Competition over resources

In the environmentally constrained but more populous world that can be expected over the course of this century, there will be greater scarcity of three key resources: food, water and energy. Demand for all three resources is already beyond that which can be sustained at current levels. Once population growth and the effects of climate change are factored in, it is clear that greater competition for such resources should be expected, both within and between countries, potentially leading in extreme cases to conflict.

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Issues:Climate change, Competition over resources, Global militarisation, Marginalisation

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Louisiana is Sinking

Anna Alissa Hitzemann | | January 2013

Issues:Climate change, Competition over resources, Marginalisation

Hurricane Katrina and the sinking of coastal Louisiana stand as a reminder that we must address climate change, competition over resources and marginalisation as the root causes of conflict before it is too late.

Most will remember the horrific pictures on the news in 2005 when hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Nearly 2,000 people died, thousands more were left homeless and displaced, the material destruction was catastrophic with damages well over $100 billion.

Image source: Brother O'Mara

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Strategic Thinking in a Resource-constrained World

Ben Zala | | December 2012

Issue:Competition over resources

Two new reports surveying the strategic trends that are likely to shape the next few decades of global politics point very clearly to the prospect of a severely resource-constrained world. Released two days apart, both the new Chatham House report on Resource Futures and the US National Intelligence Council report on Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds raise a number of important questions relating to conflict and security. Both reports deserve careful consideration in national security policymaking circles now.

Image source: Stayraw 

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Sustainable Finance & Energy Security

Phillip Bruner | | November 2012

Issue:Competition over resources

General volatility in financial markets - fuelled by irresponsible lending and trading practices, as well as evidence of market manipulation - have had an effect on oil prices. And while the complexity of global markets means that much deeper investigation is required into the specific effects of the finance sector on oil prices, a sustainable and secure future, in which a wider energy mix has been developed to meet rising demand, will require a more sustainable financial system which can service the real needs of citizens.

Image source: Heatingoil

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Greener Cities: What We Can Do

Anna Alissa Hitzemann | | October 2012

Issues:Climate change, Competition over resources

A recent article on this website entitled The United States, Niger & Jamaica: Food (In)security & Violence in a Globalised World explored some of the possible links between climate change, food insecurity and violence. Many current articles in the media warn of growing food insecurity as global warming and climate change have devastating effects on crops, livestock and even fisheries. A piece in yesterday’s Guardian states that if extreme weather becomes the norm (which it has) then “starvation awaits”.

Image source: Gates Foundation

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Resources and Militarisation in the East China Sea

Ben Zala | | October 2012

Issues:Competition over resources, Global militarisation

As the long running tensions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea appear to be coming to a head, the time for thinking through the alternatives to the militarisation of this conflict seems to be well and truly upon us. The conflict raises interesting issues about sovereignty claims based on offshore territories, particularly as we face a climate-constrained future as well as the increasing importance of competition over scarce resources. The latter is fast becoming one of the most important global trends if one thinks about the potential ‘drivers’ of conflict and even war.

Image source: Al Jazeera English. 

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