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Topic 1: Energy Insecurity

What do I need to know?
 How energy sources can be classified and the advantages and disadvantages of these
 Reasons for global variations in energy access and consumption
 Factors effecting energy security – California Case Study
 Impact of growing global energy demand e.g. China case Study
 Impact of geopolitics on energy security
 Energy pathways  problems with these – Trans-Siberian Pipeline
 How energy supplies can be disrupted e.g. Russia
 Environment impacts of looking for more energy e.g. Tar Sands in Canada, Arctic Oil
 Who they key players are in supplying future oil – OPEC, TNCs - Gazprom
 Why we are uncertain about the future of energy
 The advantages and disadvantages of the possible futures
 How energy insecurity will lead to geopolitical tensions e.g. USA involvement in Middle East,
China and India
 How can meet our future energy needs?

Key Terms
Energy Pathways Supply routes between energy producers and consumers e.g. pipelines or shipping
Energy Poverty When a country or region has insufficient access to reliable sources of power
Energy Security This is vital to the functioning of any economy – any country that is self-sufficient in
energy resources will be secure
Energy surplus When a country or region has more than enough sources of power for its needs
and is able to export its surplus power to other countries
Geopolitics Political relations among nations, particularly relating to claims and disputes
regarding boarders and resources
Low-carbon standard Initiative introduced in California in 2007 aimed to reducing the carbon intensity of
transportation fuel by 10% by 2020
OPEC The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries e.g. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait
Peak Oil The year in which the world or an individual oil-producing country reaches its
highest level of production, production declines after
Security Premium The extra cost built into the price of oil to allow for any disruption in supply
Strategic Something that is done as part of a plan that is meant to achieve a particular
purpose or to gain an advantage
Supply shock A significant interruption to supply due to an environmental, economic or political
Tar Sands Naturally occurring mixtures of sand or clay, water and dense form of petroleum
called bitumen
Energy crisis A serious shortage of energy which interrupts domestic supplies and impacts on all
sectors of the economy
Environmental impact Details all of the impacts on the environment of an energy type or another project
assessment above a certain size
Fossil fuels Fuels consisting of hydrocarbons (coal, oil and natural gas) formed by the
decomposition of prehistoric organisms
Renewable resources Sources of energy such as solar and wind power that are not depleted as they are
Strategic Petroleum The USA’s reserve supply of oil which should last for about 3 months in the event of
Reserve severe interruptions to imported oil
Energy infrastructure The built environment constructed for the exploration, development and production
of energy, and all the networks
Energy TNCs Transnational corporations that specialise in the exploration, development,
production and sale of energy products
Resource When a country decides to place part or all of one or a number of natural resources
nationalisation e.g. oil under state ownership
Carbon credit A permit that allows an organisation to emit a specified amount of greenhouse
Carbon Trading A company that does not use up the level of emissions it is entitled to can sell the
remainder to another company
Coal gasification A process which converts solid coal into a gas that can be used for power
Green taxation Taxes levied to discourage behaviour that will be harmful to the environment
Microgeneration Generators producing electricity with an output of less than 50KW

How energy sources can be classified and the advantages

and disadvantages of these
The main way to classify energy is between renewable, non-renewable and recyclable sources
Renewable = can be used over and over again e.g. wind and solar power (also known as FLOW
Non-renewable = these are finite resources so as they are used up the stock that remains behind is
reduced (also known as STOCK RESOURCES)
Recyclable resources = fuel that has been used once can be used again to generate power e.g. nuclear
reprocessing can make uranium waste reusable
Energy source Type Issues
Coal Non-renewable  Releases large amounts of Co2 contributing to
climate change e.g. 2 billion tonnes from USA
plants per year
 Carbon capture technology to remove Co2 is
Natural Gas Non-renewable  Releases Co2 on use
 Issues of security of supply
Nuclear Non-renewable (may be  Health risks and accidents e.g. Chernobyl
recyclable)  Disposal of radioactive material an issue
Oil Non-renewable  Global supplies may have reached their peak
 Release Co2 when burnt
Solar Renewable  Availability varies across the globe
 Expensive compared with fossil fuels
Tidal Renewable  Only certain locations suitable
 Technology for large-scale generation unproven
Wind Renewable  Only certain locations suitable
 Wind energy is variable so hard to manage power
Biomass Renewable  Acts as a carbon sink so combustion releases
carbon dioxide
 Limited potential for large sale generation
Geothermal Renewable  Availability limited to a few locations e.g. Iceland
Hydro-electricity Renewable and recyclable  Large scale schemes are expensive
 Dam building creates wide scale flooding

China, Canada,
In 2007
Russia world
of 40%
= 30.8%
Brazil and
leader atUSA
of oilinproduction
world’s 2007
23.6% for 46%
USA America
ofGermany, total
= 16.5%
Saudi Arabia dominates
and Spain
account for  12.6% of world’s
58% globally
Russia accounts for over ½ of
production for Europe and
Reasons for global variations in energy access and
Distribution of energy reserves:

Why energy supply varies:

1) Physical:
 Deposits of fossil fuels are only found in a limited number of places
 Solar power needs a large number of days a year with strong sunlight
 Large power stations require flat land and stable foundations
1) Economic
 Onshore deposits of oil and gas are cheaper to develop then offshore deposits
 In poor countries foreign direct investment is essential to develop energy resources
 Most accessible and low cost deposits of fossil fuels are developed first
1) Political
 Countries wanting to develop nuclear power need to gain permission from the International
Atomic Energy Agency NICs:
 International agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol can influence energy decisions
➢ China accounts for 1/3rd
 HEP schemes on ‘international’ rivers require the agreement of all countries that share the
of the growth in global oil
demand since 2000
➢ Demand for oil in China
is expected to rise by 5-
Energy consumption 7% year
Developing Countries:
➢ Most are struggling to pay for their energy
MEDCs: requirements
➢ The USA shows huge demands for ➢ Energy demand is influenced by rate of economic
energy resources development and rate of population growth
➢ Germany and UK have improved their ➢ In the world 2 billion people lack access to household
energy efficiency resulting in a modest electricity
increase in demand compared with ➢ Traditional biomass in these countries accounts for
NICs 90% of total energy consumption

