This gallery contains 1 photo.
This essay puts forward the argument that without several revolutionary ‘black swan’ innovations, technological advances will need to be supported by strategic planning and a restructured energy market to tackle climate change. The current market ‘lock in’ of high-carbon energies and high cost of low-carbon technologies mean that the potential for new technologies to gain widespread adoption are highly restricted.
by Jack Hamilton, 24th March, 2012
‘Environmentalists are fiddling while Rome burns’. This is the claim of Vinod Khosla, the founder of Khosla Ventures, a venture-capital firm that is currently investing over $1 billion into low-carbon technologies in the hope that a ‘black swan’ innovation will be a key to tackling climate change. In Khosla’s estimations the green technologies of electric cars, wind turbines and smart grids will not be enough and rather there needs to be a ‘1000%’ change if the whole world is to enjoy the energy-rich lifestyle of the Western world. Until the green technologies are available at a price which is affordable in the developing world, ‘everything is a toy’[i]. Others maintain that existing technology will be sufficient if market factors facilitate its widespread adoption. Joseph Romm, the editor of Climate Progress, argues that the way to tackle climate change is through the ‘accelerated deployment of existing technologies’ in order to move down the cost curve more rapidly than a breakthrough[ii]. These two opposing views set up two fundamental questions: are advances in technology alone able to tackle climate change and if this technology exists why has it not been adopted?
This gallery contains 3 photos.
In this article, the author assesses the success rate of how oil-rich countries in the Arabian peninsula and beyond have tackled the challenge of increased oil revenues and how they have handled their newly established wealth. For many, oil has been a curse in disguise, with mismanagement of oil revenues, unequal distribution of wealth and the Machiavellian power of the rentier state – which in the case of Libya proved to be fatal.
By Matthias Pauwels, 26 Oct, 2011
Roughly a century ago, nobody would have imagined that a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds would become the most contested, sought-after commodity in the world. Oil-rich countries in the Middle East have been the scene of epic battlegrounds to gain control over the black gold. As a crafty tool to conduct psychological warfare, petrodiplomacy has become an important diplomatic weapon to the Arab nations against the West and, in particular, Israel. When crude oil found its way to the international market during World War II, the world became increasingly dependent on Arab oil. For over half a century, the oil industry of the world outside North America and the Soviet Union had been dominated by seven great international oil companies, exercising control over output and off-take prices. However, the tide was turning. By the 1960s-1970s control over Middle Eastern oil was rapidly passing into the hands of governments in the area and out of the hands of the heretofore dominant Western companies. International oil companies, once the beneficiaries of lucrative concessions and tax arrangements, slowly lost the control they traditionally exercised over Middle East oil production and pricing and had to accept policies determined unilaterally by the producing nations.