Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Global competition for natural resources

The growing demands by rapidly industrializing nations, especially China and India, for energy and raw materials is causing more pressure to develop local resources in the US, and leading to potential conflicts with multinational corporations operating here. That's the assessment of Vince Matthews, State Geologist of Colorado, who spoke to the Arizona Geological Society in Tucson last night.

Vince pounded home his message with massive amounts of facts, figures, and statistics, fused with his own insights from a long and varied career in government, industry, and academia.

The bottom line is that we will need all of our energy resources, including traditional fossil and nuclear, renewables, and conservation, as well as unconventional sources, to meet society's demands for many years to come.

Once the world economy starts to recover, he warns that we will see inflation and shortages of raw and critical minerals to resume. While China in particular has national strategic efforts to secure mineral resources around the world, and the companies that control or produce them, the US has largely ignored this whole subject. Vince referenced a recent National Academy study (Dec 08) that called the Defense Strategic Stockpile program ineffective and warned that the nation is clueless about the consequences. A sobering talk but convincingly told.

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