It is important to note that the use of energy in all countries has changed over time due to:
Technological developments  nuclear power only been available since 1954
Increasing national wealth  incomes increase resulting in increasing use of energy
Changes in demand  Britain’s trains were powered by coal
Changes in price  Electricity production in UK switched from coal to gas power stations are they
are cheaper to run
Environmental factors/public opinion  can influence decisions made by governments

Factors effecting energy security

Energy security has a number of risks:
1) Physical – exhaustion of reserves or disruption of supply lines
2) Environmental – Protests about environmental change caused by exploitation of energy resources
3) Economic – sudden rises in costs of energy forcing increased imports of higher-priced energy
4) Geopolitical – political instability in energy-producing regions

The energy security of a country can be measured using the ‘Energy Security Index’ (ESI). This is
based upon:
- Availability – the amount of a country’s domestic oil and gas supplies and its level of reliance on
imported resources
- Diversity – the range of energy resources used
- Intensity – the degree to which the economy of a country is dependent on oil and gas
The higher the index, the lower the risk and therefore the greater the energy security
Case Study: Energy Security Issues: California Case Study
Largest state in the USA
Lowest per capita energy consumption rate in the USA due to mild weather
16% of USA oil reserves, but only 3% of gas reserves
Produces 5% of USA total electricity
More motor vehicles that any other state

Why is the USA in energy crisis?

1) Consumption  In 2007 USA consumed 23.8% of the world’s oil
2) Reliance on imports  Between 1960 and 2003 USA’s reliance on imported gas and oil increased
by 18% to 58%
 9/11 terrorist attack highlight concerns on dependence on imports from the Middle East
1) Price  In 2006 the price of oil had risen from $20 to $60 per barrel . In 2008 the oil was
2) Reserves of fossil fuels are being to run out  reserves should last for between 40-65 years
3) Global sources of energy are unevenly distributed  most are concentrated in politically unstable
parts of the world
4) Demand for energy is increasing  the growth of economies in China and India has meant more
competition for resources

So why is California suffering an energy crisis?

Due to the fact that the US energy market is privatised the market is driven by the desire to make most
profit. Between June 2000 and May 2001 California experienced a series of blackouts due to various
a. The weather:
 2000 was the 3rd years of drought so less surplus energy due to lack of hydro-electricity from
surrounding states
 Summer was very hot so increased demand for air-conditioning
 Winter was unusually cold so increased need for heating
a. Insufficient generating capacity strong anti-pollution laws in the 1970s meant energy companies
were unwilling to build new power stations that were expensive
b. Limited capacity of power lines to important more electricity
c. Eron  used supply and demand to ensure energy prices remained high enough when supply was

Therefore the two major power companies in California were forced to shut off electricity supplies to
conserve limited stocks

Impact of growing global energy demand e.g. China case

• In 2001, China accounted for 10% of global energy demand, in 2007 it was 15%
• Per capita energy demand is still relatively small due to its huge population (e.g. 2006 consumed less
than 7 million barrels/day a 1/3rd of USA)
• Controls 3% of world oil reserves (enabled China to be self-sufficient until 1995)

Causes of rising demand:

1. Since 1949 China has been a communist country separate from the rest of the world, however in
1986 the government developed an ‘Open-Door Policy’ to overseas investment.
2. 1990s became more of a capitalist economy allowing individuals to accumulate wealth = still not a
free-market economy as most companies are state owned (LINK TO SUPERPOWER UNIT)
3. Rising energy demand is due to both economic growth and the demands of the new industry but
also rapid urbanisation and growing car ownership
• Rural-urban migration in China is 8.5 million people per year (45million expected to move to
the cities by 2012)
• Car ownership to grow from 16 cars per 1000 people in 2002, to 267 cars per 1000 people in
2030 (by 2020 expected to have 140 million private cars on the road)
• Only uses 10% of its energy for transport currently but will need huge amounts in the future

Where does the energy come from?

Coal – Relies on coal for 70% of its electricity generation and the huge demand means China is building on
average 3 coal-fired power stations a week. Creates environmental problems for them e.g. Beijing
Olympics. Majority of the coal is located in the north and west, whilst industry is located in the south and
HEP – Accounts for 16% of china’s energy production e.g. Three Gorges Dam and China aims to build
HEP dams on all of its major rivers
Oil – Oil production has now peaked and exploration into offshore fields has begun, however territorial
disagreements in the South China Sea is making this difficult  importing more oil

China’s energy security problems matter to the rest of the world due to its size and the impact that an
increase in demand would have on everyone else. However is energy dependency is only 12% compared
with USA of 40% and Japan of 80%.

Potential Exam Question: Discuss how far economic development can be affected by energy
security (15 marks)

Impact of geopolitics on energy security

Energy security demands on resource availability, both domestic and foreign, and security of supply. It can
be affected by geopolitics because there is little excess capacity to ease pressure on energy supplies if
supply becomes disrupted. For example, following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the Arab nations reduced the
supply of oil to the USA and Western Europe to reduce their support for Israel – this created a serious
energy shortage.

Since then in 1977 the USA construction a ‘Strategic Petroleum Reserve’ with the initial aim to store 1
billion barrels of oil which could be used in the event of supply issues.

Energy pathways  problems with these

Energy pathways between producers and consumers highlight the considerable levels of risk involved
in the energy industry.

Oil has a complex global pattern of PATHWAYS and PLAYERS (exporters and importers).
• The Middle East exports around 15 000 barrels per day, mainly to Japan, Europe and CHINA.
• Substantial amounts flow from Africa, Canada and South and Central America TO the USA.
• Russia supplies some oil to CHINA, but the bulk of its exports now head to Europe.

Gas pathways are different in that they tend to be localised and regional rather than global.
Traditionally gas is transported through pipelines, whereas oil has been transported by ship.
A possible future is that as movement through pipeline becomes less dependable (for political reasons);
there will be a switch towards shipping gas in tankers as LNG.

