Environment and Geopolitics

Our Foresights and Insights

Understanding, anticipating, and preparing for the series of powerful planetary geophysical and biological changes, already under way, that will exponentially impact all human activities in the future, creating new uncertainty.

On 3 December 2018, i.e. two days before the opening of the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference – its 24th meeting (COP 24), in Katowice, at the very heart of Poland coal country, Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, announced that his country would not organize the following round of negotiations, i.e the COP 25, … Continue reading Understanding (or not) the Nature of Climate Change as a Planetary Threat

The warming Arctic is the stage of an ongoing maritime, geopolitical and geo-economic revolution.

For example, end of August 2018, the Danish Maersk Company, one of the major ship owners in the world and the world’s largest container shipping company by both fleet size and cargo capacity, sent a first container ship using this route, in order to test its commercial use. The ship went from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg, through the Bering Strait, following the northern coast of Siberia (Tom Embury-Morris, “Container Ship Crosses Arctic Route for First Time in History Due to Melting Sea Ice”, The Independent, 18 September, 2018).

Since 2013, each year, the number the number of Chinese cargo convoys using the Russian Northern Sea Route, also known as the North East passage, increases thanks to the rapid warming of the region, which transforms

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals for global changes, national and international security, political and geopolitical risk of interest to private and public actors.

Editorial:  The New York Times’ article Why Jamal Khashoggi’s Killing Has Resonated” by Megan Specia ponders what many have been wondering lately. Why on earth would the murder of Mr Kashoggi, definitely an atrocious crime, definitely terrible for his family and definitely wrong, yet an event that hardly obviously belongs to international relations and even less to major historical events, take center stage not only in the media but also for international actors be they public or private?

This is an update of the 17 September 2018 release of this article analysing the economic costs of climate change on the U.S. economy in 2018. This update integrates the consequences, and especially the costs, of the super hurricane “Michael”, which hammered the Florida panhandle, then Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, between the 10 and the 14 of October 2018 (Camilla Domonoske, “Michael Will Costs Insurers Billions, but Won’t Overwhelm the Industry, Analysts Say”, NPR, October 14, 2018).

“Michael” took over from “Florence”, the monster storm that hit and battered the U.S. East Coast on 12 September 2018. It looks like a new climate-related disaster “peak”.  It could announce a transition towards possibly worse, considering the last 12 months of climate hellish conditions.

Thus, a major question arises: is climate change becoming a major risk for the U.S. economy? If yes, how should economic actors react (Jean-Michel Valantin, “Climate Change: The Long Planetary Bombing”, The Red (Team) Analysis Society, September 18, 2017)?

On 24 September 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce imposed new tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods, thus widely escalating the “trade war” initiated by president Donald Trump against China in April 2018. Beijing immediately retaliated with tariffs on 60 billions worth of American goods (Will Martin, “China Hits Back at Trump with Tariffs on $60 Billion of US Goods”, … Continue reading The U.S. Economy, between the Climate Hammer and the Trade War Anvil – the Soybean Case

[Fully rewritten version v3] To exist, risk and foresight products as well as warnings must be delivered to those who must act upon them, the customers, clients or users. These anticipation analyses must also be actionable, which means that they need to include the right information necessary to see action taken. … Continue reading Revisiting Timeliness for Strategic Foresight and Warning and Risk Management

This article looks at the way the warming ocean exerts a growing pressure on food security and the economy. It is a follow-up to “The U.S. Navy vs Climate Change Insecurity” (Jean-Michel Valantin, June 15, 2018), where we focused on the current climate and ocean change becoming a major strategic threat, because of the rapid rise of the ocean level.  … Continue reading The Warming Ocean as Planetary Threat

The U.S. Navy is under higher and growing pressure from climate and ocean change. This situation is emphasized in The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Department of Defense Installations on Atolls in the Pacific Ocean (Curt D. Storlazzi, Stephen B. Gingerich et al., February 2018, full pdf report), … Continue reading The U.S. Navy vs Climate and Ocean Change Insecurity (1)

The United Arab Emirates is shifting rapidly towards the artificial intelligence revolution. This shift is expressed by numerous decisions taken by the highest U.A.E. political authorities. For example, on 16 October 2017, the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president of the U.A.E. and ruler of Dubai, appointed Omar Bin Sultan al Olama as minister for artificial intelligence (AI) of the Union. … Continue reading The U.A.E. and the Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability Revolution

This article explains further what a cryptocurrency is, with the examples of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, focusing on the most common underlying technology, the blockchain and its implementation. It underlines commonalities and differences between the three cryptocurrencies, starting highlighting their potential advantages and dangers compared with classical international currencies. It notably singles out one of the main challenges characterizing the Bitcoin phenomenon: energy sustainability.