Monday, September 22, 2008

More on mining

I don't exclusively trawl the Internet for free content to act smart about. Occasionally I have to take the train and buy a paper copy of something to entertain me. Exactly the case of New Scientist's August 16 2008 issue which had an interesting cover story on climate change (including a denial forecast!). Page 16 is a "Comment and analysis" article by William Laurance: "The real cost of minerals" taking a look at a current mining boom.

Of course, I have been meaning to quote it a bit here. Now that I finally started punching my keyboard, the first thing I see is someone else did already. Of course. Check out / High mineral prices drive rainforest destruction by Rhett A. Butler and the selection of back posts they link to below the main text. Also, someone put the actual article online - don't know if it's alright copyright wise but it's there (PDF).

The short, short version: Mineral prices are up, incentive to mine follow. 3rd world countries struggle to (or give up) handle the pollution, illegal miners, conflicts with indigenous people etc. etc.

As miners move into remote areas, lawlessness, prostitution and armed clashes often follow

Mining is also something Jared Diamond writes about in his latest master piece Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail Or Succeed, a book everyone not wanting to help destroy our habitable biosphere should consider reading. It's chapter 15: Big businesses and the environment: Different conditions, different outcomes (pages 452-468 in my edition).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Georgia about oil too

Not only about oil, of course. (To the US Republican John McCain it's about "some of the oldest churches in Europe" too - sic!) But check out this Polish article: The true price of war in Georgia

The conflict in Georgia has resulted in a serious undermining of the supply route for energy resources from the Caspian basin. [...] Governments of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan recently signed agreements with Gazprom on intermediation in sale of natural gas to external markets. On the other side of the Caspian Sea, the very same Gazprom is holding negotiations with Azerbaijan. The threat of a lack of supplies is real enough for Azeri Socar to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility outside of Tbilisi, which had been planned for a year.

With regards to oil, the Kazakh company KazMunajGaz is giving up on its plans to build a new refinery in its oil terminal in Batumi. [...] Bombs also fell mere metres away from the BTC oil pipeline. The Russians missed, but the threat was a clear one.

The article also discusses Georgian and Russian national economics right now.

A glance at the map will illustrate the country's strategic importance...

Vis stort kort

...but obviously the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline [Wikipedia] is what tips the scales in economic favor of military intervention.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spy Agencies to Warn New President of Warming’s Dangers

Population explosions in poor regions were also labeled a top threat recently by [the CIA]. One way to avoid the economic dangers in places where population is aging and shrinking is to foster immigration. Here, Mr. Fingar sees European countries and Japan as fighting the very influx of people that could help avert turmoil.

I can attest to my country (Denmark) being "on a good day, highly chauvinistic" as the CIA guy puts it.

New York Times' whole Dot Earth thing is a recommended RSS feed for your reader.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Poison Fire: Oil in Nigeria

"Since oil was discovered in the Delta people have known no peace."
- Israel Aloja, Environmental Rights Action

Oil, which could potentially have allowed Nigeria to be one of the wealthiest countries in Africa has instead led it to become one of the poorest.

A series of repressive and corrupt governments in Nigeria have been supported and maintained by western governments and oil corporations, keen on benefitting from the fossil fuels that can be exploited.


According to Human Rights Watch, “multinational oil companies are complicit in abuses committed by the Nigerian military and police.”

- background article Nigeria and Oil at

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