Michael Klare’s “The Race for What’s Left”

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.

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