New Promises, New Dangers
Buckyballs. Quantum dots. Golden triangles. Organic light-emitting diodes. Welcome to the world of nanotechnology–the engineering of new materials and new products at the infinitesimally small, or nano, scale. Virtually every large corporation now has a nanotechnology operation. The US government is putting in serious investment. Huge promises are held out in the fields of medicine, energy, computing. But there is little public debate, no regulatory framework and little research into the health, environmental or safety implications. This book explains the fast moving world of the new technology and who controls it. It explores the potential consequences for individuals, the environment and relations between the powers. Nanotechnology could bridge or widen the gap between rich and poor–this is the political decision that civil society must address.
Politics, Poverty and the Planet
Access to oil and natural gas, and their prices, have been axes of geo-political and economic strategy for a century. This book gives readers all they need to understand the shifting structure of the global oil and gas economy-where the reserves lie, who produces what, trade patterns, consumption trends, prices. It highlights the domestic inequality, civil conflict and widespread poverty that dependence on oil exports inflicts on developing countries and the strategies of wealthy countries (especially the United States) to control oil-rich regions. Energy demand is on a strong upward trend, and the reality of the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels cannot be doubted. What are the likely human consequences? And what is to be done? Are alternative energy sources a panacea? Or will the much vaunted hydrogen economy still be based on oil, natural gas and coal?