A Satellite’s View of Ship Pollution and globalization

Cargo-Ship650The geographical hotspots of the world are all related to economic trade and global exchange of political interests. Places such as the Panama and Suez Canals have always been in the Western media. However, from an economic and strategic perspective, the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world in the 21st Century. The history of this Strait’s geopolitical relevance goes as back as 400 years of history.

For centuries the strait has been the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It has been controlled by the major regional powers and also by the mayor global power during different historical periods. In 2011 hundreds of thousands of containers in more than 60,000 vessels crossed its waters carrying about one-quarter of the world’s traded goods including oil, Chinese manufactures, and Indonesian coffee.

In order to understand which is the geopolitical importance of the Strait of Malacca for the Chinese government we need to overview the current geopolitical dynamics and economic investments in the region.

The following image from NASA clearly depicts what are some of the IMPRESSIVE negative externalities caused by the transport of global goods in the region and opens the door for discussing

  • How can we fix this?
  • Who should fix it?
  • Can it be fixed?
  • Can we reduce the future impacts in the area?
  • What solutions are available?
A Satellite’s View of Ship Pollution

Color bar for A Satellite’s View of Ship Pollution
acquired 2005 – 2012 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 1800×1800)

Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide pop out over certain shipping lanes in observations made by the Aura satellite between 2005-2012. The signal was the strongest over the northeastern Indian Ocean.

Data from the Dutch and Finnish-built Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite show long tracks of elevated nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels along certain shipping routes. NO2, is among a group of highly-reactive oxides of nitrogen, known as NOx, that can lead to the production of fine particles and ozone that damage the human cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Combustion engines, such as those that propel ships and motor vehicles, are a major source of NO2 pollution.

To learn some more on the importance of the Strait of Malacca and the value of this shipping lane you can read the essay I wrote titled “The Strait of Malacca as one of the most important geopolitical regions for the People’s Republic of China. Download (.pdf)

China & Global Oil

I am currently enrolled in the course “Oil, Power and Climate – A Global Perspective” with Dr. habil. Peter Gärtner who is an specialist in Global Studies, North-South relations, democratization, development theory and policy, law and globalization with a regional focus in Latin America.

As part of our initial discussions we were required to present a review of the current status of the main importers and exporters of oil.  My selection was China and its raising demand of energy resources in order to continue providing for the world the largest amount of goods ever made in history.  Indeed, the numbers I found of China were astounding and the forecast of its increase for the next ten years is even more astonishing.    As forecasts show, the United States is soon to lose its hegemonic position in the world as the largest economy due to the fact that since 2010 it was China the world’s largest energy consumer (and its growth continues to further grow).

For the last six months I have been paying much attention to literature in the Asia region and I have started to draw a new world map that has South East Asia and the Pacific at its core. I foresee a semester full of Asia related topics and I will most certainly enjoy focusing in that area.

I share with you the handout with the latest figures and updates on China that I prepared for a discussion.  The file is accessible online and can be downloaded as a PDF: http://issuu.com/condottiero/docs/oil-china-lgpr

Dec. 7, 1941. Pearl Harbor Attack Footage

Video of original footage of the Declaration of War to Japan

This footage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was shot by CWO4 Clyde Daughtry. The attack occured at exactly 7:55 a.m. Hawaii Time. The original footage has since been lost, and the poor quality of this footage is due to the fact that it is a copy, and believed to be the best remaining version of this film in existence. Among the many valuable portions of this footage are shots of USS Nevada (BB-36) underway and firing back at Japanese aircraft, USS Oglala (CM-4) rolling over and sinking, and USS St. Louis underway (CL-4). Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UM-10.

Where are the world’s biggest Chinese and Indian immigrant communities?

The Economist published a mind-blowing graphic depicting the migration of Chinese and Indian people around the world. The asses that “more Chinese people live outside mainland China than French people live in France, with some to be found in almost every country. Some 22m ethnic Indians are scattered across every continent.” More so, they emphasize that even though Diasporas have been a part of the world for millennia; their size and the ease of staying in touch with those at home are making them matter much more with the emergence of social network online technologies.

World's top 20 destinations for Chinese and Indian migrants

Now, this is once again part o the large “discourse of newness” that embeds great part of current mainstream history.  This is something that has been denied and discussed by Prof. Adam McKeown in the article “Article: Global Migration, 1846–1940” who claims after doing a extensive research of migration from China and India during the 19th Century that the amount of immigrants and the global effect it had is comparable (and at some points superior) to the more known Atlantic migration from Europe to America. I strongly suggest you checking the Article by Prof. McKeown an check also Dr. Dirk Hoerder great book titled: Cultures in Contact in case you are interested in this subject.

Friday Book Review: “1493” by Charles C. Mann

Reviewed by Marek Kohn, Financial Times

“In hindsight, 1492 might have been a good point at which to reset the calendar. Traditionally, the year in which Columbus discovered America is seen as the moment Europe began to shape a New World. Today it looks more like the start of a process that has stitched the drifting continents back together: 1492 was the Year Zero of globalisation, and 1493 was Year One.”

Read More: “1493” – book review at FT.com