Political implications

OPEC and oil dependence

  • "In 2006, members of the OPEC oil cartel earned $506 billion from oil exports. In 2007, OPEC income rose to roughly $535 billion, and it was expected to surge to over $600 billion in 2008." Friedman, 79
  • Friedman's "First Law of Petropolitics": As the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down; and as the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up Friedman, 81
  • OPEC drove rise in oil prices less than $2/barrel 1973 to more than $11/barrel in 1974, not in response to supply shortage Smil, 1
  • US dependence on foreign oil has been increasing fairly steadily from 37% of oil around 1973 to 63% in 2007 Smil, 135
  • Pickens Plan is an effort to transition the United States off of foreign oil dependence

International foci

  • China's environmental problems: air pollution, biodiversity loss, cropland loss, desertification, shrinking wetlands, grassland degradation, increased natural disasters (both size and quantity), invasive species, overgrazing, river flow cessation, salinization, soil erosion, trash accumulation, water pollution, shortages Diamond, 359
  • Australian public environmentalism focuses on land clearance, river development, and old-growth logging Diamond, 410

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