November 07, 2012

Natural Security News: Post-Election Edition

The ballots have been cast, the votes are in and the pundits are exhausted. While the world consumes the election results, we’ll take a break from our normal post today to highlight
some natural security news items that may have been missed in the wake of the
presidential election.

 


 

Bloomberg News reported
this morning that the Department of Defense (DOD) is taking a more active role in
assessing its supply chain vulnerability for heavy rare earth elements
, those
rare earths that are less abundant than others in the 17-element rare earths
group. According to the report, DOD may be setting a demand signal to help
foster a
non-Chinese supply of rare earths
, particularly from mines in North
America. China, today, produces approximately 95 percent of rare earth
minerals, but only has 50 percent of known global reserves.

According to Reuters, Laos
has started construction on a $3.5
billion hydroelectric dam on the Mekong River
that could have cascading effects
on downstream countries like Vietnam that rely on the river for fish and fresh
water. Laos hopes to become the hydroelectric battery of Southeast Asia, exporting
hydropower to countries like Thailand.

CNBC reports that Iran
has increased its naval activity in the Gulf of Persia near the Strait of
Hormuz
in order to strengthen its authority over disputed islands in the
gulf that both Iran and the UAE have made claims to.

Geothermal energy systems may present climate mitigate and
adaptation opportunities to building developers, according to The New York Times. Indeed,
geothermal energy may be an increasingly attractive option for developers in
areas prone to storms that can devastate above-ground infrastructure
. These
systems offer a way to harness the earth’s energy to heat and cool buildings relying
on less-vulnerable underground infrastructure while reducing the building’s
greenhouse gas footprint.

  • Commentary
    • World Politics Review
    • July 9, 2019
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    A little more than two years since he announced in the Rose Garden that the United States was “getting out” of the Paris climate change agreement, President Donald Trump was i...

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  • Commentary
    • The Diplomat
    • October 30, 2017
    Climate Change: The New Asian Drama

    When the Swedish economist and sociologist Gunnar Myrdal wrote his magisterial three volume study of postwar economic and political development in Asia, he questioned whether ...

    By ​Neil Bhatiya

    • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • June 1, 2017
    Why Abandoning Paris Is a Disaster for America

    Ever the showman, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday about his soon-to-be-announced decision on whether or not to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement with the air of...

    By Julianne Smith

    • Congressional Testimony
    • June 19, 2014
    Elizabeth Rosenberg before Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources

    Elizabeth Rosenberg, senior fellow and director of the Energy, Environment and Security program, testifies before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources....

    By Elizabeth Rosenberg

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