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Lecture

Geography Lecture #6 - November 12 - 19 2013.docx

7 Pages
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Department
Geography
Course Code
Geography 1400F/G
Professor
Anthony Weis

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-why are there seasons? When leaves fall in autumn, they store carbon and in the winter they decompose and release a lot of carbon, and in the spring leaves grow like crazy and release a ton of oxygen (also the land mass in northern hemisphere is huge – thus the dips mean spring and rise is winter) -a big difference now (in regards to carbon in the atmosphere) is that there are gigatons of ancient carbon that is being burned annually (it was stored in the lithosphere for so long and this biomass is then released when burned) -period of rising CO2 concentrations - if we look before human beings were present there are fluctuations in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. There is no dispute that this current rise is being cause by humans (fossil energy is biggest source of destabilization) -how else do scientists know that CO2 levels are high because of humans? The carbon in atmosphere has a distinct chemical signature of fossilized carbon when it’s burned (scientists can measure the contribution of burned fossil fuels changing the atmospheric chemistry). Methane and nitrous oxide (two of GHG) have erupted in the last two hundred years. These are more potent GHG since they have higher heat tracking capacity (that’s why they are measured in PPB, since they are more potent) -methane – non-linear changes (so much methane in permafrost – Methane Bomb is the thawing of the permafrost) -when modellers are trying to make sense of this system – they add so many factors (changing atmosphere chemistry, ocean currents, changes in solar energy, Malankovich theories, changes in biological land cover) – these are all changing dynamics. Its complex because there are so many unknowable’s (will GHG stabilize or continue to rise, will people be able to reduce GHG annually) -why is there more confidence in these models? Climate scientists have been using these models for a long time, they understand basic physics of climate change, and increasingly they have bigger data sources, they have refined climate models (by comparing past climate and future climate they have tested against and refine models) -IPCC has become an enormous influence in shaping the world’s understanding climate change. They don’t do their own research. They serve the state of climate science, they review all the literature that is available and summarizes this information (academic and peer reviewed articles) -Tim Flannery – leading paleoenvironmentalist – in the last decade or so he’s been trying to communicate climate change to the public and he wrote the book “The Weather Makers”. What he says about IPCC it is a very conservation body – it is always on the side of understatement. The government signs off on the articles the IPCC publishes. A lot of things is toned down he says (by US, Saudi Arabia etc.). he says even with this caution of the IPCC, there is still publishes every 6 years that are proving climate change th -5 IPCC assessment will be released this year. This one drew a lot more assessment and coverage compared to the 2007 report. Reached more media. They concluded warming is unequivocal (undisputed). They have 95% certainty people are the cause of climate change - ‘SAFE’ TARGET: 2C (above pre-Industrial Rev.) -how do we know 2C is safe? We don’t know, some says its safe others say it isn’t. IPCC accepts this number. And 350PPM is the safe target -we are almost a degree higher than pre industrial averages (pre-industrial PPM was at 280s) -how to get back to 350 – carbon emissions need to be decreased dramatically. -IPCC 2007 report – if we look at all their models and imperial evidence (glaciers, sea ice, Andes) all these things are happening at high end of the estimations. The year 2007 artic sea ice has a gigantic fall. They think artic could be ice free within the century -September sea ice – time of maximal melt (peak of melting) th -2012 sea ice was 1/5 lower than any other extent recorded. Siberias coast line was ice free -each day Humble supplies enough energy to melt 7 tons of glacier -most of past 50 years, US has consumed a quarter of all oil produced (now it’s at 20-22%) -Biggest source of energy data (International Energy Agency, based in Paris, and estimates reserves and usage of oil) – there estimates in 2009 is so off since the discovery of shale -Conventional reserves (middle east) – conventional=easy to extract -BP assessment says the conventional reserves – 2/3 are in the middle east (also Russia has tons of reserves) -past half century is in the Middle East region -energy