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Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 0805080643
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Looking at the "new international energy order," author and journalist Klare (Resource Wars) finds America's "sole superpower" status falling to the increasing influence of "petro-superpowers" like Russia and "Chindia." Klare identifies and analyzes the major players as well as the playing field, positing armed conflict and environmental disaster in the balance. Currently in the lead is emerging energy superpower Russia, which has gained "immense geopolitical influence" selling oil and natural gas to Europe and Asia; the rapidly-developing economies of China and India follow. Klare also warns of the danger of a new cold-war environment that would suck up resources that should go toward "environmentally sensitive energy alternatives." To avert catastrophe, he urges a U.S. diplomatic initiative to build collaboration with China (rapidly moving to second place in carbon emissions) to develop alternative energy resources, such as biodiesel fuels; ultra-light, ultra-efficient vehicles; and an innovative plan to use new coal plants, currently in-development, to strip carbon waste which can then be buried underground. Well-researched and incisive throughout, Klare provides a comprehensive but approachable overview of a complex problem, and offers promising policy alternatives to disaster.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A brilliant exposition on one of the gigantic problems facing society. Klare is a top expert on the politics of energy and resources. Read him!"—Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Dominant Animal

"Four centuries ago, as the conquistadors roamed through South America, it was the search for gold that drove the clash of empires. A hundred years later, as the great powers fought over the West Indies, it was the quest for land that could grow sugar cane. Today, the key commodity is oil. No one knows this subject better than Michael Klare, and his book is a trenchant and informative guide to what the fatal thirst for oil means for the tensions and rivalries of our fragile planet."—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost

“If you want to understand the future of international relations, worry less about ideology and more about oil reserves. Michael Klare's superb new book explains, in haunting detail, the trends that will lead us into a series of dangerous traps, unless we muster the will to transform the way we use energy in this country. As illuminating as it is unsettling.”—Bill McKibben, author The Bill McKibben Reader

“Once again, Michael Klare has vividly spelled out the geopolitical ramifications of resource scarcity as he did in both Blood and Oil and Resource Wars. His new book deals with our pending clash as we enter an unprecedented time of surging demand for oil while its conventional supply peaks. The book is a serious must read for any student of geopolitics."—Matthew R. Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert

"When danger looms, ignorance is not bliss. Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet defines a new benchmark for understanding the perilous complexities of strategic natural resources and how they shape the modern world. Klare articulates his message with sober honesty and appropriate urgency. If knowledge is power, it is also empowering; let us use this information to rekindle hope and commit to action, vigorously adopting the practical and profitable solutions that already do exist."—Amory B. Lovins, author of Winning the Oil Endgame


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1 edition (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805080643
  • ASIN: B002T450TG
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,619,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book to be thorough, well written, and thought provoking. Though I had read other books about energy, this gave me a better understanding about the political aspects, changing alliances, and the extent of the problem. After several chapters that can be described as doom and gloom, Klare does offer some suggestions on the world's way out - if we make a serious effort to do so. I strongly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
If anyone is wondering why we have such high gasoline prices in this country this book might give us some clues as to the reason(s) behind such increases in price- peak oil. But not just that- it's peak everything! Increasingly as China, India, Japan, Russia, United States, and Canada compete for natural resources, we are depleting them at a very rapid rate. The author thinks we are pretty much at peak oil and will soon reach peak natural gas in the next decade. Due to the increased competition for resources, alliances have been built to ensure access to these resources via weapons trade and security whether it be in Africa, Central Asia, or Latin America. Countries are even competing for the remaining 25% of oil reserves in the North Pole. Michael Klare believes that if this gun boat diplomacy build up continues, we will be looking at another global war which would be catatrophic for the world. Unfortunately, his suggestions for alternative energy sources are of little consolation give that research and development are still at the early stages and in no way can compete with petroleum. I seriously doubt diplomacy will work as Klare suggests given the history of world conflict and the quest for precious resources. I find the current state of world affairs to be very frightening. Nevertheless, this book provides important information that is sure to startle you. So if you want to understand world affairs and politics as it relates to oil and other natural resources, this book is a must. Highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover
This book should not be read at night when alone. This book if read sober will scare the s*$# out of you. The truth has a tendency to do that to people. Every US citizen should read this book no matter your job, education, or whatever. Michael Klare hit a home run with this book.

As America sits in front of their TV stuck in a deep trance about American Idol or the latest screw up by some movie or pop star the world has been changing. Everyone still thinks things are like the way they were in the 50s, America sits on top of the world. I only wish things were like that. The recent spike in gas prices at the pump shows us all how things are NOT like the 50s.

This book shows the reader just how the world has changed. He chronicles the change in both the world and the world oil market. Rising powers, thus the name of the book like China and India have drastically increased their thirst for oil. This increase demand on oil from those two countries and others have changed the world oil market. At the same time the safe fields in places like Texas have dried up. This has forced the oil providers to go deeper into the world's sewage ponds to get that oil.Those ponds are increasing more and more violent and less and less stable. These two things are creating a unique market paradox. Prices have jumped as we all have seen.

The rising demand various countries are experiencing is pushing countries to work harder to secure that oil. Klare does a great job documenting how China is aggressively doing whatever it takes to secure that oil. Oil is no longer just a good. It is a strategic asset for almost every country. Every country defines not only growth but survival in terms of oil availability.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The problem with this book, like most other economics books that include figures and predictions, is that it becomes old fast. For instance, in 2008, China was the fourth largest economy in the world and Klare predicted it would become the second largest in a decade or so. China overtook Japan to become second largest economy, behind the US, last week.
This said, despite the outdated figures, the book's main arguments remain intact and applicable today.
Rising Powers opens by introducing the link between energy-producer states and energy consumers, and shows how such links have defined the geopolitics of the world ever since fossil fuel became centerpiece in the life of civilization, more than two centuries ago.
The continuous consumption of fossil fuel was based on the assumption that oil companies will keep on discovering new sources at a pace faster than that of the demand. Apparently that turned out to be false as companies seem to have discovered them all. Klare argues that out of 116 giant oil fields that supply the world with most of its demand today, only four were discovered in the past quarter of a century.
Not only the globe has surveyed and tapped most of its oil resources, demand for oil has skyrocketed with the transformation of the economies of the world's two most populated countries, China and India, from agrarian to heavy industrial.
Meanwhile, after having conceded its oil and natural gas resources to private firms in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia, with its former President, and now Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, came back. Employing some arm-twisting and other illicit tactics, Putin nationalized the oil and gas firms, and monopolized them in the hands of the state.
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