the geopolitics and economics surrounding the energy- water nexus, with references to China and India.

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Global themes brief energy water nexus and sustainability

  1. 1. ‘‘ Global  Themes an issues brief series of the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations DCFR Dallas  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations Issue  No.  6 September  21,  2012 Energy-­water  nexus  and  sustainability An  Interview  with  Dr.  Rajan  Gupta,  Los  Alamos  National  Laboratory The  following  interview  contains   “International  pipelines  could  become  tremendous  mechanisms  for  cooperation.   references,  analysis  and  insight  into   Like  oil  pipelines,  all  transit  countries  between  the  suppliers  and  consumers  have   the  “challenges  of  the  commons”   to  cooperate.  ” faced  globally,  including: their  implications  for  development   the  atmosphere  over  the  last  10  years   and  if  the  earth  was  warming?  The   and  foreign  affairs;; is  due  to  the  increased  use  of  coal,  in   answer  is  unequivocal.  We  would  see   particular  by  China.   high  temperatures  and  more  intense   storms.  High  temperatures  are  due   equations  and  the  response  of  nature;;   JW:  What  do  you  decipher  from  the   to  the  increased  greenhouse  effect.   hot  temperatures  we  have  seen  in  the   Higher  temperatures  mean  more   nuclear  energy  and  waste;;   U.S.  this  summer? energy  in  the  atmosphere  and  more   evaporation  of  water  from  the  oceans   RG:  It  is  hard  to  convince  people  that   and  land.  More  energy  and  more   these  high  temperatures  represent   water  in  the  atmosphere  translate  into   water  nexus,  with  references  to  China   climate  change  because  of  the  huge   heightened  severity  of  storms.   and  India. natural  variations;;  the  day  and  night   temperature  may  vary  by  over  40   Therefore,  we  are  observing  exactly   what  you  would  expect  to  see  if   seasonal  and  annual  changes  that   Warming,  Carbon  and  Climate     result  in  warmer  and  colder  years.   yet,  people  prefer  to  explain  away   Jennifer  Warren:  Since  the  1970s,  how   When  people  see  half  a  degree   would  you  characterize  the  land   difference  compared  to  a  previous   temperature  rises?   year,  they  may  believe  ‘this  is  so   a  challenge  to  convince  many   small  compared  to  natural  variation,’   climate  change  skeptics.  The  fact  is   Rajan  Gupta:  The  earth  has  been   or  ‘we’ve  seen  hot  seasons  before.’   warming  steadily  since  1970.  This   They  miss  the  overall  trend  showing   temperature  rise  is  correlated  with   the  gradual  increase  observed  over   Dr.  Rajan  Gupta,  Laboratory  Fellow  of   the  burning  of  fossil  fuels  and  the   the  last  40  years.    One  has  to  look  at   the  Los  Alamos  National  Laboratory,   accumulation  of  greenhouse  gases   trends  over  many  decades  to  average   presented  his  work  on  the  energy-­water   in  the  atmosphere,  in  particular   nexus  and  resource  implications  at  DCFR   carbon  dioxide  (CO2),  having  a   these  show  warming. on  August  29,  2012.  The  program  on   lifetime  of  thousands  of  years.  The   sustainability  is  part  of  Series  “D,”  focusing   acceleration  in  the  increase  of  CO2  in   One  might  ask  what  is  expected   on  development  issues.   if  climate  change  was  happening   4925  Greenville  Ave,  Suite  1025  |  Dallas,  Texas  75206    |    214.750.1271  |