Physical and human causes of disruption:

• Long running tensions in the Middle East e.g. destruction of oil wells during Iraq war consumed
6 million barrels of oil a day for 8 months
• Hurricane Katrina in 2005 affecting oil production and refining in the Gulf of Mexico causing oil
and petrol prices to rise
• In 2005 – explosions and fires at Buncefield Oil Storage Depot destroyed fuel worth £10 million.
It supplies Heathrow and as a result had to ration fuel
• 2006 and 2008 disputes between Russian and Ukraine disrupted gas supplies to Western

Trans-Siberian Pipeline

project was proposed in 1978 as an export
pipeline from Russia to Europe. The pipeline
was constructed in 1982-1984. The pipeline runs
from Siberia's gas field to Uzhgorod in Western
Ukraine. From there, the natural gas is
transported to Central and Western European countries. Trans-Alaskan pipeline crosses 3 mountain
ranges and several large rivers. In these areas there are issues of permafrost and to avoid this pipelines
are build above ground

How energy supplies can be disrupted e.g. Russia

• Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been high
since 2004, when pro-Western forces led by President
Viktor Yushchenko won control of the government over
Viktor Yanukovych, a Moscow ally. Russia also opposes
Ukraine’s desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization and the EU.
• The EU gets a quarter of its gas supplies from Russia -
80% of which passes through Ukraine

What sparked the crisis?

• Ukraine and Russia have faced negotiations over the renewal of gas supply contracts every year, but
by midnight on 31 December 2008 they had failed to agree on the price Kiev should pay in 2009.
• This has happened 3 times before but this year, gas supplies were completely halted from 7 January,
after Russia accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas meant for European customers, leaving more than a
dozen countries without their expected supplies of Russian gas.
• The European Union called the supply cut "completely unacceptable", demanded immediate restoration
and entered into shuttle diplomacy between Kiev and Moscow.
• A deal reached on 12 January, whereby EU and Russian observers would monitor supplies across
Ukraine collapsed within hours. The EU said both sides had failed to meet its terms.
• The two countries also failed to agree on a price Russia would pay Ukraine for gas transit to Europe.

• Some, like Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia, are almost completely dependent on supplies via Ukraine and
so were left with major shortages, during a very cold spell in Europe.
• In the meantime European countries had to shut down industrial plants and domestic heating systems,
find alternative sources of gas or switch energy plants to oil. Schools were shut and people had to
revert to using log fires to heat their homes.

Europe’s energy security – should they be worried?

The amount of gas Russia supplies to Europe means that any disruptions have large-scale impacts

Even during the Cold war the supply of Russian gas was stable and the Europe is now looking to enhance
its energy security through:
• Reducing its dependence on Russia—building of the South Caucasus pipeline supplying gas from
Azerbaijan via Turkey, bypassing Russian territory altogether
• Press Russia and Ukraine to sign long-term contracts, with accepted pricing formulae, similar to
those that Gazprom already has with most EU countries.
• Diversify its sources of energy, something that it must do anyway if it is to meet its ambitious
climate-change targets.
Potential Exam Question: Russia uses its oil and gas as a political and economic weapon. Discuss

Environment impacts of looking for more energy

Tar Sands in Canada

This place contains up to 2.5 trillion barrels of oil – that is more than
Saudi Arabia’s reserves

Oil sands are made of sand, water and a hydrocarbon tar called
bitumen. Since the rising oil prices and technological advances they
have now become more feasible to extract.

Alberta’s tar sands produced a million barrels of oil a day in 2003 and
expected to reach 3.5 million a day by 2011. By 2030 they aim to
produce at least 5 million a day and export the surplus.

 Oil in the shale is not easily separated out so immense amount of heat is needed usually through
burning natural gas
 Process uses huge amounts of water e.g. every barrel of oil produced requires 4 barrels of water.
The water then also becomes polluted where is can damage ecosystems
 Issue of disposing of the shale once the oil has been removed
 Very expensive and only viable when oil costs over $30 a barrel (costs $15 per barrel compared
with $2 for convectional crude oil)
 Processes tar sands are a large source of greenhouse gas emissions
 470km2 of forest have been removed and lakes of toxic waste cover 130km2

✔ Alternative source of oil during times of political or access issues
✔ By 2030 the tar sands could meet 16% of North America’s demand for oil ENERGY SECURITY
✔ Provide additional source of energy until more renewable sources can be found
✔ Mining companies are required to replant land disturbed by mining
✔ Oil is vital to Canada’s economy (2007= 20% of exports)

Players involved:
1. Canada and Venezuela (countries containing Tar Sands
2. TNCs e.g. Shell and BP
3. Alberta Energy Research Institute
4. Environmental groups e.g. Greenpeace
5. Local people (those employed by the companies or those affected by pollution)

Arctic Oil
This place is estimated to contain up to 25% of the world’s
undiscovered oil and natural gas. Issue regarding who can lay
claim to which parts of the ocean – Russia has claimed nearly
half of the Arctic but other interested parties e.g. USA, Norway
failed to uphold their claim.

 Oil companies have already destroyed large parts of
Alaska and Siberia so should be kept out of the Arctic
 New oil rush in the Arctic is only possible because of the
increased shrinking of the polar ice cap due to global
 The Arctic is a pristine environment containing over 45
species of land and marine animals
 Issue over who has the right to claim ownership of the natural resources – countries who have been
conflicting over this have now agreed to sign the UN Law of the Sea Convection stating the 8 Arctic
states are allowing to exploit offshore resources within 200 nautical miles of their territory

✔ At around $70 per barrel it makes drilling in the Arctic viable. (2007 prices reached $100).
✔ Contains up to 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas

Players involved:
1. Arctic States – USA, Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland
2. UN – will decide the control of the Arctic by 2020
3. Local people
4. Environmental Pressure groups

Who they key players are in supplying future oil

Energy TNCs e.g. Shell
Historically the energy industries have been dominated by large TNCs such as Shell but the power of the
TNCs has been challenged by OPEC and recently national energy companies. This is due to the fact that
TNCs have come under attack from environmental groups and companies like BP have worked hard to
establish a positive public image through investments in renewable energies.
Shell consists of a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies with a strategy to reinforce their
position as a leader in the oil and gas industry in order. One of their focuses has been to explore for new oil
and gas reserves.
Key Facts:
 Produce 2% amount of world’s oil
 Produce 3% amount of world’s gas
 3.1 million barrels of gas and oil every day
 $2 billion spent on CO2 and renewable energy technologies over the last 5 years.
 In 2009 greenhouse gas emissions were approximately 35% below 1990 levels.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a
permanent intergovernmental organization of 12 oil-exporting
developing nations

OPEC was formed in 1960 to protect the interests of oil-producing

companies and have formed what some view as a CARTEL. Its sets
oil production quotas for its members in response to economic growth
rates and demand-and-supply conditions. It therefore aims to ensure
fair and stable prices for its members.

