>> host: you're out of time. that is a pretty negative note to end on >> guest: beebee and on the touch of gloom but with a bright day, they give it to a chinese figure in 2010 after 60 years of passing them over the bit the bullet in 2010 and gave it to him in his cell today and i hope it is doing his movement some good. >> host: jay nordlinger, thank you for the great discussion. the book is peace they say. it's my pleasure. >> guest: likewise.
this is about an hour. >> well, hello, everyone. good morning. i'm just totally thrilled to be here again. i've always enjoyed coming to the carnegie council, and i want to thank joanne for inviting me again. it's a great treat to be here with you this morning, and i look forward more than anything to the feedback and the questions and comments we'll have afterwards.
i have to get through my speech first to come to the good part, which is the discussion we'll have. let me jump into my presentation on my new book "the race for what's left." just my presentation is that we are at a pivotal morning, turning night the history of the human species. at this moment i believe more humans enjoy greater wealth, consumer more resources, food, water, minerals, oil, gas, coal, and so on, than ever before in history. this extraordinary abundance has been made possible because humans have brought to bear increasingly sophisticated technology to search the world for sources of vital materials we need to produce all of this wealth and abundance. as a result, at this moment,
virtually the entire planet is integrated into a global system of resource extractions, productions, processing, and distribution. this is a remarkable achievement, and makes it possible for us, and billions of people around the world, to enjoy an exceptionally high standard of living. higher than any other humans have ever experienced. but all of this, modern industrial civilization ripped large, is now at significant risk. and the great danger before us is resource depletion. because we humans have been consuming the world's natural resources at such a frantic pace for so long, many, if not most of the primary resource reservoirs on which we depend, oil fields, natural gas fields, coal mines, copper and iron
mines, and so on, are largely exhausted, or rapidly being depleted at such a rapid pace they, too, will soon be depleted. let me just give you one example of what i'm talking about in 2009, the international energy agency, the aiai, an arm for economic cooperation and development, conducted a survey, the first ever, systemic survey of all of the major oil fields then in production. the 800 major oil fields which supply the vast majority of the oil on which we depend. in 2009, those oil fields, our main source of energy, were producing 68 million-barrels a day out of 80 million-barrels a day or so that we consume. but these fields are being depleted at such a rapid rate
that they predict that by 2035, 75% have productivity of those fields would vanish, and shows same 800 fields would be producing 18 million barrels a day. aless of 50 million barrels a day most of the world's oil supply. let's be very clear. if that oil is not replaced, the petroleum age will be over, our global transportation systems will collapse, and the world economy will be in ruins. fortunately, says the iea, well fine new oil to replace all that's lost. but they also make it very clear the new oil will not be the same kind, of the same nature, as that which has been lost. it will not be the easy oil that we have relied on up until now. that is, oil derived from
reservoirs close to the surface or close to shore, that will easily process into useable fluids and acquired from hospitable climates. rather, the new oil, if we find it, will be of a tough variety -- that's my world -- that is derived from deep underground and small pockets, far offshore, and inhospitable climates like the arctic, and in forms that are costly and difficult to process, like canadian tar sand, venezuelan extra heavy crude, oil shale and say oil. there's a lot of those materials. i'm not saying there isn't. there's vast amounts of these unconventional forms of petroleum. but obtaining them will be costly, difficult, and dangerous, and many may prove
too costly and dangerous to produce. this in essence is the story of all the vital resources on which we have come to rely. most primary sources of supply are in decline or soon will be so and the remaining sources to are the most part are less desirable due to their location, in the far north, for offshore, or their inferior quality, low-grade ores, or trapped in unyielding geological formations. again, these materials are not necessarily disappearing, but the remaining supplies are less prolific than those they replace and they're located in just difficult areas, and may not be able to meet human needs for very much longer. i also worry about global replies of farmland that we need to produce the food we humans will rely on.