  2. 2. 2that  changes  are  accumulating  over   due  to  the  additional  greenhouse   emission  globally  so  that  in  roughly   gases.  So,  based  on  the  effects  we   30  years  you  are  down  to  essentially  to  increasing  emissions  of  greenhouse   are  already  seeing,  550  ppm  could  be   zero,  i.e.,  a  few  gigatons  a  year  gases. catastrophic.     that  nature  can  fully  recycle.  If  you   add  all  other  greenhouse  gases,  we  JW:  In  your  mind,  to  reach  a   JW:  So  stabilizing  emissions  will   are  already  above  450  ppm  CO2  stabilizing  number  like  450  ppm*   mean… equivalent  as  many  studies  including  (parts  per  million)  of  carbon  dioxide     the  latest  MIT  studies  show.    Thus,  or  CO2  in  the  atmosphere,  where   RG:  Stabilizing  emissions  is  not  at  all   reducing  emissions  of  all  greenhouse  do  we  need  to  be  in  terms  of  energy   enough  in  the  long  run.  Stabilizing   gases  to  zero  over  the  next  30  years  mix? concentrations  near  550  ppm  would   will  still  mean  that  nature  will  have  to   require  that  we  limit  emissions  to   respond  to  the  equivalent  of  550  ppm  RG:  If  you  want  to  stabilize  at  a   about  33  gigatons  of  carbon  dioxide   by  2040.  This  is  the  baseline  scenario  given  concentration  of  CO2 per  year  in  the  near  future  and  a   we  talked  about  before.  step  is  to  cut  the  amount  of  future   steady  decrease  thereafter,  whereas  emissions.  Stabilizing  at  today’s  level   the  historic  trend  is  of  emissions,  about  33  gigatons  per   growth  by  one  to  two  year,  would  still  add  about  2  to  2.5   percent  each  year,  or  ppm  of  carbon  dioxide  per  year.  CO2   doubling  in  about  50  concentrations  would  reach  between   years.  One  could  ask  500  to  550  ppm  by  2060.  If  you   where  this  growth  is  wanted  to  stabilize  the  concentration   coming  from.  The  of  carbon  dioxide  in  the  atmosphere   populations  of  most  and  not  emissions,  then  you  have   of  the  industrialized  to  cut  emissions  drastically  starting   countries  are  not  today.  We  are  already  at  395  ppm.  To   growing  and  their  stabilize  at  450,  you  basically  have   economies  are  less   focused  on  heavy  economy  over  the  next  30  years,   industries.  There  is   not  a  huge  growth  in   emissions  from  them.  thing  to  note  is  that  if  one  examines  the  effect  of  all  greenhouse  gases   in  industrialized  such  as  methane  and  nitrous  oxide,   countries  have  stabilized  relatively  then  we  are  effectively  already  above  450  ppm  today.  That  means   developed  countries  are  adding  solar   Natural  Gasimplementing  zero  emissions  starting   and  wind  energy  systems  and  are  today.   transitioning  from  coal  to  natural  gas.   JW:  What  is  your  view  about  natural   gas?Given  that  we  cannot  transform   developed  world  have  stabilized  at  the  global  economy  overnight,  the   RG:  I  think  of  natural  gas  as  more   about  20  gigatons  of  carbon  dioxide   than  a  bridge  fuel  for  two  reasons.   per  year,  but  the  developing  world,  realistically  imagine  under  the  most   First,  it  could  facilitate  a  transition   from  coal  to  natural  gas  for  power   onboard.  is  concentrations  peaking  at  about  550  ppm  of  CO2  alone  by  around   Developing  world  carbon  emissions   countries  are  already  switching.  2060.  The  tragedy  is  that  scientists  do   are  growing.  If  you  wanted  a  target   Psychologically  this  helps  people  not  exactly  know  the  full  impacts  of   of  450  ppm  of  CO2  alone,  you   think  about  transitions  and  cleaner  even  395ppm  due  to  the  roughly  30   would  have  to  shut  down  all  the  year  time  lag  in  the  response  of  the   development  in  the  industrializing   hydroelectric  generation  systems,  earth  system  to  the  radiative  forcing   world  and  start  cutting  down  
