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Qui bono?

by Nikita Mon Jan 23rd, 2006 at 03:45:11 AM EST

from the front page. Nikita's comment in the thread describing his own position inserted below the fold. -- Jérôme

I have been following the escalation of Iran crisis and seemingly unstoppable move towards military actions between Iran and US. There has been plenty of discussion within US of possible motivations of US administration and its national interests in this regard.

However, I would like to turn the spotlight towards US associates in this regard: Germany, France and UK. Given realities of power policies none of these three countries is involved without some motivation or gain.

Thus I ask you, members of the court, qui bono?

Read more... (40 comments, 876 words in story)

Thoughts on geostrategic implications of renewable energies

by Nikita Sun Sep 18th, 2005 at 08:17:58 AM EST

Renewable energies have been given fairly little thought from strategic standpoint because their importance has been neglible in both total energy production and electricity generation.

However, the renewable energy production is increasing at pace of 20-30% per year in EU and thus it is becoming increasingly meaningful. The renewable share of EU energy production was roughly 6% in 2000 and most realistic predictions assume increase to 8-10% (goal is 12%) by 2010. At the same time European reliance on imported energy (especially oil and natural gas) is rising. EU responses have been diversification of suppliers and increased conservation efforts.

I see following interesting developments in renewable sector from purely strategic standpoint:

  1. The renewable energy sources have typically smaller unit sizes than concentrate power generation facilities. They are also more sparcely distributed. When you combine these effects with somewhat higher personnel use per generated energy unit, you have more jobs that are distributed more sparcely. Effectively this means more jobs in rural areas compared to urban locations. This has more effect in local rural politics but in large scale would keep more people working in rural areas.
  2. The renewable energy allows setting up local and/or national corporations that are responsible for entire energy generation within national borders. This increases both energy security in time of crises and probably helps in keeping more of money involved in local economy than paying to foreing supplier.

I believe that these two issues (rural/regional employment and domestic energy security/investment retainment) deserve more consideration even if renewable energy size of energy generation is still small due its potentially major strategic implications.

Comments >> (11 comments)

EU is implementing new recycling targets for packaging waste

by Nikita Sun Aug 21st, 2005 at 03:09:28 PM EST

I read following news statement about EU's new guidelines concerning waste recycling and recovery targets. It also shows the current state of EU's efforts:

Link Here

The new guidelines will be considerably tougher than existing ones but there already appears to be good progress towards new goals. However, new member states are not yet part of the progress but we'll see in the future the results of these efforts.

The good news is that several of these targets have already been achieved by several members states. For example, overall recycling rates were 25% (to be raised to 55%) and actual numbers are already (in 2002):
Austria 66%, Belgium 70%, Denmark 70%, Finland 49%, France 45%, Germany 74%, Greece 33%, Ireland 35%, Italy 51%, Luxemburg 57%, Netherlands 57%, Portugal 36%, Spain 44%, Sweden 65% and UK 44%.

This is good news but it must be tempered against fact that sheer amount of waste is still increasing in Europe because amount of waste modern society creates per (increasing) GDP unit appears to be stable.

Fairly good discussion of waste and why it matters can be seen in:
Link Here

Comments >> (3 comments)

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