At the end of 2006, the OPEC members had over 78% of the world’s total oil reserves and they produce
around 45% of the world’s crude oil and 18% of its natural gas.

OPEC is criticised that it controls the price of oil as it is worried that increasing the supply of oil would mean
investors would stop investing causing a collapse in the price.

Why we are uncertain about the future of energy

It is hard to predict energy demand as it is strongly affected by economic growth rates, conservation of
resources and the pace at which the world can switch to renewable sources of power. It is thought that
world oil demand will grow by 32% by 2020 and global gas demand by 48%.

The issue of Peak Oil:

The International Energy Agency predicted peak oil production to occur between 2013 and 2037, whilst
USA Geological Survey predicted it is at least 50 years away.

The advantages and disadvantages of the possible futures

Business as usual
If we do nothing forecasts predict that by 2030:
 Global primary energy demand will rise by 53%
 Fossil fuels will remain the dominant source of energy worldwide
 Emissions from electricity generation will account for 44% of energy-related emissions
 Over 70% increase in the energy demand will come from developing countries due to rapid
economic growth and population growth

 By 2008, 439 nuclear reactors were supplying 15% of the world’s electricity
 Does not produce greenhouse gas emissions
 Uranium is relatively cheap to mine and reserves should last around 150 years
 Very cost effective to transport as only used in small quantities
 Produces 1% of global electricity supply
 1986 Chernobyl incident highlights the issues
 Very expensive to build – several billion pounds
 Nuclear waste disposal is an issue as it remains radioactive for 10,000 years

Renewable energy with the emphasis on wind power

 Costs of generating wind today are about 10% of what they were 20 years ago
 In some areas first generation wind turbines are being replaced with modern turbines which give
better performance
 NIMBY – people are concerned that the turbines could blight their homes and views
 Turbines can kill birds
 Suitable areas are often near the coast where land is expensive

Energy Conservation
a) Combined Heat and Power (CHP)  power stations waste 65% of the heat they generate but CHP
plants can be up to 95% efficient as they can use different fuels in the same boiler including
biomass but also cut emissions and reduce fuel dependency
b) Green Taxation  aimed at cutting the use of natural resources and encouraging recycling. E.g.
road tax increase in 2010 will see 9.4 million motorists pay more road tax aimed to punishing
heaviest polluting cars. The government will receive more that £1billion in additional revenue.

How energy insecurity will lead to geopolitical tensions

USA Involvement in the Middle East

In March 2003 USA and allied forces invaded Iraq (4th largest oil reserves in the world); the then leader was
considered to pose a threat to the security of Western oil supplies in the Middle East as he was making
deals with Russian and Chinese oil companies. Before the invasion the USA put pressure on Iraq to admit
it had stockpiled weapons of mass destructions or faces military action. The USA goal in invading Iraq was
to reduce its dependence on Saudi Arabia for oil and increase its energy security by introducing a new
supplier, Iraq. The USA hoped that its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan would democratise the Middle
East. However, America is excluded from deals between Russia, China and Iran and is fighting hard to
secure oil by means of energy pathways running through friendly countries.

China vs. India

India’s demand for energy has grown due to high economic growth rates, lack of energy-efficient
technologies, reliance on heavy industry and widespread power stealing. In 2005 oil imports accounted for
2/3rds of India’s oil consumption and China is seen to be much more energy secure than India. In terms of
investment India is also behind with only $3.5nillion in overseas exploration compared with $40 billion made
by China. Various policies have been introduced:
 India will have to rely on imported oil and gas in the short term  required increased diplomacy with
South Asia etc
 Investing in offshore gas fields in Vietnam
However, India has strained relations with energy suppliers and the countries that the supplies have to
pass through.

How can meet our future energy needs?

Emissions controls – Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Countries are required to achieve specific reductions in their greenhouse emissions (average of 5% against
1990 levels by 2012). The USA refused to sign
Emissions trading – EU emission Trading Scheme meant that heavy industrial plants have to buy permits
to emit greenhouse gases over the limit they are allowed by government. Under the Kyoto Protcol carbon
emissions are now tracked and traded like a commodity so that any excess reductions can be sold in the
‘carbon market’
Green taxes – Taxes on individuals for using air transport and pollution charges on companies. Other
ideas are aimed to reduce energy consumption such as removing stamp duty on carbon neutral homes
Offshore wind turbines – Building offshore costs at least 50% more than on land but wind speeds are
generally double those on land so they can generate more electricity.
Carbon storage – this involves capturing the carbon dioxide released by burning coal and burying it deep
underground, but it is not proved that the carbon dioxide will actually stay underground and it is very
Geothermal – In the Philippines 25% of the electricity is generated from underground heat which is free
and available all day. However, the heat is often too deep to be economical.
Bio fuels – algae – There are 3 main types; crops e.g. grasses, sugar, trees and algae. Algae are hard to
grow but produce oil that requires less refining before it becomes a bio fuel.

What types of questions have been asked?

Study Figure 1.
(Explain why oil exploration in the areas shown could lead to high economic and environmental costs. (10)
Assess the relative importance of named players in the global supply of energy. (15)

The development of alternative energy sources is a possible response to future energy demands. Assess
the possible costs and benefits of this approach. (15)

Explain how the world price of oil has a major impact on oil exploration by TNCs and governments (10)

Assess the potential environmental, economic and political risks in exploiting new energy resources (15)
Suggest how the contrasting distribution/pattern of major oil exporters and importers shown in Figure 1
could affect the energy security of some nations. (10)

Study Figure 1.
Suggest the possible environmental consequences of the changes in electricity consumption shown. (10

Assess the degree of uncertainty over future global sources of energy supply (15 marks)
Topic 2: Water Conflicts

What do I need to know?

