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MP #21: Supply chains in flux, climate change... bad, Ukraine-Russia

Moving Parts
MP #21: Supply chains in flux, climate change... bad, Ukraine-Russia
By Trey • Issue #21 • View online
I feel like every week I could begin this with “…it’s been a week”. And the saying would ring true. Alas, it’s been… a month.
There’s been plenty of interesting stories, but I think a lot of them revolve around ongoing crises.

Climaaaaaate Change
First up, we have everyone’s now-forgotten-about crisis of climate change (and that’s the reason for it going first). I’m finding it fascinating how geopolitical crisis (Russia-Ukraine) is reinforcing and accelerating trends in the energy transition: Europe is trying to get off oil and gas - to some extent - to reduce their reliance on Russia, whereas the US (and Canada) are trying to maintain their fossil fuel usage, which is… causing issues.
Alas, Emily Atkin and Caitlin Looby are out in GQ with a fantastic piece that illustrates the differences between 1.5 degrees C of warming and 2 degrees C of warming. It’s a phenomenally emotional piece, but well worth a read"
The question is no longer “How can we fix climate change?” It’s “How much irreversible planetary damage are we willing to accept in order to continue extracting and burning fossil fuels?”
There’s been quite a lot of other climate news lost in the other news cycles of the past few weeks, but I just want to stress how fascinating it is to see people always resort to some kind of “now is not the time” to be making changes or sacrifices to better climate change outcomes. It’s exactly the time, and it needs to be managed thoughtfully to try and avoid the worst impacts - environmentally, financially, and in terms of security outcomes. As the effects become more acute, states will become (more) destabilized, and impacts to infrastructure will make life extremely difficult in regions where it hasn’t been in the past.
Supply Chain... Issues
There is a lot to say here, but basically, I’m of the opinion that things will never “get back to normal”. That’s a fantasy.
I find it fascinating to hear stories about why something is going up in price, and for people to blame it on some sort of strange reason. A lot of it is simply to due with the fact that there are still, immense disruptions ongoing on all sorts of supply chains, whether due to geopolitical issues, climate change, the pandemic, or some other far off issue! It’s all connected. A reduction in (natural/methane) gas available in the market (from Russia, for example) leads to an increase in the cost of (natural/methane) gas, which drives an increase in the cost of production of fertilizer, aluminum, and other heavy industry, which… drives up the cost of food & pretty much everything else. These are all systemic issues, and they almost need a sort of ‘industrial policy’ to be dealt with appropriately.
Security 😎🌎
There’s a… lot that could be written in this section. The world going through a period of de-hegemonification, but at the same time the US (and Canada) leading… relatively well(?) on the great power competition front. In addition, there’s been lots of conversations about countries in NATO trying to hit their 2% GDP military contribution target. Canada decided on which warplanes it’s buying (what a can of worms that one was!). Canada extended its mission in Iraq. There’s been some great conversations about policing, its role in society, and what social order it enforces, following the occupation of Ottawa - which I’m sure will be the target of numerous reviews over the next few years.
I don’t have much else to say here, not because there hasn’t been a lot of reporting on this topic - but because there’s been a plethora. Better yet, it’s what I’m planning on studying in the next few years: I’ve accepted my offer to join Carleton’s Master of Infrastructure Protection and International Security program this fall. Should be exciting and engaging, and I’m looking forward to being in the nation’s capital once again.
That’s all for this week. I hope you’re staying safe, reading a good book or watching some good TV!
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