Cassandra Bell Mrs. Ashley Bauer AP Seminar- 3 29 December 2018 The Environment of Global Relations International relations have brought about a new era known as the Anthropocene; “anthropo”, meaning human, and “-cene”, the typical suffix for “epoch” (“Welcome”). Though the beginning of the epoch is debated, most experts have decided that it either started at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s or with the start of the Atomic Age in the 1950s (Stromberg). Though the world has become increasingly unified, the science and technology developed for this unification such as new modes of transportation and the internet has impacted the environment negatively, to the point where many experts fear a sixth major extinction.
The advancements of technology that have occurred during the Anthropocene have led to increased benefits of global relations; however, this is coming at the expense of the environment. New and larger forms of transportation have increased trade and lessened travel times significantly, yet this has not been without consequences.
When the plane was developed, it radically changed global communication and trade.
Plane travel takes a matter of hours to go across an ocean, whereas ship travel typically takes four to five days; this makes plane travel much cheaper (Bailey). Freight ships are also used to transport imports and exports between nations, which are often too heavy or too large for plane transport. These ships are very large; “the Triple-E ship contains as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and has a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (BBC).
” This means that a lot more goods can be transported between nations than in the past, making trade more efficient. Advanced technologies increase global relations by making it easier to communicate with other locations without having to rely on travel or the mail system.
The Internet– “a means of communication that enables the publication, exchange, and storage of information” (Westcott)– was developed in 1969 for military and research purposes (Beginnings). In 2007, Maldives opened the world’s first virtual embassy, allowing new ways for governments to negotiate and have diplomatic representation, particularly in the case of small countries who otherwise may not have much impact on global affairs. In addition, the internet allows for the dissemination of information in real time, allowing Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) such as Greenpeace, which operate free of any one government, to influence international affairs and to offer solutions to an issue by an unbiased, expert source (Role).
Information and communication are not limited to governments and NGOs; most households today have a computer and thus can access a world of information. In 1984, only 8.4% of households had a computer, but by 2011, 75.6% of households did (US Census). The internet is used to connect people all over the world and has been proven to lower the costs of goods. Prior to the invention of the internet, a buyer was generally limited to buying goods locally. This made prices higher, as the market was very limited. With the invention of the internet, sellers must compete with each other across the world, thus lowering prices for buyers (Salmani). However, internet use wastes a lot of mostly not green energy (“Your Internet Use”). “Twenty milligrams of CO2 are generated every second that someone is using a simple website.
As a comparison, an air-freighted orange generates one million milligrams of carbon… there are 35 billion minutes logged online every month from users worldwide” (“Your Internet Use”). Although a single search on the internet isn’t very harmful on its own, since the internet went global, the effects of using it build up all around the world. “Computers themselves tend to create forty to eighty grams of emissions per hour throughout their electricity use”, and much of this electricity comes from fossil fuels (“Your Internet Use”).
Oil, coal, and gasoline are primarily used to fuel current technologies; these are limited resources that are being depleted rapidly. Although clean energy sources are being developed such as solar power and hydroelectricity, if they do not become the primary forms of energy, the world will run out of fossil fuels.
Oil reserves will run out by 2052, gas by 2060, and coal by 2088 (“End of Fossil Fuels”). In addition, the use of fossil fuels increases CO2 levels in the air and more CO2 in the air causes the temperature of the world to rise. Due to a phenomenon known as the Great Acceleration, which is a rapid post-1950s increase in human effects on the planet (“Welcome”), the global temperature is on track to have risen 5.4࿁C by 2100 (Carbon). This rise in temperature will lead to the melting of sea ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic, causing the sea levels to rise and flooding many coastal areas (“Welcome”). These sea levels will cause the extinction of many polar animals, such as penguins and polar bears. Fossil fuels also have short-term effects on the environment; in 2018, two cargo ships crashed in the Mediterranean sea, causing “an oil spillage that left a trail of pollution stretching 4km long and several hundred metres wide” (Hemanth). The most famous oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico, killed many animals.
The oil caused birds such as pelicans to be unable to fly or float and led to the birds ingesting the oil and dying, and additionally caused fish to die en mass (“FWS.gov”). The Copenhagen Accords, signed in 2009, was a first attempt to mitigate the global damage humans have caused. It is also proof science and technology are essential for successful global relations as 192 countries attended the negotiations. It was agreed to limit the damage from climate change by restricting CO2 in the air to below 450ppm (parts-per-million), causing the temperature to remain at 2࿁C above pre-industrial levels (Mallik).
The decarbonization agreed upon in the Accords, however, has not been met by many industrialized countries. In conclusion, global relations has many benefits that have resulted from the development of new technologies. Trade has benefited from technology and the internet has radicalized global relations, making it possible for smaller nations to be relevant; however, this technology comes with drawbacks. These repercussions can be mitigated by greater regulation of the use of fossil fuels and the development of cleaner energies. Nations have signed the Accords as pledges to make the world greener and help clear some of the CO2 from the air; however, many countries have not met the conditions of the accords. If fossil fuels are replaced with cleaner alternatives, then the CO2 levels in the atmosphere will decrease in accordance with the Copenhagen agreements. Without conservation efforts, the world in the future may be flooded, warm, and have fewer of the species we know today. (1120) Annotated Bibliography “The Anthropocene | Welcome.” Welcome to the Anthropocene, www.anthropocene.info/.
