Post Carbon Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg's latest article on energy and geopolitcs was published at AlJazeera as 'Co-operation in a world of scarce resources'.
From the article:
America's best shot at expanding its oil interests is in places such as the deep oceans and the Arctic. However, both military manoeuvring and engineering-mining efforts will see diminishing returns - as costs rise and payoffs diminish.
Climate change is likely to exacerbate geopolitical rivalry with China, although it is important to recognise that climate risks will not be evenly apportioned. Unstable states will become more unstable, poor nations poorer. Many of the areas of greatest geopolitical risk are also most at risk for impacts from climate change. Equatorial regions are most likely to suffer from extreme drought and occasional catastrophic flooding, while some northern temperate regions may see some transitory benefit from warming - though unpredictable weather will plague nearly every region. With the melting of Arctic ice, new mineral and energy resources in the northernmost portions of the planet will become accessible, as will new trade routes; this may lead to a "Cold Rush" of economic and military exploitation and open a new theatre for international conflict.
Which raises the question: Can such consequences be averted, and how? The answer may hinge on whether, and in what ways, humanity chooses to compete or cooperate in response.
A version of this article was first published on Solutions: for a sustainable and desirable future