 Physical factors affecting water supply – Climate, river systems and Geology  Example of
California to support
 How water stress can occur – Agriculture, Industry, Domestic use and supply  Examples of
China and India to support 3
 How Human activity can make water stress worse – pollution, over extraction and salt water
 How water supply is linked to development Water Poverty Index – examples of Canada and
 Aral Sea case study – role of different key players here and impacts
 Conflicts over the same water source – examples of Middle East, Ganges and Nile
 Geopolitics of water supply within a country – example of Colorado River Basin USA and
Helsinki Rules
 What water future are going to be
 How different key players opinions on future water usage may conflict
 Dams as a solution – example of 3 Gorges Dam, China. Impacts of these
 Water transfer schemes as a solution. Learn the pros and cons of 2 of China transfer, Ebro
River, Snowy Mountain or Turkey to Israel
 How Restoration can solve the problems – example of River Kissimmee and Aral sea
 Role of Water Aid ( NGO) in solving problems
 How we can conserve water
 Role of technology in solving future problems e.g. desalinisation, drip irrigation, GM crops
Key Terms
Aquifer A rock, such as chalk, which will hold water and let it through
Arid and semi-arid Describe conditions where rainfall is less than 250mm and 500mm of precipitation
per year respectively
Desalination The conversion of salt water into fresh water
Drought An extended period of abnormally dry weather that causes water shortages and crop
damage. A drought starts when total rainfall is well below average for several
El Nino A southerly warm ocean current, which develops off the coast of Ecuador, it is
associated with major variations in tropical climates
Groundwater All water found under the surface of the ground which is not chemically combined
with any minerals present, but not including underground streams
High pressure A region of high atmospheric pressure, otherwise known as an anticyclone
Infiltration The process of the water entering rocks or soil
Irrigation The supply of water to the land by means of channels, streams and sprinklers in
order to permit the growth of crops
La Nina An extensive cooling of the central and eastern Pacific. Globally La Nina means that
parts of the world that normally experience dry weather will be drier and those with
wet weather will be wetter.
Percolation The filtering of water downwards through soil and through bedding planes, joints and
pores of a permeable rock
Potential The amount of evaporation and transpiration that can occur given a sufficient supply
Evapotranspiration of water
Precipitation The deposition of moisture from the atmosphere onto the Earth’s surface in form of
rain, hail, snow, frost or sleet
Prevailing Most frequent, most common
Privatisation The sale of a business/industry so that it is no longer owned by the government
Rain shadow An area of relatively low rainfall to the lee side of uplands (sheltered from winds).
The incoming air has been forced to rise over the highlands causing precipitation on
the windward side
Relief Rainfall This forms when moisture-laden air masses are forced to rise over ground. The air
is cooled, the water vapour condenses, and precipitation occurs
Riparian Relating to a river bank. Owners of land crossed or bounded by a river have
‘riparian’ rights to use the river
Spatial imbalance The uneven distribution/location across a landscape or surface of e.g. population
Stream flow The flow of water in streams, rivers and other channels.
Surface runoff The movement of over ground of rainwater. It occurs when the rainfall is very heavy
and when the rocks and soil can absorb no more
Urbanisation The migration of rural populations into towns and cities.
Virtual water The amount of water used in the production of a good or service
Water rights The legal right of a user to use water from a water source e.g. a river
Water Scarcity Can be divided into ‘apparent scarcity’ which exists when there is plenty of water but
it is used wastefully, and ‘real scarcity’ which is caused by insufficient rainfall or too
many people relying on a limited resource
Water Stress Measured as annual water supplies below 1,700m3 per person
Water wars International conflict as a result of pressure on water supplies.
World Water Gap The difference between those people, who live in water poverty and those who have
ready and reliable access to water for drinking and sanitation

Physical factors affecting water supply – Climate, river

systems and Geology
Case Study: Factors affecting California’s water supply
Geographical Controls on water supply:
➢ Mountain chains run parallel to the coast and prevent moist air reaching inland
➢ Most rainfall falls in a coastal zone no more than 250km wide
➢ South and far east of California receive under 100mm of rainfall due to the rain shadow cast by the
Sierra Nevada mountains
➢ High pressure systems over the Pacific ocean block moist air currents reaching southern California
➢ Most of the major rivers are fed by snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
➢ In recent years extended droughts have meant groundwater and surface storage levels have decreased

a) Precipitation
 Much of California is arid with annual average precipitation of between 200-500mm
 65% of precipitation is lost through Evapotranspiration, 13% flows out to sea = only 22% for
human use
 50% of the rain falls between November and March = seasonal shortages
a) Population
 Has grown from 2 million people in 1900 to 37.7 million in 2007
 Spatial imbalance as three quarters of demand for water comes from areas south of the
Sacramento – 75% of the rain falls to the north
 Increasing demands for water exceed natural supplies
How water stress can occur – Agriculture, Industry,
Domestic use and supply
Water stress occurs when demand for water exceeds the amount available during a certain period, or
when poor quality restricts its use. Therefore when a country’s water consumption is more than 10% of its
renewable freshwater rate it is said to be water stressed.

During the 20th Century water consumption has increased by 600% due to population growth and economic
• Farming uses 70% of all water and in LEDCs this is up to 90%
• Industrial and domestic use has to compete with farming needs as a country develops
• Daily domestic water use on average is 47 litres per person in Africa, compared with 578 litres in
the USA

This has lead to the development of a world water gap with 1.4 billion lacking clean drinking water and 12%
of the world’s population consuming 85% of the world’s water.

Agriculture  some forms of farming are less water efficient than others e.g. a kg of beef is 10x more water
costly to produce then a kg of rice. 17% of the global area used for growing crops is irrigated.

Industry  21% used for industry but rapid growth expected since the development of countries such as
India and China. Industry is generally a more efficient user of water then farming.

Domestic  Only 10% of world’s water is used for this purpose but this varies from country to country.
Domestic demand seems to be doubling every 20 years.

Named Examples: India vs. China

➢ 4% of the world’s freshwater but 16% of the population
➢ Demand will exceed supply by 2020
➢ Water tables are falling rapidly as 21 million wells are used

➢ 8% of the world’s freshwater but 22% of the population
➢ 2/3rds of cities do not have enough water all year round
➢ Stress levels expected to occur by 2030
➢ Annual population growth rate is about 2.5% in Beijing
➢ Water table has been lowered in some areas by 40m

How Human activity can make water stress worse –

pollution, over extraction and salt water incursion
Key factors:
a) Sewage disposal in developing countries is expected to cause 135 million deaths by 2020. In the UK
we add 1,400 million litres of sewage to our rivers daily although most of it has been treated
b) Chemical fertilisers contaminate groundwater as well as river and water supplies. These add nutrients
to the water leading to an increase in the growth of algae downstream.
c) Industrial waste – every year the world generate 400 billion tonnes of industrial waste which is pumped
untreated into rivers, seas etc.
d) Dams – trap sediment in reservoirs which reduces floodplain fertility and the flow of nutrient from rivers
into seas.
e) Abstraction – removing water from rivers and groundwater sources can cause issues that in some arid
areas rainfall can never recharge these underground stores and the removal of freshwater from aquifers
in coastal locations can lead to salt water incursion.

