Taxonomy term

natural resources

Mix of acid mine drainage and fracking fluid a recipe for remediation?

Mixing contaminated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, also called hydrofracking or fracking, operations with acid mine drainage (AMD) may sound like an ecological disaster in the making. But according to the authors of a new study, such a toxic brew may actually be a recipe for remediation. And, if some hurdles are cleared, researchers say, it could relieve stress on precious freshwater resources by offering companies drilling for natural gas a cheaper alternative to those resources.

21 May 2014

Gaming the system in the Caspian Sea: Can game theory solve a decades-old dispute?

Water-rights disputes are never easy. Whether they are over pumping from aquifers shared among adjacent landowners, allocation of resources at the municipal, county or state level, or division of a river or lake shared between neighboring countries, there is an inevitable push and pull among stakeholders over who gets what and how much. In the end, resolutions tend to be compromises — often meted out by governing authorities — which, while not ideal from any one party’s standpoint, appeal to the desire of the group for stability over strife.

20 Oct 2013

Caspian Sea: Negotiation Support System

To supplement their efforts at modeling the Caspian conflict using game theory and, potentially, to aid the five littoral countries as they continue to negotiate over how to govern and apportion the sea and its resources, Kaveh Madani, a civil engineer at the University of Central Florida, and his colleagues have developed a computer model dubbed the Caspian Sea Negotiation Support System (NSS).

20 Oct 2013

Energy 360: Leaving our corners for the radical middle: New Zealand sets an example

Energy underpins every aspect of modern life, yet it is often a source of conflict in society. Thus, considering the political ramifications of energy policies is both inevitable and important. But separating politics from science and economics can be difficult, in part because everyone, including me, has biases. Bias in and of itself is not bad; some might even consider it an unavoidable byproduct of knowledge (or the lack thereof). The challenge with energy policy discussions is to manage bias and potential conflicts of interest and conscience.

13 Sep 2013

Building resource corridors in Afghanistan: A solution to an interminable war?

Afghanistan has been ravaged by decades-long conflicts that have left it economically depressed, but the country also holds a potentially huge natural resource base. Some estimates have put the value of the resources — copper, gold, coal, oil, gas, industrial minerals, rare earth minerals and more — between $1 trillion and $3 trillion.

02 Sep 2013

SEC mandates businesses disclose use of conflict minerals

Restive stakeholders crowded the auditorium at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Aug. 22. They were anxiously awaiting the Commission’s final ruling on sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which would amend the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 to include a conflict minerals disclosure statement.

07 Nov 2012

Voices: Climate change and civil conflict: New clues from El Nino

In 2007, 11 retired admirals and generals from the U.S. armed forces published a report arguing that global climate changes represented a major threat to global security. That same year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon argued in a Washington Post op-ed that the ongoing Sudanese civil conflict was, in part, attributable to climatic changes. By combining new techniques from climate physics and econometrics, my colleagues and I have found evidence that there is some truth in these statements. Indeed, the global climate can influence the outbreak of civil wars.

09 Sep 2011

Is there really a minerals crisis?

Reports suggest that the world is running out of crucial supplies of minerals, from copper and lead to the rare earths. But shortages have more to do with sociological and political issues than actual geology.

08 Jul 2011

How oil and water helped the U.S. win World War II

World War II U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley is often cited as the originator of the famous military quote: “Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics.” Irrespective of its origins, the adage holds true for most extended conflicts — and World War II is no exception. Managing logistics for the production, movement and consumption of energy was one of the critical determinants of success during the war.

15 Feb 2011

Finding water in the heart of darkness: Afghanistan's ongoing water challenges

Fieldwork in Afghanistan is not like most geology fieldwork. “When I landed, the first thing I had to do was to put on a bulletproof vest,” says Tom Mack. He was part of a U.S. Geological Survey team that evaluated water resources in the Kabul Basin, in the north-central part of eastern Afghanistan, a couple of years ago. “It was strange to wear the vest, but eventually you get used to it.” There was a lot to get used to, he says. No matter where Mack went, he had to get special permission to be there.

14 Jun 2010