Ty Blei

Basic Income

Basic Income (alias basic income guarantee (BIG), universal basic income (UBI), universal demogrant, citizen’s income) is an idea making headway in Europe. The idea of giving people money, unconditional of age, employment and location, is an appealing one. Pilot programmes ran in Canada, USA, Namibia and India (pdf).

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2018/08/26 09:20 · Myrddin Wyllt

Fracking the world

A tidal wave of extreme energy extraction swept across the globe, of which unconventional oil and gas extraction (colloquially known as fracking) was a major component. It was being driven by the progressive depletion of easier-to-extract fossil fuels which is leading to the exploitation of increasingly harder-to-extract resources. Many countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, hoped that shale gas would make them energy-independent from Russia.

The fracking process in itself has severe effects on human societies but the more immediate effects where the extraction takes place were becoming all too obvious. Environmentalists and concerned citizens in many European countries went on the defensive when it became known that companies were eyeing potential new shale gas deposits.

Nowadays (2018), the high expectations have more or less faded in most parts of Europe.

  • The technique has been banned in France since the Jacob Act of July 2011, even though it is one of the countries with the highest potential for developing such hydrocarbons.
  • The Netherlands has banned fracking until 2020.
  • Germany continues its moratorium, but allows for scientific test-drilling under “strict conditions”.
  • In some countries, like the United Kingdom and Spain, fracking isn't banned, but regions like Scotland and Wales in the UK, or Catalonia in Spain, decided to ban fracking regionally.

A number of other European countries declared a ban on exploiting new natural gas deposits. Is the European shale gas boom really over? Stay tuned ....

2018/08/10 14:26 · Myrddin Wyllt

Deep seabed mining

In 1978, when potato-sized mineral nodules (ferro manganese concretions) were still resting undisturbed on the ocean floor, these became the subject of a “unique” attempt at international economic cooperation. “Developed” countries were (and are) protective of their advanced technology and capital resources, while “underdeveloped” countries were (and are) suspicious of the aims and motives of the industrialised states capable of deep seabed mineral extraction.

Behind the scenes, watching (with a hand in the intrigue) were several multinational corporations, members of international consortia ready to begin mining operations …

In 2000 it was reported that The first attempt to exploit deep-sea manganese nodules ended in failure as a result of the collapse of world metal prices, the onerous provisions imposed by the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the overoptimistic assumptions about the viability of nodule mining. Attention then focused on cobalt-rich manganese crusts from seamounts. Since the mid-1980s, a number of new players have committed themselves to long-term programs to establish the viability of mining deep-sea manganese nodules. These programs require heavy subsidy by host governments. Gold-rich submarine hydrothermal deposits located at convergent plate margins are now emerging as a more promising prospect for mining than deep-sea manganese deposits. ~ Lessons learned from Deep-Sea Mining, Science 28 Jul 2000

In 2014, NGOs from Australia, Canada and India call for an international moratorium on deep seabed mining in light of the International Seabed Authority’s (ISA) issuing of 7 exploration licences for deep seabed mining in international waters. Oceana calls on European Commission to adopt a moratorium on deep-sea mining.

In 2018, European Parliament

“calls on the Commission and the member states to support an international moratorium]] on commercial deep-sea mining exploitation licenses until such time as the effects of deep-sea mining on the marine environment, biodiversity and human activities at sea have been studied and researched sufficiently and all possible risks are understood.”

The story continues ...

2018/08/10 12:57 · Myrddin Wyllt

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