Sunday, July 6, 2008

Political - Environment

Political Significance of Earth Observation

Carthographer: Viktor Novikov, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
(Yellow is areas under environmental stress and the circled areas are given priority. Click on image for further explanations and enlargement)

Environment and security priority areas in Eastern Europe.

"Environmental problems often compound external security tensions and worsen internal security challenges in Eastern Europe. Of particular concern are environmental hazards concentrated along national borders (including the borders with the EU, Russia and borders between the three countries). The circled areas are those with highest risk."

Energy - environment - security interactions

" Recently energy demand in the region has reached and surpassed the 1991 level at the same time as the world oil prices have increased dramatically. Russia, for its part, has started a reappraisal of the political and economic costs and benefits of providing indirect energy subsidies. These factors are forcing the three countries to urgently rethink their energy supply options."

It is clear in this example from Central and Eastern Europe, how important earth observation is as a tool to manage environmental, energy and security politics.

Monitoring climate change (earth observation) has the same importance today as in ancient times. Yes, you read me right. In ancient times the Chinese Emperors, for one, took a personal interest in meteorological data (earth observation). It was important for an Emperor to be prepared for bad harvests and other disasters because they meant he would be held responsible. Why is this fact not evident for todays leaders?

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