This website explains the Anthropocene: what it is, why it’s happening, and who it will affect. It explains that the Anthropocene is happening as a result of human activities and that because of the increase in human activity such as the use of fossil fuels, the Earth is hitting so-called “tipping points” for things such as CO2 in the air, warning that we may soon reach the point of no return as far as damage to the Earth. The website is partnered with and ran by many scientific institutes, such as the Stockholm Environment Institute, allowing for it to provide expert opinions. ‘Are Container Ships Getting Too Big?’. BBC News, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21432226.
This article shows that the new container ships, namely the “Triple-E” are getting larger than ever before. The ships can no longer fit in the Panama Canal, and the larger ships are beginning to cause issues; the wash can cause smaller ships in the harbor to break free. Despite this, the article also explains the benefits of the larger ships, such as the fact that they use less fuel than two smaller ships carrying the same amount of goods. As the BBC is a well-established newspaper company, this article is a good source about both the positives and negatives of needing ships this large for trade. Bailey, Victoria. “Compare Plane & Ship Travel.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 8 Feb. 2017, traveltips.usatoday.com/compare-plane-ship-travel-103896.html.
This article by the USA Today compares both ship and plane travel by cost, the time it takes to get to one’s destination, and safety measures. According to the article, planes are both cheaper and quicker to get to other continents when compared to ships. Though the article comes from the USA Today, which isn’t known for its reliable stories, and there are no works cited for the facts (though it does mention a statistic from the International Maritime Organization), the author of the article has been writing professionally for a decade and works for an organization outside of the USA Today, making this source at least semi-reliable. “Beginnings of the Internet.” Origins of the Internet, www.nethistory.info/History of the Internet/beginnings.html.
The Internet History Project, which runs the website “Beginnings of the Internet” is found on, was started by Internet historian Ian Peter, who found that much of the information about the beginnings of the Internet was vague and inaccurate. He later founded the Association for Progressive Communications, which established internet connections in multiple countries. “Beginnings of the Internet” is thus a very accurate and reliable site to get information about the original use and forms of the internet, helping to greater understand what the intent of the Internet was and how it went from a military advantage or a machine used by universities to the World Wide Web that most of the world uses today.
‘The End Of Fossil Fuels’. Ecotricity.Co.Uk, 2019, https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-green-energy/energy-independence/the-end-of-fossil-fuels. Ecotricity is an electricity company in Britain that is primarily used for clean energy sources such as solar panels. Thus, they may be biased about fossil fuels, as they are their direct competitor; however, because they would presumably be experts about energy sources such as solar panels and fossil fuels, their statistics about when the world will run out of fossil fuels are probably decently trustworthy. This article is about the fact that, if we continue using fossil fuels at our current rate, we will entirely run out by the 2080s. Fws.Gov, 2019, https://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill/pdfs/DHJICFWSOilImpactsWildlifeFactSheet.pdf. FWS is the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which is the agency responsible for taking care of fish and other wildlife and their habitats in the cases of disasters, in this case, oil spills.
This fact sheet is about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that occured in 2010. It discusses the facts of the oil spill and the impact of oil on various animals such as pelicans and fish. Because the US Fish and Wildlife Service are considered experts on the effects of oil on animals, these facts are trustworthy; however, they are slightly out of date, as they are eight years old. Hemanth. “Cargo Ships Collision Causes Oil Spill in Mediterranean Sea.” Ship Technology, 9 Oct. 2018, www.ship-technology.com/news/cargo-ships-collision-causes-oil-spill-mediterranean-sea/. This article discusses an oil spill caused by the collision of cargo ships in 2018.
It brings to mind the concerns that many have about large ships; they do not maneuver well, and so if they are en route for a crash (though they should be able to see each other coming), they may not have time to stop. The website and associated magazine is called Ship Technology; everything written on the website is related to ships, so one would assume that they’re somewhat trustworthy. However, their credentials and history cannot be determined, so it’s not entirely sure how valid their opinions are; however, the story can be trusted, as it was also published in other newspapers.
‘Information Provided By Parties To The Convention Relating To The Copenhagen Accord UNFCCC’. unfccc.Int, 2019, https://unfccc.int/process/conferences/pastconferences/copenhagen-climate-change-conference-december-2009/statements-and-resources/information-provided-by-parties-to-the-convention-relating-to-the-copenhagen-accord. This website marks down the history of the Copenhagen Accord, including the countries who signed it. The Copenhagen Accord was signed in 2009 by 114 countries; other countries later agreed to it, bringing the total to 141.