  3. 3. 3and  solar.  They  facilitate  development   of  Russia.  In  the  last  50  years,  a   shale  gas.  Now  the  pressure  is  off,  as  and  growth  because  they  provide   large  part  of  Russia’s  revenues   shale  gas  will  last  us  another  30  years  the  necessary  backup  for  the   have  come  from  oil  exports.  Their   or  so.  Our  main  import  is  oil,  which  intermittency  inherent  in  wind  and   current  policies  show  that  gas  will   we  can  decrease  to  zero  by  doubling  solar  resources.   be  their  next  big  source  of  revenues.   the  average  miles  per  gallon  of  our   cars  and  light  trucks,  something  for  It  is  very  important  to  note  that,  as   China  on  the  other  side,  both  of   which  demonstrated  technology  much  as  gas  is  cleaner,  one  must  not   which  are  hungry  for  oil  and  gas.   exists.  forget  that  transition  to  gas  does  not   Putin  is  very  aggressively  pushing  solve  the  climate  change  problem.     new  gas  pipelines  like  the  North   We  also  have  overbuilt  capacity  of   Stream  pipeline  between  Russia  and   electric  power  plants.  If  there  are   Germany  and  the  South  Stream  to   wind  or  solar  farms  being  built,  it  is  of  greenhouse  gases  may  stabilize   because  of  incentives  and  not  because   2   failed  negotiations  of  gas  export  via   of  a  pressing  need  for  energy.  The  concentrations  in  the  atmosphere   old  pipelines  through  Ukraine,  all   resulting  complacency,  because  we  would  continue  to  grow  at  today’s   have  fat  to  trim,  can  be  overcome  rate  due  to  the  increasing  energy  needs  of  the  developing  world.  Transition  to  gas  will  be  a  huge  step  forward,  but  nowhere  near  enough.Second,  gas  is  much  harder  to  transport  across  oceans  than  coal  or  oil.    However,  gas  is  easier  to  transport  if  you  can  build  pipelines.  International  pipelines  could  become  tremendous  mechanisms  for  cooperation.  Like  oil  pipelines,  all  transit  countries  between  the  suppliers  and  consumers  have  to  cooperate.  Thus  the  region  becomes  more  interdependent,  and  there  tends  to  be  less  belligerent  behavior.  You  tend  to  compromise  and  work  out  deals.  For  countries  provide  access  to  the  very  large  reserves  of  gas  in  the  Persian  Gulf   in  two  ways.    We  either  form  a  very  and  in  Russia  and  can  motivate  the   avoiding  that  crisis  of  2009.  Better   guarantees  are  being  negotiated;;   strong  national  consensus  that  we  integration  of  their  economies.  In   need  an  energy  policy  because  there  my  opinion,  gas  is  more  than  just  a   projects  are  being  managed   jointly;;  and  regular  dialogue  is   are  consequences  that  we  do  not  want  fuel.  It  can  facilitate  international   to  face  due  to  climate  change,  or  the  cooperation.   creating  opportunities  for  trade  and   cooperation.   economics  of  renewables  become  so  Geopolitics  of  De-­carbonization compelling  that  the  market  forces  the    In  my  opinion,  one  important  reason   transition.  JW why  the  U.S.  has  not  developed  a  do  the  geopolitics  change  for  the   India,  on  the  other  hand,  is  an   is  our  abundance  of  resources.    For   interesting  case  because  it  has  much  and  Russia? example,  when  our  conventional  gas   fewer  options.  India  has  small  oil   reserves  started  to  deplete  around   reserves,  importing  over  75%  of  its  RG:  It  is  an  opportunity  for  improving   2003,  we  were  concerned  for  about   oil,  and  a  supply  of  coal  that  will  relations.  Let  us  take  the  example   last  for  about  30  to  40  years  with  
  4. 4. 4 “The  environmental  impact  of  1.2  billion  people  [in  India]  consuming  fossil  fuels  These  reserves  are  small  compared   at  even  one-­seventh  of  the  U.S.  level  will  be  like  adding  another  China  of  energy  to  its  needs;;  so  India  will  have   demand.”to  import  most  of  its  fossil  fuels.  Therefore,  one  would  imagine  that   RG:  In  some  ways,  water  is  more  a  transition  to  solar,  wind,  and  other   The  countries  there  are  switching  to   critical  than  energy  because  food  renewables.  But  India  does  not  have   natural  gas  for  power  generation  and   supplies  are  predicated  on  water.  In  enough  onshore  wind  resources  and   are  conserving  oil  for  exports.    Their   a  country  like  India,  water  supply  is  has  yet  to  start  offshore  development.   