Sunday, March 27, 2011

Article: US-Pacific Relations: Pacific-Minded (The World Today)

Cleo has just published an analysis of geopolitics in the Pacific for in Chatham House's magazine The World Today. You can see it online here. And below:
In early March, United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made unusually direct comments to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about America's position in the Pacific. "Let's just talk straight real politik. We are in competition with China," she said. All over the Pacific, China is trying to "come in behind us and come in under us."And it is working. China's influence in the island nations of the Pacific is growing dramatically, and the repercussions are global.
But the fault does not lie completely with the US, and the win is not completely China's. The door for China's dramatic increase in influence in the island nations of the Pacific was opened by decades of mismanagement of Pacific affairs by western allies Australia and New Zealand. And if the US and the west want to regain ground, the two Pacific partners are going to have to rethink how they engage with the region.
It should not have come to this.

Article: Why We Build Nuclear Power Plants in Earthquake Zones (HuffPo)

Cleo's latest HuffPo blog entry has been published here. You can also read it below:

The nuclear tragedy currently unfolding in Japan started decades ago on a piece of paper. Before any infrastructure project that size is approved, a risk assessment needs to be done. Hazards are identified and a cost/benefit analysis is made about how to approach those risks.
If constructing in a seismic zone that hasn't seen an earthquake above a magnitude of M6.5 in 100 years, do you build to withstand a magnitude of 7? Or put in extra the millions upfront to protect against a magnitude of 8 that may never come? Or do you simply choose not to build a nuclear power station in an earthquake zone at all?
Every critical energy installation (and much of all infrastructure) is built on the basis of such risk assessments. In the case of the energy sector, getting it right is crucial not only for the ability to generate power, but also for site integrity. However, there are increasingly problems, both physical and economic, with the way the risk assessments are done.

Article: Tonga leading in the fight for Energy Security (Tonga Chronicle)

Cleo Paskal's article on energy security in Tonga appeared in the Tonga Chronicle. It starts:
THE earthquake in Japan is a heartbreaking human tragedy. It is also a clear indicator of the interconnectedness of global energy infrastructure, and could affect energy prices here in the Kingdom of Tonga. Luckily, Tonga has a plan in place that could lead the world in finding solutions.
But first the problem. Once the damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant was obvious, global oil prices reacted quickly. While price is also affected by events in the Middle East, speculators seem to be assuming that, with its nuclear power generation impaired, Japan will have to import more oil and gas. And so prices looked up.
If the disaster causes a global rethink of nuclear power (already Germany seems to be moving away from nuclear and China is cautious), this could cause a long-term rise in oil and gas prices – something that is not good for a country like Tonga where close to 100% of the electricity is currently diesel generated.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Video: Grantham Award

Global Warring won the $5000 Grantham Award of Special Merit. This is the video produced for the award ceremony: 

Review of Global Warring by Bill Hinchberger

Bill Hinchberg reviewed Global Warring, interestingly pairing it with James G. Workman's book Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought.It makes sense as, as Hinchberg puts it, both books look at people (Sumerians in the case of Global Warring, Bushmen in the case of Workman) who "demonstrate how human beings have coped, and failed to cope, with localized water scarcity." To read the thoughtful review, click here

Global Warring mention in

Gordon G. Chang mentions Global Warring in his interesting column on global food wars. You can read it here.

Cleo Paskal wins NATJA Award

Cleo Paskal's feature on Haniteli and Lucy Fa'anunu's garden in the Kingdom of Tonga, written for the Toronto Starwon silver at the North American Travel Journalists Association annual awards :) You can see the article here.

Video: Cleo Paskal speaking at the New America Foundation

Global Warring In Grand Forks

Global Warring is the Current Affairs book club book of the month in April at the Grand Forks Public Library. Grand Forks is a city that knows better than most the cost of environmental change -- and so it the sort of place likely to help find solutions to the challenge. Take care, Grand Forks, and thanks for inviting in Global Warring.

Review of Global Warring by Dick Bennett

On his blog, Dick Bennett called Global Warring and a letter by Mike Tidwell: "comprehensive, scholarly and a personal response to climate warming and consequent extreme weather.  They help us here in NWA be wiser and braver in preparing for the warmer future." Aw shucks, thanks! For more, click here

Profile Q&A with Cleo by the American Society of Journalists and Authors

The American Society of Journalists and Authors profiled Cleo in the ASJA Monthly, asking her about career highlights, low points, and where to get a good pickle sandwich (or something). You can read it here.