How water supply is linked to development Water Poverty

Water insecurity means not having access to sufficient, safe water. Around 20 developing countries are
classified as ‘water scarce’. Water scarcity occurs for 2 main reasons:
1) Physical scarcity – shortages occur because demand exceeds supply
2) Economic scarcity - people cannot afford water, even when it is readily available

The Water Poverty Index was established in 2002 and uses 5 parameters:
 Resources – the quantity of surface and groundwater per person, and its quality
 Access – the time and distance involved in obtaining sufficient and safe water
 Capacity – how well the community manages its water
 Use – how economically water is used in the home and by agriculture and industry
 Environment – ecological sustainability (green water –freshwater taken from rainwater stores in the
soil as soil moisture)
Each of these is scored out of 20 to give a maximum of 100

How water links to poverty:

Lack of water hampers attempts to reduce poverty and encourage development. Improved water supply
can increase food production, bring better health and provide better standards of wellbeing.
Named Examples: Canada vs. Ethiopia
These 2 countries are at the opposite ends of the spectrum when looking at water and development.
Canada Ethiopia
 Each household uses 800 litres per person  Each person uses 1 litre per day
per day  Water is fetched daily from a shared source
 Water used for lawns, parks and swimming  Issues of water shortages, pollution and risk
pools of disease
 Issues of rising water bills and leakages  Water poverty index = 45
 Water poverty index = 78  Water use agricultural = 93%
 Water use agricultural = 12%  Water use industrial = 6%
 Water use industrial = 69%  Water use domestic = 1%
 Water use domestic = 20%  GNI ($ per person) = 170
 GNI ($ per person) = 33,170  Population in 2000 (millions) = 62.9
 Population in 2000 (millions) = 30

What problems can the use of water sources create?

Secure water supplies are needed to support irrigation and food production, manufacturing and energy
generation. However the use of water resources can lead to various problems. E.g. the depletion of
underground aquifers and salinisation of the soil.

Aral Sea case study – role of different key players here and
Location: north-western part of Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan
Background: Formerly, one of the four largest lakes of the world with an
area of 68,000 square kilometers, the Aral Sea has been steadily
shrinking since the 1960s.

In the early 1960's, the Soviet central government decided to make the
Soviet Union self-sufficient in cotton and increase rice production.
Government officials ordered the additional amount of needed water to
be taken from the two rivers that feed the Aral Sea. Large dams were
built across both rivers, and an 850-mile central canal with a far-reaching
system of "feeder" canals was created.

1) Over 30 years, the Aral Sea experienced a severe drop in water level, its shoreline receded, and
its salt content increased. The water level has dropped by 16 metres and the volume has been
reduced by 75%
2) The marine environment became hostile to the sea life in it, killing the plants and animals. As the
marine life died, the fishing industry suffered. All 20 known fish species in the Aral Sea are now
extinct, unable to survive the toxic, salty sludge.
3) The sea has shrunk to two-fifths of its original size and now ranks about 10th in the world.
4) Drinking water supplies have dwindled, and the water is contaminated with pesticides and other
agricultural chemicals as well as bacteria and viruses.
5) Highly toxic pesticides and other harmful chemicals are blown from the dried-up sea creating dust
containing these toxic chemicals.
6) As the Aral Sea has lost water, the climate has become more extreme.
7) Respiratory illnesses including tuberculosis and cancer, digestive disorders and infectious
diseases are common ailments in the region.
8) There is a high child mortality rate of 75 in every 1,000 newborns and maternity death of 12 in
every 1,000 women.
9) The Aral Sea fishing industry, which use to employ 40,000 and reportedly produced one-sixth of
the Soviet Union's entire fish catch, has been ruined
The stakeholders involved:
 The former soviet government – began the irrigation scheme designed to develop fruit and cotton
 Fishing community – use to be a prosperous industry but now huge unemployment
 Local residents – health problems and highest infant mortality rates in the world
 Scientists – climate has now changed and extinction of species in the area
 International economists – people can no longer feed themselves as the land is infertile, could create 10
million environmental refugees

Conflicts over the same water source

Water conflicts occur when the demand for water overtakes the supply and several stakeholders wish to
use the same resource. Conflict is more likely where developing countries are involved as water is vital to
feed their growing populations and promote industrial development. The UN reports there are around 300
potential water conflicts in the world. Some examples include:
 China vs. India due to the Brahmaputra River
 Turkey vs. Syria and Iraq due to the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
 India vs. Pakistan due to the Indus River

Case Study: Middle East Water conflicts

The Middle East is one of the most water-scarce regions in the world.
Due to population growth, increasing affluence (demands for swimming
pools etc) and the development of irrigated farmlands there are
increasing pressures on the water supplies. Further instability is
created due to:
- Overall scarcity of water but also poor access
- Declining oil reserves with future drop in oil revenues
- rising youthful population and increasing demands

At the moment the Middle East uses revenue from their oil exports to
pay for expensive desalinisation plants to provide extra water, but also pay for water and food imports. No
single country in the Middle East can resolve its water problems without impacting on another country.

Potential conflicts:
1) The Euphrates and Tigris rivers originate in Turkey but supply Syria and Iraq with water. Turkey wants
to dam these rivers to improve incomes in Anatolia (south-east turkey)
2) In 1967, Syria and other Arab states objected to Israel’s National Water Carrier Project and tried to
destroy it. Israel then bombed their attempts to divert the River Jordan from Israel
3) Droughts across the whole region between 1990-2005 increased fears of conflicts
4) Bombing of Lebanese water pipelines by Israel in 2006

Geopolitics of water supply within a country

Often when countries compete for water resources international agreements and treaties have to be drawn
up on how best to manage shared water supplies. Under the Helsinki Rules there is an agreement that
international treaties must include concepts such as equitable use and share. Therefore the criteria for
water sharing should include:
➢ Natural factors – rainfall amounts, share of drainage basin
➢ Social and economic needs – population size, development
➢ Downstream impacts –restricting flow, lowering water tables
➢ Dependency – are alternative water sources available?
➢ Prior use – existing vs. potential use
➢ Efficiency – avoiding waste and mismanagement of water
Case Study - Geopolitics with the USA: The Colorado River

Background – The basin of the Colorado River is the most heavily used source of irrigation water in the
USA. Original water rights were allocated in 1933. Since then a series of treaties between the 7 US states
with water rights and between Mexico have been signed. A series of dams has been built to serve the
water needs to 30 million people.