dominated  by  the  monsoons.  Timely  The  best  solar  installation  is  in  the   the  largest  in  the  world,  but  they  can   predictable  monsoons  are  necessary  desert  areas  of  Rajasthan  where  land   for  food  security.  The  monsoon  is  is  cheap.  Transmitting  this  power   world  keeps  buying  oil  and  gas  from   vulnerable  to  climate  change.  If  the  throughout  the  country  using  an  aged,   them. monsoon  becomes  unpredictable  obsolete  grid  is  not  going  to  be  easy.   and  the  frequency  of  severe  storms   JW:    This  is  a  different  future  than   increases,  then  India  could  face  issues  Installation  of  distributed  generation   many  have  been  predicting  for  India.  has  been  slow  due  to  cost.  India  will   with  food  supply,  especially  since  its   Optimism  and  hype  has  existed   population  is  still  growing  at  about  continue  to  rely  on  fossil  fuels.  The   for  a  while.  These  are  more  of  the  environmental  impact  of  1.2  billion   1.6  percent  per  year. constraints  and  challenges  considered  people  consuming  fossil  fuels  at  even     Since  its  independence  in  1947,  like  adding  another  China  of  energy   RG in  rainfall  through  irrigation.  demand. India’s  infrastructure  constraints.   However,  irrigation  depends  on   Optimism  stems  from  India’s   either  groundwater  or  snowcaps  in  To  import  fossil  fuels,  India  has   abundance  of  people  with  great  ideas  to  rely  on  maritime  trade  since  its   the  Himalayas.  The  groundwater   and  vast  numbers  of  unbelievable   situation  is  already  alarming  in  India.  land  routes  are  blocked  due  to  poor   entrepreneurs.  But  the  political  and  relations  with  its  neighbors.  To  the   The  water  table  is  declining  at  a  fast   bureaucratic  system  is  broken.  It  is   rate.  There  are  already  large  areas  west,  there  is  Pakistan  and  to  the  east,   very  corrupt.  In  a  highly  competitive   where  the  water  table  is  300  to  400   market,  this  adds  costs,  and  in  many  for  trade  in  manufactured  goods  are   cases  these  costs  have  become  blocked  by  Bangladesh  and  Burma.   table  declines,  more  electric  energy  In  the  north,  there  are  the  Himalayas  followed  by  Tibet/China.  So,  India  is   software  and  pharmaceuticals,  which  pretty  much  geographically  isolated.   point,  accessible  ones  will  run  dry.  Meeting  its  energy  needs  is  going  to   Furthermore,  if  there  is  too  much   China  wants  to  dominate.  India  has   reliance  on  irrigation,  then  one  faces  be  extremely  challenging.  Imports   few  areas  of  relative  advantage  and  will  be  constrained  by  balance  of   soil  salinity.  In  the  most  productive  trade  issues  while  poor  infrastructure   areas  of  India  –  Punjab  and  Haryana   its  politics,  build  the  infrastructure  is  limiting  growth  in  the  utilization  of   and  create  other  areas  of  competitive  indigenous  resources.  For  example,   techniques  such  as  drip  irrigation  and   edge.   water  on  demand  are  not  catching  on  the  delivery  of  coal  from  indigenous  mines  is  falling  short  because  there   fast  enough  due  to  a  lack  of  capital  is  not  enough  railway  capacity  to   and  slow  diffusion  of  knowledge.move  it.  India’s  ability  to  import  gas   Water  Security The  vast  storehouse  of  water  is  constrained  by  both  its  ability  to   eventually  used  in  India  is  in  the   JW:  Water  is  increasingly  becoming   Himalayan  glaciers,  which    depend  natural  gas  (LNG)  terminals  and   on  the  climate.  The  general  pattern  tankers.  Development  is  going  to  be   that  we  have  seen  over  the  last  controlled  by  India’s  ability  to  create   developed  like  China.  Could  you  see   the  case  of  water  resources  becoming   century  is  diminishing  snow  cover  relationships  and  trade  so  that  it  can  afford  to  import  what  it  needs. a  more  critical  issue  than  energy?
