A strange and old-fashioned way to start a hip, cutting edge conference
I’m in a session about “Energy, Climate Change & Resource Nationalism” with General Bruce Wright, commander of U.S. Air Force in Japan, and Dr. Liam Fox, Shadow Secretary of State of Defence and Member of Parliament in the UK.
These are old-school guys, fairly conservative, and they’re painting a grim picture. China is ravenous, buying up energy resources in a geostrategic way, growing its military capability. Russia is practically owned and operated by Gazprom and very much wants to restore the prestige of the USSR. The oil problem will be closely followed by a natural gas problem. Europe will soon be perilously dependent on Russia for gas.
I’m trying to get in a question about liquid coal, but nobody’s noticing me waving my hand over here.
They’re asked directly about how to create a new global security environment. Both of them go straight to the challenges that make that essentially impossible — open-source weaponry, North Korea, the right of states to develop civilian nuclear power, etc.
Now they’re asked about nuclear power: Fox talks about the arrangement whereby certain privileged states control nuclear fuel and waste, and dole them out to other states, ensuring that nobody shifts to weaponry. This plan has always struck me as unworkable. What state would submit to it?
Hm. Somewhat unsatisfying. The overwhelming focus was on security, with energy security as part of that. Climate change was mentioned, but mainly in the context of new security threats it would create — refugees, etc. Neither guy discussed the contribution of the security apparatus to climate change, or how it could be reduced. Both seemed to view global warming as an inevitable change, not a catastrophe that could be avoided.