Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New in Environmental Security (From Thomas Homer-Dixon, Nick Garrison, Julio Friedmann, James Hamilton)

Those wondering about how the problems of climate change and oil depletion will interact with one another, Thomas Homer-Dixon and Nick Garrison have co-edited a new essay collection, Carbon Shift: How the Twin Crises of Oil Depletion and Climate Change Will Define the Future.

Incidentally, Professor Homer-Dixon also published an article in the April 4 edition of the Toronto Globe & Mail arguing-I think correctly-that the current problem in regard to our economic and other troubles is an excess of optimism, not pessimism; and co-authored an op-ed with Julio Friedmann regarding the prospects for an underground coal gasification (in combination with sequestration) as a partial solution to Canada's energy problems. (I've generally been wary of the promises made for the contribution "unconventional oil" can make to alleviating our energy problems, and especially the environmental dimension of those problems, but this particular approach is making me take a second look at the issue.)

Those looking for a broader analysis of contemporary issues by Homer-Dixon can, of course, check out his book The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization, which I reviewed for Strategic Insights back in 2007.

Of related interest, economist James D. Hamilton has also published a recent Brookings paper, Causes and Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007-08 in which he argues that this price shock was different from those preceding it, the others having been due to physical interference with oil production, rather than changes in the "normal" supply-demand relationship.

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