  5. 5. 5dry  seasons  decreases  and  impacts   imperceptibly  and  yet  cumulatively,   generation  and  the  needs  of  future  on  the  food  supply  and  people’s   pressures  are  building  up  and   ones.  welfare  increase.  Thus  India  is  very   depletion  of  resources  is  occurring.   What  will  a  person  accept  as  a  vulnerable  to  climate  change. reasonable  level  of  consumption,   “I  give  up.”  Scientists  call  this  a  Similarly,  the  northern  part  of  China,   and  who  sets  that  lifestyle?  Is   “runaway  solution,”  where  nature  especially  along  the  Yellow  River,   it  movie  stars?  Is  it  a  farmer?   does  not  have  the  capability  to  is  facing  extreme  water  shortages.   regenerate;;  the  cost  of  regeneration   Managing  expectations  and  setting   via  human  intervention  becomes  make  it  to  the  sea,  and  groundwater   priorities  without  feeling  that  one   less  and  less  effective  because  of  the  withdrawal  in  that  whole  area  is  faster   is  compromising  on  having  a  good   difference  between  what  is  needed  than  recharge. life  is  one  of  the  challenges  that  the   and  what  can  be  done  grows  rapidly.   global  society  faces.  Unfortunately,   We  have  seen  many  examples  of  Worldwide,  there  are  growing  issues   today  the  expectations  are  high   complete  death  of  ecosystems.  The  of  overdrawing  groundwater  and   worldwide,  and  they  are  driven  by   consumption.  Is  it  really  so  basic  that   Kazakhstan  and  Uzbekistan)  and  produces  and  uses  or  dumps  on  the   we  are  willing  to  compromise  even  ground—be  it  waste,  fertilizers,   the  future  of  our  children?   completely  gone  due  to  overuse  and  pesticides,  herbicides,  chemicals,   diversion  of  water  for  irrigation.  garbage,  etc.  —ends  up  in  our  water   The  numbers  of  dead  zones  in  lakes,   Nuclear  Energy  and  Waste JW to  make  nuclear  power  more  safe,   especially  with  respect  to  waste? RG:  Like  most  of  the  discussion   with  energy,  the  growth  of  nuclear   power  is  partly  a  social  and  political   problem  and  partly  a  technological   one.  Certainly  economics  and  issues   of  safety  are  involved.  The  safety   Generation  III  and  III+  reactors  is   outstanding.  The  problem  in  the  U.S.   The  cost  has  become  very  high   rivers,  and  along  the  coasts  in  the   because  of  the  wasteful  processes   Mediterranean  are  growing,  for  water,  it  quickly  becomes  mobile   and  paper  work  that  has  to  be  done   example.  and  ends  up  in  rivers,  lakes  and   in  response  to  changing  regulations,  oceans  or  it  contaminates  the  ground   We  understand  these  impacts   resulting  in  a  long  build  time.  This  and  groundwater.    The  investment   and  can  predict  these  changes.  required  to  clean  up  rivers  and   Unfortunately,  we  cannot  stop   risk,  i.e.,  will  the  plant  be  able  to   them.  Globally  we  do  not  have  the  groundwater.  We  have  to  make  sure   courage,  foresight  and  cooperation   generation  sources  when  it  becomes  that  pollution  and  overdrawing  does   to  take  appropriate  actions.  It  means   operational  seven  to  ten  years  later?   changes  in  lifestyles,  many  of  which   Whereas  in  China,  India  or  even   are  healthier  and  more  economical.   South  Korea,  which  are  hungry  for  Nature  has  ways  of  regenerating   energy,  the  process  is  much  more  itself,  but  we  have  pushed  it  to   streamlined.  Today,  France,  Russia,   between  consumption  by  the  current  the  extreme.  Slowly  and  steadily,  
  6. 6. 6China,  India  and  South  Korea  are   effective,  safe  and  requires  little  land.     add  the  requirement  of  safety  against  driving  the  nuclear  industry.  Thus,  social  and  political  issues  and  how   The  decision  to  reprocess  or  not   building  the  plant  30  or  more  meters   depends  on  the  cost,  security  of   above  sea  level,  and  one  can  calculate  cost  in  the  U.S.  There  is  no  question   uranium  supply,  safety  and  security.   the  extra  cost  of  pumping  seawater  in  my  mind  that  all  countries  with   to  the  safer  location  for  cooling.  nuclear  power  should  invest  in  R&D   Next  add  the  requirement  of  safe  to  continuously  improve  safety  and   technological  answer  and  the  societal   against  a  terrorist  attack  or  a  plane   demands  and  acceptable  risk  vary.   calculate  the  extra  cost.  Now  add  the  spent  fuel.  I  hope  we  maintain  our   fear  of  accidents  make  people  very   requirement  of  being  safe  against  a  leadership.     nervous;;  they  forget  what  the  tiny  risk  The  second  issue  of  waste,  more  appropriately  called  “spent  fuel,”  is  a  very  interesting  question.  There  is  serious  debate  going  on  whether  to  reprocess  spent  fuel  or  not.  Reprocessing  means  we  separate  the  different  components.  The  hottest  to  decay  before  reprocessing.  The  and  plutonium,  are  separated  and  reassembled  as  fuel.  The  rest,  mostly  decay  products  that  are  waste,  needs  to  be  sequestered  safely  for  thousands  reduces  the  amount  to  be  sequestered  and  its  radioactivity,  which  is   under  exceptional  circumstances  is   the  plant’s  lifetime  with  the  epicenter  certainly  an  advantage.  The  downside   within  twenty  miles  of  the  plant.    This  is  that  any  country  able  to  reprocess   restricts  the  land  area  of  the  world  is  a  de  facto  nuclear  weapons   nuclear  accident  versus  likely   that  constitutes  suitable  sites,  but  still  state,  with  the  associated  risk  of   catastrophic  climate  change.   leaves  enough  land  for  global  needs.    proliferation  and  nuclear  terrorism.    If  we  do  not  reprocess,  then  we  are   The  answer  becomes  more  stark  when  throwing  away  roughly  96%  of  the   we  ask  a  different  set  of  questions.  uranium  that  remains  intact.    There   Suppose,  today,  we  decided  to  replace   power  to  mitigate  climate  change,  are  also  a  lot  more  hot  radioactive   then  we  can  design  a  credible  elements  to  store,  needing  much   nuclear  ones.  We  were  also  asked   solution.  If  there  is  no  clear  goal  more  costly  and  larger  repositories.   to  create  a  system  that  was  safe  and   and  the  public  demands  zero  risk,   secure  to,  say,  less  than  one  accident   then  each  country  will  be  driven  needs  to  be  mined.  Unfortunately,   of  the  Three  Mile  Island  level  (no   by  politics,  social  perceptions  and  the  debate  continues  because  there   economics,  and  then  mitigating   years  or  face  a  temperature  rise  of   climate  change  will  be  left  on  the  has  an  adequate  supply  of  uranium.   would  be  that  the  Generation  III+   generation  capacity  and  abundant   reactors  meet  that  criterion.  Now  we   coal.  For  the  time  being,  gas  is   abundant.  There  is  no  pressure  to  “Nature  has  ways  of  regenerating  itself,  but  we  have  pushed  it  to  the  extreme.   to  nuclear  capacity  and  spent  fuel  Slowly  and  steadily,  imperceptibly  and  yet  cumulatively,  pressures  are  building  up   management.  and  depletion  of  resources  is  occurring.”  
