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Energy policy - Oct 16

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Britain to claim more than 1m sq km of Antarctica

Owen Bowcott, The Guardian
Move would extend UK oil, gas and mineral rights
The United Kingdom is planning to claim sovereign rights over a vast area of the remote seabed off Antarctica, the Guardian has learned. The submission to the United Nations covers more than 1m sq km (386,000 sq miles) of seabed, and is likely to signal a quickening of the race for territory around the south pole in the world's least explored continent.

The claim would be in defiance of the spirit of the 1959 Antarctic treaty, to which the UK is a signatory. It specifically states that no new claims shall be asserted on the continent. The treaty was drawn up to prevent territorial disputes.

The Foreign Office, however, has told the Guardian that data is being gathered and processed for a submission to the UN which could extend British oil, gas and mineral exploitation rights up to 350 miles offshore into the Southern Ocean.

Much of the seabed there is at such a depth that extraction of gas, oil or minerals is not yet technically feasible, but the claim may still anger neighbouring South American countries who believe they have more entitlement to the potentially valuable territory.

The Antarctic submission reflects the UK's efforts to secure resources for the future as oil and natural gas reserves dwindle over the coming decades.
(17 October 2007)

A Call to Arms

Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, Huffington Post
The world is at an energy crossroads, and the decisions made about cars and oil in America and China over the next decade or so will set the course for the coming century. That is because energy infrastructure, be that automobile factories or petrochemical refineries, can last for decades, and the greenhouse gases emitted can last even longer. If we are to set our energy system on the right course before real crisis hits in a decade or two, we need to start that transition now.

Zoom, my new book co-authored with Economist colleague Iain Carson, offers a manifesto for the next president and Congress to tackle global warming and oil addiction in a smart, sustainable way that will move America beyond petroleum to a new golden age of energy innovation of the sort last seen a century ago, back in the age of Tesla, Edison and Ford. Even Detroit could yet prove to be the automotive superpower of the twenty-first century. Detroit may be down, but it does not have to be out. And it does not have to bow to Japanese or other foreign rivals, as we show in our book , which is really a car lover's guide to saving the planet.

... The key obstacle now is Washington's backward-looking, obstructionist approach to energy -- a pork-barrel fiesta that Senator John McCain has called the "leave no lobbyist behind" approach. That has led some to despair that nothing good can ever come out of Congress on energy, given the power of the oil and car lobbies. Techno-utopians argue that magical new technologies will save us, while market fundamentalists say that the invisible hand will do the trick. Well-intentioned corporations keen on clean energy and carbon-free technologies make the argument that "corporate social responsibility," not public policy, is the key. And small-government types are anyway suspicious of Washington.

Here is why all of these groups are wrong. When it comes to the thorny geopolitical, environmental, and economic complications involved with cars and oil, America's federal energy policies do matter.

Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran is co-author, with Economist colleague Iain Carson, of the new book Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future (Twelve, October 2007), which is short-listed for the Goldman Sachs/ Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award
(15 October 2007)

Brookings' David Sandalow lays out plan to end United States' oil addiction
(Video and transcript)
Monica Trauzzi, E&E TV
How should the next U.S. president approach our energy policy in order to reduce oil consumption?

In his new book, "Freedom from Oil: How the Next President Can End the United States' Oil Addiction," Brookings Institution senior fellow David Sandalow lays out a plan for the next U.S. president.

During today's OnPoint, Sandalow, a former assistant secretary of state and senior director of the National Security Council staff discusses the book, his thoughts on the recent international climate meetings, and what he believes lies ahead for U.S. domestic climate policy.
(16 October 2007)

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