most of the world's airable land, rain-fed land is now in production. the supply of water that can be used to irrigate lands is limited, and the population is growing. and it's very unclear where the additional farmland is going to come from to meet future human needs. so, as i say, we're at a pivotal moment in the history of the human species. what we see unfolding before us is what i call the race for what is left. a global struggle and scramble for the world's vast resources. this contest will have many powerful consequences which i believe will shape our lives and shape the course of future human histories and so deserve close attention. what i see is an epic struggle emerging between the world's major industrial powers and the world's major resource
corporations for control over what remains of the world's primary resources. and because most of the planet has already been thoroughly explored and are all likely resource reservoirs have been brought into production, this race is up folding in those few areas that have escaped exploitation in the past, because they have been out of reach, like the far north or deep ocean, or trapped in unyielding gee lock cal formization like shale gas or in ininaccessible territory like iraq, mongolia, and the congo, if you read the business journals and trade journals, like oil and gas journals, are you will know these are the areas where all the action is takes place. the places where the major resource corporations are
deploying their money, their technology, and their political clout. this summer, for example, as the ice sheet melts and temperatures rise, drilling -- we will see the busiest drilling season ever in the far north, with new projects coming underway in two areas. and the waters of the arctic, off of alaska, and greenland, and the barren sea and we're going to see an accelerated pace of drilling in the deep water of mexico, and offshore brazil, and then offshore west africa. particularly we're going to see increased efforts to distract the presalt oil, the oil below the salt dome under the atlantic ocean off of brazil. mining is also accelerating in
these marginal areas, in the far north in siberia, afghanistan, the congo, and month goal -- mongolia, resource distract has always produced problems in human history. they're invasive activities, they're costly, they do produce a lot of wealth, and inevitably they lead to friction and conflict. environmental damage. invasionsinvasions of indigenous lands, corruption and violence, and so on. this is par for the course given the invasive nature of these activities and the great wealth they can generate. but the race for what is left will see an intensifyic indication because the competition among producers will be greater than ever before because so little is left, and the environmental risks will be exponentially greater because
the areas are that much more vulnerable to the destructive capacity of these technologies. the competition will be greater because more people and more nations and more corporations will be seeking control over a diminishing pool of available resource reservoirs and only those countries and only those corporations that prevail in this struggle can be expected to survive the struggle, and those that fail to do so will be devoured by the others. so they're going to fight much more ferociously than ever before. these struggles will take a financial form as well as military form. to give an example of what i mean, joanne alluded to the b.p. disaster in the gulf of mexico, when the leak was still underway, and two years ago, the
gulf of mexico, and it became very obvious that b.p. was going to face massive claims, and penalties, because of the environmental damage and the loss to the livelihoods of people in the region, other companies began circling around, and planning takeover of b.p. exxon-mobil and royal dutch both considered a hostile takeover of b.p. in the end b.p. was able to survive the takeover attempts but it was forced to sell off at a loss tens of billions of dollars of its prime assets in order to raise the $20 billion for an escrow account that president obama required them to establish, and it was only by a narrow margin that b.p. was able too stay in business. and these kind of takeovers, hostile takeovers, and the
devouring of companies we can expect much more of that. in my book i talk about mining companies that have one-by-one -- those that have acquired claims of useful minerals are being devoured by bigger and bigger firms. this is only one aspect of this race for what is left. but i fear even more the violent dimensions of the struggle. with fewer resources and greater demands i believe we can expect intensified struggles for contested territories and contested claims. and an example of this would be the growing struggles in the east and south china seas between china and its neighbors. clashes which have sometimes resulted in armed violence and the loss of lives. these clashes arise over
contested undersea deposits of oil and natural gas. both east china sea and the south china sea are believed to harbor reserves of oil and natural gas but lie in waters of overlapping claims between china on one hand, japan on the other, in the east china sea, and the south china sea, the philippines, vietnam, malaysia, and indonesia, and in pursuing its claims, china has deployed its navy, has clashed with vessels belonging to the other countries, and this has led to naval violence and clashes at sea, and the loss of lives. i worry that these kinds of clashes at sea will intensify and lead some day to a far more dangerous event in which the initial episode escalates into something far more dangerous, including full-scale war.