  7. 7. 7 “Unfortunately,  in  spite  of  the  rhetoric,  no  politician  wants  to  address  the  climate   challenge  by  growing  nuclear  power  if  they  can  deliver  energy  security  using   current  nuclear  capacity  by  2060,   fossil  fuels.    It  has  been  politically  prudent  to  leave  climate  mitigation  to  the  next   then  we  can  ask  what  a  sustainable   system  is.  Is  it  a  system  with   generation  with  the  hope  that  nature  will  be  benign.” reprocessing  or  is  it  a  system  without   JW:  Nuclear  power  uses  a  good  bit  of   materials  or  materials  that  are  not  as   reprocessing?  What  are  the  acceptable   risks,  and  how  can  we  minimize   water… dependent  on  critical  resources— them  to  acceptable  levels?  I  believe   resources  that  are  less  abundant,  more   RG:  Overall,  nuclear  plants  use  about   is  needed  to  break  the  logjam.   very  toxic.   Unfortunately,  in  spite  of  the  rhetoric,   purposes  because  they  circulate   Why  does  having  a  single   no  politician  wants  to  address  the   water  to  remove  similar  amounts  of   manufacturing  center  matter?  When   climate  challenge  by  growing  nuclear   heat.  In  these  thermal  power  plants,   you  have  monopolies,  abuse  of  power   power  if  they  can  deliver  energy   approximately  60  to  70  percent  of   leads  to  undesirable  consequences.   security  using  fossil  fuels.    It  has  been   the  heat  produced  has  to  be  discarded   Issues  we  need  to  address  are  checks   politically  prudent  to  leave  climate   unless  you  use  it  for  other  industrial   and  balances,  incentives  to  innovate   mitigation  to  the  next  generation  with   purposes.  So,  in  regards  to  water   and  fair  practices.  Most  democracies   the  hope  that  nature  will  be  benign. have  a  system  of  checks  and  balances   Finally,  a  few  words  on  the  risks   plants  have  a  similar  environmental   to  deter  monopolies  that  distort   of  nuclear  proliferation  that  is   footprint.  Since  the  transport  of   extremely  central  to  U.S.  thinking.   nuclear  fuel  over  long  distances   sponsored  manufacturing  center  in   If  you  look  at  the  21  countries  that   the  world  dominating,  like  China,  the   nuclear  plants  can  be  sited  to  use   entire  market  can  be  distorted.   plants  (representing  over  95  percent   China’s  dominance  is  creating  trade   plants,  the  transport  of  coal  adds   imbalances  across  the  globe.  To   these  countries  already  have  nuclear   sustain  imports,  you  must  export   power  plants  and  another  three  are   and  environmental  impacts,  so  these   facilities  are  often  sited  near  coal   other  goods  worth  the  same  amount.   negotiating  to  have  them.  These   countries  have  the  experience  and   mines  and  use  freshwater  resources.   with  respect  to  China  because  their   capacity  for  dealing  with  the  issues   imports  exceed  their  exports.  Thus,   of  spent  fuel,  safety,  and  security.  If   not  only  can  a  monopoly  distort  the   a  developed  country  that  already  has   China  and  Global  Resources nuclear  power  cannot  double  or  triple   becomes  dependent  on  one  country.     JW:  How  does  China  as  the  sole   This  creates  leverages  that  can  be   manufacturing  superpower  relate  to   used  unfairly. and  safeguards,  then  it  is  highly   global  resource  challenges? unlikely  that  we  will  have  a  nuclear   Next,  for  maintaining  a  healthy  trade   RG:  The  global  resource  challenge   renaissance  and  be  able  to  stabilize   balance,  a  country  has  to  ensure  that   even  emissions  of  greenhouse  gases   does  not  depend  on  which  country   it  manufactures  what  others  want  and   is  the  producer,  assuming  that   also  creates  enough  jobs.  One  can   market  forces  drive  all  producers   on  the  amount  of  goods  required   globally,  irrespective  of  whether  Increasing  populations,  industrial   whose  exports  compensated  for   they  are  produced  in  China,  the  U.S.,  development  and  climate  change  in   all  the  imports,  would  that  system   or  Brazil.  What  matters  is  which  South  Asia,  the  Middle  East  and  North   alleviate  the  need  to  manufacture   effective  and  innovative.    The  goals   nails,  hand  tools,  clothes,  cars,  regions  to  deal  with  water  problems.   are  to  improve  the  technology  and   durables  and  other  necessary  items?   processes  and  substitute  as  many  of   the  natural  resources  by  synthetic  