1920s ‘Law of the River’ = divided the water between upper basin states or Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and
New Mexico and their responsibility to supply the lower basin states. California was given highest
proportion of water due to its large population and political power. (Around this time was a period of higher
rainfall and water surpluses)

Stakeholders and conflicts

Issues of developing water pathways

In some areas with a shortage of water one of the solutions is to divert water from one drainage basin to
another. However these can produce political risks

Case Study: The Snowy Mountains Scheme

This scheme involves 16 major dams, 7 power stations and a network of pipes and aqueducts. Problems
 Creation of storage lakes has destroyed wildlife habitats
 Snowy River flow has fallen to 1%
 Groundwater salinisation results from low flow
 Water scarcity has lead to competition between users
 Political fallout meant governments had to restore some of the flow in the Snowy River and invest in
water-saving projects
 Record droughts due to El Nino have used up the water allocations

Water future s?
The issues of future projections are that climate change is occurring but its exact impact cannot be
predicted. Also continued economic growth may not be inevitable e.g. credit crunch, finally political and
religious conflicts can create further issues.
Alternative scenarios for water by 2025
Scenario Water Changes by 2025 Wider impacts
Busine  Water scarcity will reduce food production  Developing countries will rely on
ss as  Consumption will rise by +50% food imports but increased
usual  Household water use rise by +70% hunger
 Industrial water demand in developing countries  In parts of western USA, China
will increase etc water will be pumped out
faster than can be recharged
Water  Global water consumption will increase  Food production will decline and
Crisis  Demand for domestic water will fall food prices increase
 Demand for industrial water will +33%  Conflict over water between and
within countries will increase
Sustai  Global & industrial water use will have to fall  Food production could increase
nable  Global rain-fed crop yields increase due to slightly
Water improvements in water harvesting and  Investment in crop research and
sustainable farming technology would increase
 Agricultural and domestic water prices double  Unsustainable pumping of
groundwater would end

How different key player’s opinions on future water usage

may conflict
Different players and decision makers have key roles to play in securing future water supplies but their
aims may conflict.
Category Players
Political International organisations e.g. UN, regional and local
councils, pressure groups
Economic (Business) World Bank, governments, utility companies e.g.
Thames Water, agriculture, industry, TNCs
Social (Human welfare) Individuals, residents, farmers, consumers, NGOs e.g.
Water Aid
Environmental (sustainable Development) Conservationists, planners, NGOs e.g. WWF

Alternative Strategies for managing water supplies in the

Hard engineering projects to increase water shortage and transfer

Case Study: China’s Three Gorges Dam

Location: Yangtze River and is the world’s largest hydroelectric scheme
Benefits Costs
✔ 18,000MW of electricity generated  Dammed waters will down 100,000 hectares
✔ Will supply water to the region responsible for  1.9 million people will be displaced
22% of China’s GDP  Pollution increases as abandoned mines and
✔ Flood protection will save lives and cut financial factories are flooded
losses  Dam failure, earthquakes and heavy rain could
✔ Navigational improvements could open up cause serious issues
China’s interior to development  Ecological impacts on fishing and habitats

Case Study: China’s South-North Transfer Project

Project began in 2003 and involves building 3 canals to run across the eastern, middle and western parts of
China and link the country’s 4 main rivers.

Benefits Costs
✔ Transfer 44.8 billion m3 per year  Significant ecological and environmental impacts
✔ Central government to pay 60% of the cost along the waterways
✔ Water conservation, improved irrigation,  Resettlement of people will be needed
pollution treatment and environmental project  Declining water quality
✔ Will supply big cities like Beijing  Will cost $62 billion
 Will take 50 years to complete

At a local scale this can involve restoring meanders, replanting vegetation and using sustainable methods
to manage watercourses for people and the environment.

Case Study: Restoring the Aral Sea

In 2007 the Kazakhstan government secured a $126 million loan from the World Bank to help save the
northern part of the Aral Sea. The government has already built a dam to split the sea into 2 parts and the
new loan is to be used to build a dam to bring the water back into the deserted port of Aralsk.
✔ Fisherman have been able to resume fishing
✔ Rain has returned
 The southern part of the sea is still shrinking
 The waters from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya are controlled by other countries
Water conservation
This involves reducing the amount of water used (demand) rather than trying to increase water supplies. In
the UK around 22% of water does not reach the end user due to leakage. Examples include:
1) Reducing domestic consumption
- installing water meters in every home
- reducing the amount of water used in lavatory cisterns
- planting drought resistant species in ‘water-wise’ gardens
- using grey water to flush the lavatory or water the garden
2) Reducing industry consumption
- installing more efficient systems to reduce water costs
- Agricultural irrigation = use of micro-irrigation techniques using drip irrigation from tubes reduces the
volume of water used

Role of technology in solving future problems

Technology can help increase both water supply and access. Examples include:
➢ Desalination – provides 70% of Saudi Arabia’s water but it is the most expensive option for water
supply due to its energy use
➢ Towing flexible polypropylene bags will with freshwater has been propose e.g. Kielder to Essex
➢ USA uses reverse osmosis membrane technology to filter salt from brackish water
➢ In developing countries ore intermediate technology is more appropriate:
- Water collection e.g. catching rainwater or building small dams
- Wells built by NGOs e.g. Water Aid
- Using plastic or glass bottles filled with contaminated water exposed to the sun for 6 hours
destroys micro-organisms

What questions have been asked?

Using named examples assess the role of different players and decision makers in trying to secure a
sustainable ‘water future’ (15)

Referring to examples, assess the potential for water conflict in areas where demand exceed supply (15)

Referring to examples, explain why future water supplies for many regions are increasingly insecure (15)
Referring to examples, assess the validity of the statement that ‘water conflicts are as much to do with
water quality as quantity’ (15)

Suggest how water resources and human wellbeing might be affected by the data in Figure 2 (10)

Explain how physical and human factors have contributed to the variation in water scarcity shown (10) Jan

Using named examples, assess the contribution of large scale water management projects in increasing
water security (15) Jan 2010
Study Figure 2.
Explain how human interference in the water cycle can affect water availability. (10)

Using named examples, assess the potential for water supply to become a source of conflict. (15)
Topic 3: Biodiversity under Threat

What do I need to know?

