European imperialists scramble for new energy sources

TuNur project

Fossil fuels are becoming increasingly difficult to access both in terms of technical requirements and cost as well as politically. Nations are competing for access to resources, and the trail of destruction left by imperialist intervention in North Africa and the Middle East has caused political instability. The European imperialists are desperate for new energy sources for themselves in an attempt to navigate this global energy crisis.

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Environmental news - Imperialist oil companies in court

Following two separate oil pipeline leaks in 2008 and 2009 which damaged farmland and fisheries in the Niger Delta region, Royal Dutch Shell has made an out-of-court settlement to avoid an embarrassing High Court case in London. The Bodo community of Nigeria agreed unanimously to Shell’s offer of £55m, split into £35m for affected individuals and £20m for the community. They had previously rejected an offer of £30m made in 2014. The £55m payout is believed to be the largest compensation payment ever made to an African community following environmental damage. This is a victory for the community but the sum pales into insignificance when compared to Shell’s latest published profits – for the third quarter of 2014 they were $5.3 billion (on a current cost of supplies basis). If this case had gone to court in May it would have been the first case to be heard in Britain against the Anglo-Dutch oil giant.

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Review: This changes everything: capitalism vs the climate

This changes everything: capitalism vs the climate

Naomi Klein, Allen Lane 2014, 566pp, £20

The scientific consensus is clear and was restated at the start of November 2014 in a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: there is a ‘real and present threat to life and land’. If the world does not get carbon emissions under control to limit global warming to 2°C by 2017, our fossil fuel economy will ‘lock in’ extremely dangerous warming (p17). Without new constraints on fossil fuel emissions the earth is set to heat up by 4°C by the century’s end. In the words of earth scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, ‘the difference between two and four degrees is human civilisation’. We know what this means: war, famine, the fight over access to water, the privatisation of resources, and the military defence of privileges. Today there can be no doubt that the tragedies of Hurricane Sandy and the Haiyan Typhoon await all of us, in addition to the steady pollution of water and air, the economic destruction of communities, farmland and settlements by the invasion of big monopoly companies with giant machinery and accompanying shanty towns of itinerant workers in search of employment in the extractive industries.

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Government bribes northern councils to accept fracking

The British ruling class are attempting to improve energy security in a world increasingly characterised by conflicts over energy and other resources. Once again the government is attempting to bribe local communities in the north of England into accepting hydraulic fracturing, the highly unpopular and environmentally damaging gas extraction method commonly known as fracking.

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Drowning in money and greed – Britain’s floods

By world standards, the bad weather which has hit Britain since December might not seem to be of enormous significance. Around 6,000 properties have been flooded, while in countries like Bangladesh, where much of the country lies underwater during the Monsoon, more than 100 people died in the floods of 2012. But what the floods exposed was the futility and deceit of the local and national government bodies. With the most deprived parts of England three times more vulnerable to flooding than the richest, this winter’s crisis was mainly ignored until, as one observer put it, ‘the effluent hit the affluent’. Meanwhile it sends all of us a warning about the threat of major climate change.

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