  8. 8. 8enough  people?  Is  depending  on   “manufacturing  in  other  countries  the   obvious  threats  such  as  an  overt  war  and  those  that  have  cascading  effects  lead-­desired  and  sustainable  progression   ing  to  poverty  and  denied  opportunities.”Historically,  after  agriculture,   not  convinced  that  we  have  found  manufacturing  provided  mass   a  sustainable  replacement  –  our   Or,  more  worryingly,  will  a  large  employment  with  a  scalable  and   growing  debt  is  an  indicator  that   number  of  people  stay  poor  and  simple  ladder  of  upward  mobility.   we  have  not.    Until  we  do,  we  need   starve?  You  could  work  with  your  hands   to  maintain  a  strong  manufacturing   sector.  socially  desired  items.  On  the  other   where  lack  of  water,  dwindling   Water  wars? resources  and  growing  populations  The  Global  Water  Security  Report  warns  that   are  the  root  causes  of  the  ongoing   JW:  You  seem  to  be   tragedy  and  violence.    problems  such  as  population  growth,  climate   concerned  by  water  war  change,  and  water  management  that  strains  water   possibilities  but  some   Throughout  the  world,  more  people  supplies  could  destabilize  regions  around  the  world   water  experts  say  the   desire  more  adequate  and  higher  in  the  future.   threat  is  overblown. quality  water,  energy,  and  food.   Nature  can  sustain  this  up  to  a  (Source:  Diane  Rehm  Show,  April  3,  2012  about   RG:  Threat   certain  point,  and  then  the  system  “Global  Water  Security,”  Intelligence  Community   breaks  unless  new  technology  comes  Assessment,  February  2,  2012.) eye  of  the  beholder.   to  the  rescue.  Will  it  and  at  what   There  are  two  kinds   lifecycle  cost?  What  happens  when   of  threats:  obvious   threats  such  as  an  overt   and  says,  “We  are  going  to  use  our  hand,  the  threshold  of  knowledge   war  and  those  that  have  cascading   rightful  share  of  water?”  How  does   effects  leading  to  poverty  and  denied  computer  codes  or  develop  software   opportunities.  One  or  design  new  computers  or  become   example  of  a  hidden  a  doctor  is  very  high.  The  majority   “water  war”  is  the  Nile  of  society  does  not  graduate  from   river  basin.  We  have  school  with  those  skills.  They,  and   not  had  a  war  between  those  that  drop  out  of  school,  are   because  historically  Unless  society  provides  adequate   the  water  rights,  and  compensation  for  jobs  they  can  do  to  take  care  of  their  families  and  avoid   poor.  This  is  not  a  poverty,  which  in  time  will  lead  to   sustainable  solution  generational  poverty,  we  will  face  a   as  the  populations  growing  disenfranchised  population.   of  both  countries  are  We  have  to  ensure  that  the  majority   growing  as  well  as  their  of  our  children  get  a  very  good   expectations.  In  the   future,  it  is  improbable  the  knowledge  society.  We  must  also   and  Sudan  will  not   use  more  of  the  Nile  for  the  rest  of  the  population  so  that  they  avoid  poverty,  can  educate  their   do  since  it  is  highly  children,  and  through  hard  work   dependent  on  the  move  up  the  ladder.    Manufacturing   Nile?  Will  it  agree  to  is  one  solution  that  scales.  I  am   a  different  distribution  
  9. 9. 9or  military  strength?  Or  will  water  become  a  commodity  like  oil  and  gas  to  be  owned  and  traded  by  those  countries  with  the  best  land  rainfall?  So,  while  many  may  consider  the  threat  of  war  overblown,  famines,  hunger  and  malnutrition  persist.  Roughly  forty  percent  of  the  planet  is  undernourished,  while  about  forty  percent  of  children  in  the  U.S.  are  obese.  Something  is  not  working.  Should  inequitable  distribution  of  Should  ensuing  forms  of  human  misery  and  deprivation  count  as  much  as  an  overt  war  and  deserve  similar  attention  and  resources?    I  hope  the  readers  will  provide  answers  to  many  of  these  questions.   The  Dallas  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations  takes  no  institutional  positions  on  policy  issues.  The  views   expressed  and  facts  presented  in  DCFR  publications  are  the  responsibility  of  the  author  or  authors.  A  special   GeoEdge thanks  to  Danielle  Dudding  and  Maya  Lechowick  for  their  assistance  in  researching  water  security  for  this   publication  and  a  related  presentation  on  DCFR’s  slideshare  page. BLOG For  additional  information  about  DCFR,  please  visit  our  website   Exploring  the  frontlines  of   at of  global  affairs  and  a  better  understanding  of  the  people  and  events  impacting  impor tant  policy  choices  of  the  future.For  more  information  contact:Dallas  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations4925  Greenville  Ave,  Suite  1025 Dallas,  Texas 214.750.1271