and because the united states is allied with japan, with the philippines, and with other countries in the region, there's a strong risk of u.s. involvement in any such clash, and if you have been following developments in washington, you'll know that president obama and secretary of state hillary clinton have said that with the war in iraq and afghanistan over, the center of gravity of american military policy from now on is going to be the south china sea, and it's going to involve u.s. naval power deployed in the area to support the countries that have clashed with china over these disputed territories. so this is becoming the most dangerous, in my view, the most dangerous area in the world, with respect to the possibility of u.s.-china conflict. i also worry that similar clashes will occur in other
disputed maritime areas, like the caspian sea and the faulkland islands, and nobody paid much attention since the last war but now that the uk is drilling in the contested area. othe faulklands, tensions with argentina have heeded up again, and the british have deployed more military forces there, and the argentinians have become much more antagonistic. but conflict and competition are only part of the dangers that arise from the race for what is left. another major consequence will be increased environmental damage. this is an inevitable consequence of this contest. because so many of the world's remaining resource reservoirs are located in marginal
ecological areas we're going to see increased drilling and mining in areas that are especially vulnerable to spills and toxic wastes, like the arctic, siberia. alaska, tropical forests, and the deep oceans. any spills in the arctic, for example, will pose a severe threat to the century viable of species that are already at risk, like polar bears, and walruses, seals, and many species of whales. and it's going to be much harder to mount a rescue operation and a cleanup operation in the arctic than in the gulf of mexico, when the b.p. event occurred it was possible for b.p. to deploy hundreds of ships and other service vessels to contain this spill and to minimize the environmental damage. when shell goes up this summer and starts drilling off of
alaska, any similar incident will be virtually impossible to contain because there's no capacity in the region to deal with this kind of disaster. or if it occurs off of greenland or the barren sea. like weiss, -- likewise, drilling and mining in northern scandanavia and siberia poses a threat to the cultures of the indigenous people who live there this is true wherever you look. another case of worry is the most massive mining project now being plan in the united states, the pebble project. a multibillion dollar gold and copper mine in the bristol bay area of alaska, which poses a severe threat to the survival of the world's most important salmon fisheries. along with the livelihood and culture of the native peoples of alaska. this is just about to come
before the government for approval or not. it would be a catastrophic project if it goes ahead. and these are just a few examples of a global pattern of intrusive traction ex-extraction in wilderness areas. i want to talk about the risk that arises from using advanced technology to distract oil and gas from unyielding rock formations or convert undesirable oil supplies like extra heavy crude into useable liquids. with all the easy oil gone and the easy natural gas, the only way for the oil companies to maintain production, is a said earlier, is it -- is to attack these leftover, unconventional
sources of energy, and this involves going after the large shale formations we have in the united states and canada, some in europe and argentina and china. to distract these -- extract these resources you can't drill. you have to smash the rock and fracture it to release the oil and gas, and the technology used for this is hydraulic fracking, which requires the injection of millions of gallons of chemically lace water under very high pressure to smash the rook and create fissures that allow the oil and gas to escape. this is an effective technology but it requires the use of all this water, which becomes contaminateed with toxic
chemicals and has to be processed somehow or stored underground. and that has resulted in earthquakes as recently found in ohio. any leakage of this wastewater into underground streams and aquifers could threaten the safety of a city's water supply, including potentially new york's water supply. similar risks arise from deep water drilling, as we're well away, and from the use of large of waters which become infused with toxic substances and pose a danger to the environment. all of these risk are bound to multiply as we become more reliant on the world's remaining resource preserves. most of which will entail environmental hazards of one sort or another.
these will, however, satisfy our resource needs for a while. for a short term, at least, exploitation of these final resource reserves will meet our needs. but eventually they, too, will be depleted, and then there will be nothing left on the planet to meet our resource needs. so, we're looking at the last chapter, i believe, and the long arc of human history, which began when humans first left africa in search of new lands for hunting and gathering. many hundreds of thousands of years ago. so, we face a period of transition, turning point in which we have to think about what the future faces for the human species. we have to think about what kind of world we might face.
