"Klare's superb book explains, in haunting detail, the trends that will lead us into a series of dangerous traps unless we muster the will to transform the way we use energy."--Bill McKibben
Oil recently hit $140 a barrel, and it is still climbing. Unlike the oil shocks of the 1970s, this dizzying leap is not the product of an OPEC embargo or a sudden flare-up in the Middle East. Rather, it is a harbinger of a permanent new structure of world power, one in which market forces and military strength matter far less than the scarcity of vital natural resources.
Now in paperback, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet surveys the energy-driven dynamic that is reconfiguring the international landscape: Russia, the battered Cold War loser, is now the arrogant broker of Eurasian energy, and the United States, once the world's superpower, must now compete with the emerging "Chindia" juggernaut for finite and diminishing resources. Forecasting a future of surprising new alliances and explosive danger, Michael T. Klare, the preeminent expert on resource geopolitics, argues that the only route to survival in our radically altered world lies through international cooperation.
Looking at the "new international energy order," author and journalist Klare (Resource Wars) finds America's "sole superpower" status falling to the increasing influence of "petro-superpowers" like Russia and "Chindia." Klare identifies and analyzes the major players as well as the playing field, positing armed conflict and environmental disaster in the balance. Currently in the lead is emerging energy superpower Russia, which has gained "immense geopolitical influence" selling oil and natural gas to Europe and Asia; the rapidly-developing economies of China and India follow. Klare also warns of the danger of a new cold-war environment that would suck up resources that should go toward "environmentally sensitive energy alternatives." To avert catastrophe, he urges a U.S. diplomatic initiative to build collaboration with China (rapidly moving to second place in carbon emissions) to develop alternative energy resources, such as biodiesel fuels; ultra-light, ultra-efficient vehicles; and an innovative plan to use new coal plants, currently in-development, to strip carbon waste which can then be buried underground. Well-researched and incisive throughout, Klare provides a comprehensive but approachable overview of a complex problem, and offers promising policy alternatives to disaster.
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March 30, 2009
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