Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rescuing Failing States

Lester R. Brown, Earth policy

"One of the leading challenges facing the international community is how to rescue failing states, those countries most at risk of collapse due to a combination of weak governance, internal violence, and social upheaval. Continuing with business as usual in international assistance programs is not working, as evidenced by the continuing deterioration of places like Haiti, Somalia, and Yemen. The stakes could not be higher.

Failing states are a relatively new phenomenon, and they require a new response. The traditional project-based assistance program is no longer adequate. State failure is a systemic failure that requires a systemic response.

The world has quietly entered a new era, one where there is no national security without global security. We need to recognize this and to restructure and refocus our efforts to respond to this new reality."

Lester Brown was our guest speaker at the press club today (FCCJ) and the famous environmentalist detailed all aspects where he sees dangers for the planet, being food scarcity, climate warming, land resources, and the failure of the market and the governments to tackle the current situation, "knowing the impact on our lives is related to our life style, our lifestyle has to change".

Lester Brown (L) Moderator (R)

During his lecture and answering to our questions at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan today for this professional luncheon I enjoyed emceeing, Lester Brown said he considers that Japan should focus on developing geothermal energy, adding that the archipelago, a volcanic island-nation, could become the global leader in this form of energy.

"Japan could make geothermal energy the centre of its new energy economy just as the US or China will make wind the centre of theirs. There are no leaders in the world today in this field. There is no industrial country in the world that now has a well established geothermal industry"

We know that Japan is located at the crossroads of four tectonic plates and on what is known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and dotted with volcanoes, with daily earthquakes, some unperceived, others as dramatic as Tokyo (1923) Kobe (1995) Niigata (2004) Ishikawa-Noto (2007).

If Japan can launch full development of geothermal energy technology, Brown added "it would not only lower carbon emissions in Japan, but it would also give Japanese industry the potential for playing a leading role in developing the world's geothermal energy resources." For Lester Brown "demand for the technology will grow in other geothermal-rich countries located on tectonic faultlines such as Indonesia and the Philippines in Asia as well as Chile, Peru and Colombia in South America, this is an opportunity for Japan to move to the centre stage in an area where it is richly endowed."

Japan makes use of hot springs as a resource for tourism, but geothermal energy only accounts for 0.3 percent of its energy mix, and the country relies heavily on imports of oil and other resources. So why not a new niche in this field, after all why do Japanese just boiled eggs or warm their "Onsen" bath (hot-spring) with such precious and massive energy ready to use?

Sources : Earth Policy, Terra Eco, Agencies, Reporter's notes, Fccj.

Lester Brown organization page http://www.earthpolicy.org

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