what our descendents, our children and grandchildren will face. we either face the world -- and i see two possible paths -- we can proceed down. the path that we're headed on, which requires, assumes every increasing resource consumption to meet our needs, one that i believe will lead to a world that increasing scarcity, in which some people might enjoy at least some of their needs and a vast majority of the population is living with just the bear necessities, and those that have even some of their needs will have to -- will be fighting constantly amongst themselves for whatever few supplies or resources remain. in this scenario, much of the planet will be uninhabitable due
to climate change or wreck reckless ex-extraction. i can envision an alternative future, one in which we humans use resources in a different way, in a conservative frugal fashion, recycling as much as we can and using everything else in the most efficient and practical manner possible, and for those resources which are not replaceable, we'll develop alternatives from substances that we can grow easy or that are very plentiful, and we'll rely on renewables like the sun and wind to meet our energy needs. sump -- such a world will favor
communities, living in charge towns and cities, where public transit is available and public services can be provided at maximum efficiency and minimum cost. these communities will be constructed of superefficient material and rely on renewable sources of heat and power. i know that not everybody is going to favor that sort of life. there are people who still will want to live in a rural area with lots of open space. although doing so will become increasingly difficult in a world of diminished resources. but i sense that most people, especially the young people i meet, my students, prefer to live in an urban setting where there are jobs, and jobs, and cultural options, cafes, restaurants, and other social opportunities, and other young people to socialize with.
and so this vision of a green resource efficient urban future will, i believe, prove increasingly appealing to more and more people. it will also, i believe, increasingly become the norm around much of the world. we see this already in places like london and paris and barcelona and many german and japanese cities, where energy and other resources are used much more efficiently than they are in the united states. and people are much more aware of the risks of resource scarcity and climate change. i'm aware that people in this country are largely in denial about resource scarcity and climate change, although they know the their hearts this is coming. but no amount of lecturing on my part will convince them to change their outlook. but, most americans are also worried about jobs and the
economy, and it will soon be obvious that, while we're engage fled a costly race for what is left of the planet's scarce resources, much of the rest of the world is engaging in a race to adapt, a race to master the new technologies that will make reliance on costly and dwindling finite material irrelevant. as time goes on, therefore, we risk those of us in this country who continue to persist in the older model, the other past, we risk falling behind as other countries like china, japan, and germany, take the lead in developing the new green, resource efficient technology, generating new jobs and their countries, while eliminating them near this country. i know that young people,
students, are painfully aware of this predicament. and are totally determined to engage in the development of the innovative new systems and technologies that will allow us to succeed in the race to adapt. my students at hampshire college and the other colleges i teach in, what they extinct do in -- they seek to do is design green cities and green spaces and green technology. this is their great hope. so they will have both a job and a future and something they can look forward to. they want to make positive changes. and so i've come to believe that the most important thing we can do today, people of my generation, is to support all those who are engaged in these efforts, so that when the race for what's left is over, we will be left not with a depleted,
exhausted, blighted world of massive poverty and despair, but with the world of light, culture, community, innovation and hope, and it's with that message i like to finish. thank you. [applause] >> i'm delighted you ended on a positive note because the impending perils are -- >> pretty grave. >> so i'd like to open the floor for discussion, and i ask that when the microphone comes to you, please identify yourself and try to keep your questions brief and to the point. susan? >> susan ol'son. thank you for your very carefully researched presentation. and for ending on a positive note. let me ask you about things you didn't have a chance to mention. on the geo political level, china is everywhere, looking for
resources, and how do you feel about the conflict and competition in africa, for example, nigeria and so forth, also, you mentioned brazil. and brazil is in a better position to take control over resources than many other countries would be. the other areas you didn't mention nuclear energy as an alternative. i have finished. those are the questions. tell us about nuclear energy. >> i'll start with the first. from my reading of what both the science and the economic dimensions, nuclear energy will never be more than a niche response to our future, until, that is, scientists develop a new means of using nuclear power
than the current one. at the fission technology which is 50 years old, has proven not to be cost effective. but it could be that future nuclear technologies now being developed in another generation or two, will eliminate the problem of waste, and safety problems, and, therefore, will be much more cost effective for utilities to build. but utilities are turning away. those that operate under a capitalist system. china, which you alluded to, india, where the market forces don't prevail, where the government can decide we're going to build a nuclear react juror build them, but not market economies. it's cheaper to build other kinds of sources of energy. china. i could have said more in my presentation but i'm eluding to
these global struggles and china is a very big part of it, obviously. state-owned corporations. competing with western companies for control over africa, central asia, now latin america, and it's going to be very vicious. they can use their government companies -- government support for the companies. i did talk about the south china sea and the east china sea, where chinese companies are very aggressively pursuing access to those resources. brazil, the problem that brazil finds is that the extraction of energy from the presalt fields so-called, will be more complicated than any energy project ever attempted by humans. you're talking about two miles of water, two miles below that
of salt, sand, rock, mud, before you hit the oil. the sand and the mud and she salt is constantly shifting. you have to have a well that goes four miles down, into -- through a shifting layer, without leaks, coming in that would come up and either leak into the water or explode. so far they have not been able to do this. it will cost them hundreds of billions of dollars. they need western technology. i think they're playing with absolute fire. yesterday it was revealed that one of the earliest of these wells run by chevron is leaking again. so, we're facing -- i say the race for what is left is going lead to increasingly more hazardous conditions. thank you for your good question.
>> been a very inspiring lecture. in june we'll have the conference coming up, and actually this week is the third meeting so what would be your message to the participants of the conference? we're talking about green economy, which is very divisive. the north is rather in favor of it. the south says, another green conditionality which impedes development; what would be your message to the conference to change? >> you know, i would -- the more i think about it, the more i focus on cities, because two-thirds of the human population, including a vast majority of people in the developing worlds, are going to live in cities in the future, and that's where the emissions
are going to be, where the energy is going to be required, so i would say, let's focus on cities, how can we provide them with energy they need in a cost effective green way, with a minimal use of resources, and collaborate on that. rather than try to tackle everything. it's the city problem that will be the -- that will be the mammoth challenge, and if you put it that way, that's something in which we -- here in new york city, it's a problem. in the north and in the south, it's a shared problem that i think can be jointly explored. >> professor klare, what do you see realistically as the role for alternative energy, wind, solar, atomic power? seems the administration came in strongly, alternative energy, and seems to me there's some
pushback, it's terribly expensive. environmental problems with the wind mills, and i read that maybe 10% can be picked up by these alternative energies. what do you honestly see as the stop gap between the internal combustion engine and energy. we seem to be in a difficult position right now. >> yeah. you know what, i think trying to push for subsidizing green energy is a tough sell. it's easier to push for conservation of energy and efficiency by accelerating the pace of fuel efficiency standards. might be an easier way to achieve some of the same things we need. that is, require that cars be much more fuel efficient. and release less emissions. this is the tact that california is taking, for example.
and california is the biggest auto market in the country and sets the stage for what a lot of other states are doing. so i think efficiency, promoting -- any incentive to get people to give up their clunkers for hybrid cars, and continued research on innovation, but not necessarily what happened with solyndra, where you try to invest in these companies. let market forces prevail. a lot of the way that the decisions are made are through tax breaks, subsidies to the oil case. you have to be a tax account to figure that out, and if those could be shifted to advantage renewables that would go a long way to speeding that up.
without appearing like you're giving them flatout subsidies. >> i read the book -- >> would grew introduce yourself. >> call the resourcees, the written by williams. now, this man was alluding that human being were born, they grow and they die. that means natural resources are continuing as long as human beings live. now the focus of the book, what you are saying that natural resources decrease. >> i don't know what you're referring to. of course, humans have always had a capacity for innovation. and that is how i ended my presentation. that we do have this capacity to
innovate and move in a new direction. but the history of human archaeology tells us that humans originated in africa, in northeast africa, and were game hunters and gatherers, and as the resource capacity of their original habitat was exhausted, humans my -- migrated to europe and the middle east and asia and southeast ocean and siberia and the new world in pursuit of new lands to exploit, and this has been the history of humans, and there are no more lands to exploit, unless you believe the fantasies of newt gingrich that we're going the moon, and i don't believe that. so we have too realize, there is nowhere else to go. we have the one planet we have
there nor more places to exploit. so from now on, our innovations have to be in the direction of efficiency, conservation of resources, recycling, and the development of renewables. and so i hope that crosses the contradiction you say. >> ron barren. two questions. number one, you haven't said anything about water. and number two, with the focus on cities, which makes a lot of sense, with respect to energy efficiency, in light of the arab spring, what would you anticipate in terms of political turbulence as a result of heavy concentration of people, particularly young people in
cities. >> thank you. i actually did refer to water once. i talk about food, future food scarcity. and land scarcity, and the problem that most of the lands that now rain-fed is in use, and i worry about the future availability of water for irrigation, because of climate change. so water is a very big concern. absolutely. and providing water to cities is going to become an especially big concern. and i worry about the struggle we're going to have in this country, the united states of america, between those who want to use water to produce energy supplies through this very risky procedure of high drawlics, fracturing, going to need massive quantities of water, and the drinking needs of the population, and the farming needs of the population.
by the way, producing ethanol, corn ethanol is the most greedy form of water use in this country right now. so we have to decide where our priorities lie. number one. the second question you asked me about cities. and that's why i believe -- i said to our friend from switzerland, the importance of addressing cities. if two-thirds of the world's population lives in cities, and most of them are not provided with basic necessities, water, electricity, transportation, and jobs, those cities are all going to be explosive tinderboxes as we have seen. so, providing the needs of urban populations around the world, including in north america, will be among the most difficult tasks facing policymakers and
leaders in the decades ahead and that's already a problem. a massive problem. that's where the youth come, where they're exposed to polite political influences, some of which can be radical and extremist, and where crime thrives, and where the differences between the rich and the poor become magnified, leading to explosive upheavals. so, we had better attend to the needs of the billions of poor people living in cities. >> i'm john richardson. we have had oil for a little more than 100 years. obama talks about alternative energy, green energy and stuff. that's great research project and money should be spent on it but it's not real. you have not talk about gas. i understand we have lots of natural gas. we have this new shale gas. it's here. we don't need to import it.
it's technically -- it works. you have buses that run on gas. trucks can run on gas. what's the problem? people say there's not enough distribution. you can build gas pumps, not serve gasoline but serving gas. you can work on hydrogen fuel cells. what about the whole advance of technology which is there and works? >> i did talk a lot about gas. i talked about hydrofracking for the gas reserves of north america. the marcellis formation, and the problem is it's going to destroy the northeast to get at it. so shale gas is trapped in rock. so, yes, there is a lot of it. no question there's a lot of it. although much less than they're saying. the most recent report from the energy information administration is, they've lowered by 60% their estimates
of north american shale gas. just so you know. but even so, to get at it, we're not talking about a joint reservoir that if you stick a drill in and you suck up the gas. you're talking about rock formations. you have to have a drill every half a mile over hundreds thousand, tens of thousands of square miles. so all of pennsylvania is now going to be covered with these drills. invading the entire countryside. and if they have their way, new york state is next. two-thirds of new york state is targeted for this invasive procedure. everybody -- every half a mile, and the water supply of new york city is at risk in this process. so don't think we're going to get this gas easily and without risk. now, you say it can be used. it certainly can be used to generate electricity, and that's better than the coal we might
use. but as for converting that into a liquid for cars, i don't see it happening anytime soon. >> robert james, a businessman here. 60 years in oil and some mining. i think you're very good at finding problems. not quite so good at solutions. there has been a lot of solutions. the fracking. we've been fracking for 60 years. you got a million people in fort worth. the whole -- all of them are -- have wells. they're fracked. nothing has happened. no problems. >> that's not true. >> well, i know a lot about it because i drill there, and nobody is suing me. so, i don't think that's a
problem. but maybe you know something about this. >> there have been earthquakes triggered, seismic events attributed -- >> in ohio? >> in fort worth. >> a question about his -- >> easy oil is gone. how do you define easy oil? rains make hard oil easy. have you seen this? do you see -- easy oil costs a dollar a barrel to produce. that's a good definition of easy oil. the stuff in canada costs -- or deep offshore costs 60, 70, 80, 90, 100-dollars a barrel to produce.
