We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Western World Profits from Global Warming

Western nations have the most infrastructure know how and qualified personnel to profit on climate change related infrastructure construction

A governor of Texas has recently mentioned people getting used to "government oppression" like a frog in a slowly heated pot of water does. The frog you see, does not feel the rising of the temperature until it's dead. New Yorkers can relate. No, not to the supposed approaching fascism/Marxism of Obama's administration, but to their winters and springs becoming a thing of the past. As recently as the 1990s we remember there being a few weeks of spring. By spring we don't mean intense 70-80 degree heat appearing all of a sudden (or 90 degrees today April 26 the year of our lord 2009) after hovering at light jacket weather. No, by spring we mean comfortable pleasant room temperature type environment that used to exist in New York City for weeks at a time. "Weeks?!" you say? Indeed it was common that more than a month of wonderful room temperature would happen every year. It was also common that snow and horrible frigid cold could actually stretch out over a period of 3 months. NYC, being right by the ocean, is used to extremes swings in weather but the only extreme we seem to be retaining and expanding upon is summer.

Summer now arrives earlier and arrives more intensely. Fall sees more of those wonderful room temperature days than Spring. Since it's gradual, we don't notice. Even if we really did, then people a few hundred miles away from us would not be able to relate. They too, are seeing strange non-traditional changes in weather patterns but morphed by their geography. We laugh at the sudden heat, grumble about the rains from increasingly violent clashes in the skies, and shrug off less snow with slight relief or disappointment. What we really should be feeling is a bit of fear that the concept of seasons we grew up with is now different.

The international consensus on speed of global warming is emerging and major planetary changes are coming to us sooner than expected. Within 20 years we'll see changes creating hundreds of billions dollars worth of disturbances in the global economy. Each region is experiencing different manifestation of climate change. Thus, the whole world is becoming like the story of 3 blind men and the elephant who desperately need to direct the elephant away from smashing up their village. The benefits of making the elephant work for us are enormous and should fill the leading governments of the world with excitement. It's far too late to consider preventive measures, global warming is upon us, but it's still relatively early to make money off the inevitable rather than wasting money to stop it. We've heard about new trade routes opening up around North America and new parts of Canadian and Siberian land becoming open to farming. But the discussion on building for this new world has so far been limited.

It seems Russians are actively preparing to control Arctic natural resources that will be easier to get to in the near future. The North Pole appears to be the new Middle East with up to 25% of world's hydrocarbons that were previously unreachable. Extraction of oil/gas and shipment to Asia is quicker than from the Middle east around the Indian subcontinent as well. New nuclear powered icebreakers and specialized oil transport ships are being designed and commissioned under United Shipbuilding Corporation, a wholly state owned enterprise. The arctic fleet is being overhauled and augmented to patrol and work along the Northern Sea Route. Moscow is intent on long term denial of the area to others through naval patrols. Canada does not have the funds to adequately exploit the area and also blocks United States from geographic access. European Union is well positioned to co-operate with the Russians in sale of deep sea oil platform technology as well as investment.

Ice shelves are melting and disappearing not just on the poles but in geopolitically sensitive areas as well. Ice melting in the Himalayan mountain range has potential to provide new water to hundreds of millions of people as well as disrupt their life through mass flooding. Resettlement of so many Asian populations as well as utilizing the waters and directing them effectively will require world class engineering that western Europeans so far excel at. Netherlands for instance, whose area is 2/3 below sea level, has developed the world's most advanced system of canals and dikes. This system, Delta Works, took half a century to design and implement and nobody is in a better position to advise the Indian subcontinent (and any area affected by rising waters) than they are. Delta Works was designed to withstand extremely rare events that are up to 50 times stronger than what affected New Orleans. With EU funding, systems can be built for South Asia and world's coastal urban trade hubs that work with the rising waters and even generate electrical energy from it.

World's urban population will rise from 50% to close to 75% in the following decades a lot of which would be exposed to dangers of rising waters and extreme weather. Therefore, whoever has the qualitative edge in top notch research, long term planning, quality controls, and capitalistic efficiency will be the first to get the money from most of the world. Chinese companies, with their methods of fast grand construction (even with Western experts), can't compete yet on such international scale. Americans don't have the political will to even build quality infrastructural projects in their own country to give their companies the much needed expertise. Dutch are well positioned for water projects and saving entire coastlines from destruction. Germans, French, and Russians are well positioned for fast paced nuclear development, mass production, training, and sales to the rest of the world. Production of nuclear reactors is being ramped up with Russo-German co-operation and new floating nuclear power plants are being worked on that can be towed to any port city on the planet. Scandinavians, Canadians, Americans, and Russians got the know-how to extract hydrocarbons from the Arctic and sell this dead matter to Asia. American companies are well positioned to contribute in the agricultural sphere of the world that is losing its spring

The future looks bright for engineering the likes of which has never been seen before. Money is poised to roll into the Western world once again. There is a reason why the mega tourist projects in Dubai and the tallest skyscrapers rising in Asia are still built by Western and Japanese engineers. On a large enough scale quality begins to matter like never before. We should stop the talk of preventing the event that we're already feeling as we're sweating in 90 degree weather in April. It is already here and we need to embrace the opportunities arising from humanity uniting to meet a common threat for the first time.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment