Friday, March 7, 2008

Negligable Natural Resources

An oil tanker, missing since Sunday, was found capsized in Vietnam yesterday. According to a story in the International Herald Tribune, 14 sailors are missing and presumed dead, but they say they think they can contain the cargo; some fuel has already leaked, though.

But I am still intrigued by the CIA website.

I searched the site with the simple key word "oil" and I came up with 482 documents. Lists -- first arranged by category: pipelines, economy, exports, industries, natural resources, current environmental issues. Then countries are listed individually.

These three countries are one on top of the other:

Natural Resources:

United Arab Emirates
petroleum, natural gas

United Kingdom
coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land

United States of America
coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber

A snipit from each lengthy economy entry:

Despite largely successful efforts at economic diversification, nearly 40% of GDP is still directly based on oil and gas output.

The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation.

Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.

Full entry of each for Environmental Issues:

lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills

continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move toward a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010); by 2005 the government reduced the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and recycled or composted at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015

air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification

I used to go to the British Virgin Islands every year with my mom.

Natural Resources:

The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, generating an estimated 45% of the national income.

Environmental Issues:
limited natural fresh water resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of the islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)

Forget Iceland.
I'm going back to Tortola

.British Virgin Islands Photographs

I was watching a video clip of Warren Buffet talking on an economy show posted on The Oil Drum this week. He basically said we have to change what we are doing. We have wind farms, but they are not the answer. He said something like, we've basically been sticking straws into the earth for a really long time -- more people, more demand, and we are running out. We have to change what we are doing.

I wonder if we will tell our children about the places we went to as some exotic luxury of the past... I wonder if they will ever go to the Island where I searched for shells for hours -- have a pina colada and conch fritters at the outdoor bar and walk through mangled breadfruits after a sudden downpour.

I wonder what this means for all the kids in the inner cities here who already don't see trees.

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