The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources
by Michael T. Klare
Metropolitan Books, 2012, 306 pages
When I mentioned to a friend that I was reviewing Michael Klare’s new book, his response, which I found surprising, was: “What’s Klare got to say that Richard Heinberg didn’t say a long time ago?”
Actually, I wasn’t really that surprised. The idea of “peak oil,” the field wherein Heinberg made his name, has largely passed – at least within greenie circles – into a larger and more metaphorical notion of “peak everything.” Moreover, “peak everything” has itself become a kind of common sense, and thus (like all common sense) a bit of a danger. An opportunity, if nothing else, for unfocused, slack thinking.
So, does Klare bring anything new to the table? The answer, I’m afraid, is “yes and no.”
Klare, like Heinberg, is a “peak everything” guy. He’s talking about the whole range of fossil fuels — gas, oil, and coal, in both conventional and unconventional forms. And he’s talking lumber; and foods of all sorts; and iron, copper, tin and the other standard metals; and specialty metals like tantalum and platinum; and “rare earths” like neodymium and lanthanum (think “Prius”); and nuclear fuels like uranium; and just about everything else.