i'd say that's a big difference. >> we're going to move on. you can continue afterwards. >> lawrence. last time you were here, you predicted war between the united states and china, some small wars and then maybe large wars of the issue. how do you feel now and could you elaborate on that scenario? >> i think the situation has deteriorated. i've never -- i didn't say that it was inevitable. i said that the u.s. and china are engaged in a competitive struggle in which they get involved in proxy conflicts that have the potential to escalate. and i think that situation has gotten worse since i was here last. i think that the policy adopted by the obama administration in the past few months, beginning with president obama's speech in
canberra in november, and now the new policy which says that the center of gravity of u.s. defense policy will be the south china sea, that it will resolve around contesting china's efforts to dominate the area, says that we're going to see a lot more confrontational sort of activity in that whole region. so i think that's a sign of worry. i think that there is also been an increasing efforts by china to dominate central asia and that's going to produce stress. i tell you though, what i worry about most and is deeply did he stressing to me is as the result of various decisions made by the united states and its allies, which not necessarily for bad
reasons -- like the intervention in libya -- has led to a closer alliance between china and russia, and this is involving not just political collaboration but arms sales, energy deals, and a growing resistance to the united states on issues like iran and syria, and a kind of a hardening of the international environment which i think is deeply distressing. >> richard court. the consumption of resources is usually done by people. how do you feel about population control? >> you know, my answer to that -- forgive me -- is to say the population that we have to worry about most in the short term is of cars. the population of cars is expected to double over the next 25 years. and that is the biggest threat to the resource consumption that
i worry about in the short term, because that will vastly increase the pressure on oil supplies, particularly from china, because china's oil consumption is expected to double over the next 25 years and its import requirements will triple because they need import the extra oil and that's going to lead to the -- the person who asked me about competition between the u.s. and china and africa because a lot of that is going to come from africa so there will be more tension there. so i worry about that. but human population, that's where the food issue arises. and why the issue of land grabs i write about is so upsetting, where countries like saudi arabia are buying farms in
ethiopia to fly food from eatopen pa, which is not a place where people have full stomachs, fly toad to saudi arabia. i worry about growing population. die know how to solve that? i do not. the best answer is to build health clinics for women in poor countries and provide contraceptives contraceptives and reproductive health benefits and that's not going to be easy to sell but that's the proven answer. the only proven answer. andre -- >> i'm sorry. >> you have to come back and tell me what i -- correct my false thinking. >> i read -- surprised to read
that japan is planning to come out with cars using hydrogen by 1920. if thought that technology was much further in the future, and assuming that is so, how will that affect pollution, energy sources? hydrogen -- are -- >> there are buses powered by hydrogen bus this is a long way from being a full-scale commercial technology. now, hydrogen is not a substance -- a very plentiful substance but doesn't occur naturally. you can't mine it you have to get it from something else. water has a lot of hydrogen in it. h2o, but to get that you can use election troll -- electric troll -- election troll sis, and
you have to get the energy from the grid, and that is produced by coal, should producing hydrogen is worsening the problem, and that's going to require solar power and wind power or nuclear power. some other way of producing hydrogen than coal and oil and natural gas. so, until we do that, it's not going to help with the mission. and another problem with hydrogen is the need for catalysts. especially in smaller vehicles, like cars, and the catalyst of choice is platinum. and platinum is a very scarce material, and it only is found in few countries. a lot of it in south africa and zimbabwe, and it's in those places, the production is leading to a lot of conflict and a lot of violence. there have been strikes, many of
them violent in zimbabwe and south right now. robert mugabi is trying to take control of the mines. so platinum is very problematic as well. >> it seems to me but i'm somewhat ignorant -- that solar power would be the cleanest power. maybe wind also but the wind mills are a problem. why is that not being developed and used more? >> the problem with solar power is twofold. one, the sun isn't out at night. so we need a way to store the sun power during the day so that it's available at night. and that technology is still
imperfect. so we have to develop much more efficient batteries or other storage systems so that during the daytime, you can produce electricity, or heat, and keep it overnight to produce electricity. so a lot of research going on in that. people have found you can heat liquid salt and it retains its heat and you can use that at night to generate electricity, for example. but it's still imperfect. the other problem with solar power is that the strongest sources of it are in the desert. and there are no electric transmission lines there. so we have to build a new transmission grid to bright sunny places to carry that. if you turned uninhabited desert areas of the american southwest into giant solar arrays you could power most of north america with that but first you have to invest in the
transmission lines to carry it to where it's needed, and the storage. but i believe that day will come. [inaudible question] >> why not that? exactly right. >> i want to thank you for energizing the discussion and being toso generallous with your answers. thank you. it really was great. >> every weekend, book tv offers 48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. one-half it here on c-span2. >> for the next seven hours book tv is live from maryland. this is the third annual book festival held on the ground of the city hall. this is a quick look at the schedule: ...