ellipse – the gulf states of middle east and into Russia (disproportion amount of conventional oil supplies) -Persian gulf in Caspian region – 80% of worlds conventional reserves and 40% gas -oil companies (and companies that relate to oil) are the most profitable and largest in the world -fortune rates them as the most profitable based on revenue - James Woolsey – former director of CIA -Rockefeller (super wealth in US, from oil) and his children (big entrepreneurs, founded standard oil, aggressive in swallowing up competitors), founded standard oil. Ruthless business th practices. Built massive empire and founded Standard Oil. Late 19 century, he was a big rubber baron (he was a king in this era)…he built US oil industry -Europe there is a competition emerging (a lot of coal and little gas, minus Russia). It was who would access wealth in Middle East. Shell Trading Company has roots in oil. Were initially focused in fossil energy, but it moved to this industry once they discovered its wealth. Also Royal Dutch is a big player -4/5 of world’s energy uses fossil energy – most of the oil reserves are in a small part of the world where the consumers aren’t -Royal Dutch has east indies -Shale is changing this picture though (who the energy producers are) -this year - first time in 18 years that the US oil output beats oil imports (in the past output has been on the decline, especially going back into the 1970’s) -lots of fracking is causing that (huge labour force and a lot of fracking in North Dakota) – least populous states in America -Fracking can now be seen from space – because of the gas flaring -biggest producers of oil – Royal Dutch Shell and Suncor -Rockefeller big oil baron from late 19 century to 20 century – he had a huge monopoly of Standard Oil (he got charged for monopolizing it). He swallowed up competitors by lowering prices in certain areas. And tried to control all industries related to oil -he had unhealthy monopoly and broke it up into smaller companies (result of Anti-Trust Act), turns into small companies, but then turns into: Exxon Mobile, Chevron and Texaco, British Petroleum and Shell Oil (handful of dominant players) -Rise of European interest in Middle East and Far East (Indonesia) – oil came through Royal Dutch Company, Shell was a trading company in Middle East (predating oil interest – they became aware of oils value), and then they merged with Royal Dutch, and became Shell Oil -fateful plunge – key transition to making oil so imperative (military superiority) happened in 1912 – cusp of WWI, Britain had most powerful navy (it was powered by coal) and in 1912 Winston Churchill shifted fleets from coal (they have a lot of) to oil (that they have nothing of) -WHY? Oil powered ships were faster, better in terms of movement, didn’t need as much volume to power distance. The solution was to find a source of oil. Britain’s first response was to build Anglo-Persian Oil Company (origins of BP). It was geopolitically imperative. Military security needed this resource. This is before he is prime minister (he is head of the navy at this point) -after WWI it is become apparent that oil is very important and it’s understood that the Middle East has a lot oil (they knew there was a lot of oil but not a lot surveys to predict yield) -ottoman empire centred in modern day turkey, went into middle east, Persia, northern Africa, th but by 20 century it had shrunk, and carved up. How? Crude surveying at the time. Ottoman Empire was with Nazis, so Britain and France (winners) rewrite modern map of Middle East (formed guestimates of where oil was). They decided most of the wealth was in the Persian Gulf (they were right). They made modern nation states. -they carved it deliberately (small states that control a lot of oil and not one big powerful territory). They inhibited powerful Pan-Arab nation. Explains why some of wealthiest countries in world are here (UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait) -They made 6 oil rich countries with small populations- they are cut off from two most populous nations in the region (Iran and Iraq – 10% of worlds conventional oil is here). These small countries become economically and politically tied with UK, French and US interests. The cooperative council in the gulf (6 small countries, also most wealthy on per capita basis in the world) has per capital income that is 9X higher than that of Iraq and Iran -they get emergent independence from places like Standard Oil -2020 world cup is in Qatar (rich nation with small population) -these countries were walked into “Sweetheart Deals” with American oil companies – Chevron, Texaco, Standard etc. -the European and US interest are dominant concessions of the Middle East as the area is erupting. -“Sweetheart Deals” meant
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