The Copenhagen Accords were created to try and prevent excessive global warming by trying to lower the CO2 in the air by reducing the use of fossil fuels; keeping the average temperature of the planet in the modern day to the agreed-upon goal of fewer than +2 degrees Celsius from the average temperature of the planet during pre-Industrial times. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) was created in 1992 by the UN in an attempt to keep the planet healthy, so this website is a very reliable source for the issue of climate change. Malik, Amitav. Role of Technology in International Affairs. Pentagon Press, 2016.
Amitav Malik has worked at the Indian Ministry of Defense since 1966. Ain 1988-1994, he served at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, which opened the way to cooperation between India and America for defense technologies. This benefitted global relations as his work led to a greater relationship between India and America. He has written five books about Technology and International Affairs; his work and research for the books have made him an expert on such things, making them a valid place to find information about International affairs.
Role of Technology in International Affairs is about the benefits of new technologies for global relations and the new problems that have resulted from them. US Census Bureau. “Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2016.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, United States Census Bureau, 20 Aug.2018, www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/acs/acs-39.html. The US Census Bureau is run by a sector of the government that gives the population a survey every few years to determine various things and data about the American population; in this case, computer use in the United States and how it has changed/increased over time. This is a viable source, as the government typically hires experts to predict and analyze the data and they don’t have anything to gain by inaccurately reporting the data.
However, the information is a bit out of date, as it is about three years old, and the predictions predate that. Nazarevich, Victor J. ‘The Sixth Species Extinction Event by Humans.’ Earth Common Journal 5.1 (2015). http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/a?id=1336 This journal article is about the many plants and animals that have been going extinct in recent years as a result of human activities such as deforestation for houses and farms, overhunting them for their fur and meat, and excess heat coming from the burning of fossil fuels. Most other epochs are marked by a great species extinction; however, most of them were a result of a natural disaster; this great extinction is caused by humans.
The author, Victor Nazarevich, is a student in the Bachelor of Science (Physical Sciences, Earth and Planetary Sciences) degree program at MacEwan University, so he is a trustworthy resource on Earth Science; however, if he had more tenure and a higher degree, that would aid his trustworthiness. Salmani, Behzad, et al.
“The Effect of the Internet on International Trade in Services: Developing Countries Case Study.” 7th International Conference on e-Commerce in Developing Countries: with Focus on e-Security, 2013, doi:10.1109/ecdc.2013.6556732. This study is about the effects of the internet, proving that the internet is beneficial for things such as trade and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Due to the existence of the internet, prices for many goods have gone down, as buyers are opened up to the entire world of sellers, whereas before, they were limited to sellers in their area. Unfortunately, this is limited to goods, as services must still be done in a limited area. However, because prices are going down, consumers can buy more, increasing GDP and population (people can afford to move into the country and raise children) and stimulating the economy for local services. Salmani works in the Department of Economics at Sabriz University in India; he has expertise in International Trade and Business, making him a trustworthy source for effects on International Trade. Stromberg, Joseph.
“What Is the Anthropocene and Are We in It?” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 1 Jan. 2013, www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-is-the-anthropocene-and-are-we-in-it-164801414/. This article explains what the Anthropocene in greater detail, as well as the controversy behind naming a new epoch, as the exact date of the beginnings of the Anthropocene and the endings of the Holocene (the previous epoch) is still heavily debated among scientists, as both the Industrial Revolution and the Atomic age, both commonly used as the beginnings of the Anthropocene, left marks on the rock strata, which is what is used to decide new epochs and eras. It finally concludes that the Anthropocene does exist, and marking it with a name helps the public to understand the effects that human activities are having on the environment, and as the Smithsonian is a well-established, trustworthy scientific source, this article is proof that the Anthropocene does, in fact, exist.
Westcott, Nicholas. “Digital Diplomacy: The Impact of the Internet on International Relations.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2008, doi:10.2139/ssrn.1326476. This article covers the effects of the internet on globalization and international relations. Due to the existence of the internet, communication is easier among other countries and new jobs have come into existence that would not have been possible without the internet, such as social media.
The author was the former Chief Informations Officer in London, so he is aware of the information needed for global relations and the impact of the internet on it; however, because the article was written over ten years ago and he is the former officer, his personal knowledge and any statistics in the article may be out of date by this point in time.
“Is Your Internet Use Destroying the Environment?” One Green Planet, 17 Dec. 2014, www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/is-your-internet-use-destroying-the-environment/.
One Green Planet’s main mission is to promote a healthier world through food choices, internet choices, and transportation choices. “Is Your Internet Use Destroying the Environment?” explains that the use of the internet, while seeming like it may be better for the environment, as things normally requiring transportation, such as going shopping and things requiring paper like banking can now be done without either of those, is actually bad for the environment due to the fact that the internet requires electricity, most of which comes from non-clean sources such as fossil fuels.
One Green Planet, however, appears to hire writers without degrees in the subjects they write about; while they cite studies from Harvard, many of their other citations lead to other magazines without qualifications.