Today, I read a paper on energy security, which kind of scared the hell out of me – mostly because of this paragraph:
Growing dependency or perceived scarcity of domestic energy supply has precipitated international conflict. Energy supplies had a significant role to play in provoking the American Revolutionary War. In World War I, both Entente and Central powers believed control of coal, oil,and gas resources were a key to victory. During World War II, Japan, suffering from a dearth of available raw materials, invaded Manchuria in 1931 to acquire their coal reserves. In response to Japan’s later invasion of China in 1937, the United States cut off oil exports in July 1941. Without domestic resources, Japan invaded the oil-rich Indonesian islands, and the resulting tensions were a direct contributor to the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor. That same year, Adolf Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union in part to secure oil for his war machine, and he launched Operation Blau to protect German oil fields in Romania while securing new ones in the central Caucasus. The Soviet Union attempted to invade northern Iran in 1945 and 1946 to acquire control of its oil resources precisely to reduce its own dependency. During the Gulf War of 1990–1991, Iraq invaded Kuwait explicitly to enhance its control of energy reserves. Lessening dependency on foreign supplies of energy fuels, therefore, is an important component of ensuring availability and improving energy security.
Reading this reminded me of the Age of Stupid animation – War for Resources, which was one of the parts of the film that affected me most.
Sigh. Doing all this climate science has made me think a lot about the impacts on our physical landscape, but today I remembered the other potential consequence. A lot more conflict.
You can read the whole paper here – Sovacool_2010
And for an amazing campaign working to help child soldiers currently caught up in the conflict in the DRC, check out Falling Whistles.