 Ways in which biodiversity can be defined
 Key processes and factors that influence biodiversity
 Global distribution of biodiversity and biodiversity hotspots
 The value of ecosystems
 The distribution of threatened areas
 Global factors threaten biodiversity
 The impact of these threats on ecosystem processes
 The link between economic development and ecosystem destruction/degradation
 The concept of sustainable yield
 The role of different players in managing biodiversity
 Spectrum of strategies and policies for managing biodiversity
 The future of biodiversity
Key Terms:
Biomass The total amount of organic matter
Biome A major terrestrial ecosystem of the world.
Ecosystem A system of which both the living organisms and their environment form
components (elements) - these components are linked together by flows and
are separated from the outside by a boundary.
Succession The gradual and predictable change in plant and animal species over time,
for example bare ground is colonised by plants and there is a series of
sequential replacements as one set of dominant plants replaces the other
Net primary productivity The difference between the rate of conversion of solar energy into biomass in
(NPP) an ecosystem and the rate at which energy is used to maintain the producers
of the system
Biotic Living components of an ecosystem
Abiotic The non-living parts of an ecosystem
Goods and services ‘goods’ are direct products that can be derived from an ecosystem and
‘services’ are the benefits that the ecosystem provides
Energy flow The movement of energy through a community
Nutrient cycle The movement of nutrients in the ecosystem between the three major stores
of the soil, biomass and litter.
biodiversity The variability amongst living organisms from all sources including terrestrial,
marine and other aquatic systems, and the ecological complexes of which
they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of
conservation The protection of natural or man-made resources for later use.
Habitat The place where a particular species lives and grows. It is essentially the
environment- at least the physical environment- that surrounds, influences
and is utilised by a particular species.
Endemic species Exclusively native to a particular place of region. Endemic species tend to
have a high conservation value.
Sustainable Yield Key part of sustainable management of ecosystems. It represents the ‘safe’
level of harvest that can be hunted/caught/utilised without harming the
individual ecosystem
Genetic diversity The diversity of genes found within a species
Species diversity The variety of plant/animal species in a given area (habitat)
Ecosystem diversity The variety of different ecosystems and the habitats surrounding them in a
given area, it includes biotic and Abiotic components.
Biodiversity Hotpot An area containing a huge number of species, a large percentage of which
are endemic
WRI (World Resources An economic scorecard which shows the condition of the world’s major
Institute) ecosystems and their ability to provide future good and services.
MEA (millennium A multi scale assessment commissioned by the UN
ecosystem assessment)
Destruction Loss in quantity
Degradation Loss in quality

Ways in which biodiversity can be defined

Biodiversity is the total genes, species and ecosystems in a given area. It can be investigated by looking at
diversity within species and also between ecosystems.

Definition Advantages Disadvantages

Genetic diversity – range of genes  Allows accurate picture of the  Difficult to assess without
found within a particular species. diversity within a population high-level biological skills as
Variation within genetic makeup  Helps explain how isolated DNA has to be analysed
makes it easier to adapt to groups have adapted to new
changing environments environments
Species Diversity – variety of  On a basic level areas can be  Many species are yet to be
plants and animal species present compared discovered
in an ecosystem  Need to compare similar size
areas for it to be fair
Ecosystem Diversity – number of  Involves the interaction of  Hard to know where to place
different ecosystems within a species with each other and the boundaries for each area
given area their environment = complex  Needs a consistent set of

Key processes and factors that influence biodiversity

Higher altitude = lower Lower latitudes = warmer climate
biodiversity – rapid nutrient cycling
Temperature extremes = Latitude
low biodiversity Altitude Hunting and direct
The rate in exploitation of flora
Temperature and fauna
which plants
Amount of light More species
is measured. BIODIVERSITY Size of the area can live and
TRF have high and topography interact in a
GPP = high
larger area
Human effects
The level of
Rate of nutrient e.g. pollution
recording of species
cycling Endemism within the region
Humans are in
Found particularly on
competition with
islands, species that
other species for
are found nowhere
space and resources.
else and this
As human population
increases biodiversity
increases = decrease
in biodiversity

Global distribution of biodiversity and biodiversity hotspots

Coral Reefs:
Corals with the greatest
Tropical Rainforests: species are found in the
Found in South and Central America, Pacific Ocean and eastern
Madagascar, Malaysia and Indonesia edge of the Indian Ocean

Main patterns:
The top 5 countries with the highest diversity index are found around the EQUATOR or the TROPICS.
Countries with the lowest diversity index are found in either cold countries or ones with large areas of
desert. Greatest biodiversity is found in areas of TROPICAL RAINFOREST with +1/2 the world’s species,
although they cover only 7% of the earth’s surface.

Biodiversity Hotpots
This is an area containing a huge number of species, a large percentage of which are endemic. They
cover less than 2% of the earth’s surface but contain 44% of the world’s planet species and 35% of the
animal species. They are divided into 3 categories:
1) Continental hotspots – richest in terms of biodiversity
2) Large island hotspots – have distinctive species
3) Small island hotspots – low in species number but contain a high proportion of endemics

Named Example: Continental Hotspot – Fynbos, South Africa

Fynbos is the major vegetation type of a small region in South Africa known
as the Cape Flora Kingdom. It is the smallest and richest area with the
highest known concentration of plant species at 1,300 per 10,000km2. (TTF =
400 per 10,000km2). Home to +7700 plant species, 70% are endemic. This
hotspot was created due to unusual geology and soils, topography and a
distinctive fire regime. However there are a number of threats:

➢ Spread of alien plants

➢ Commercial forestry using non-native species e.g. European pines
➢ Frequent bush fires
➢ Construction of housing estates around Cape Town
➢ Increased farming

The value of ecosystems

Value can be looked at through direct use values e.g. Uses humans put
biodiversity to in terms of consumption or production and include food, medicines etc. Indirect uses include
the services that biodiversity provides such as soil formation.

Case Study: The Value of a global ecosystem - Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are located in shallow seas (no deeper than 25m) with an average annual temperature about
18°c. Corals are extremely sensitive and the greatest concentration of coral reefs is found in South-east
Asia (30%).
Ecological Value Economic Value Cultural/Aesthetic Value
✔ Coral reefs act as protection ✔ Aquarium trade ✔ Education and research –
for the coastal, breaking the ✔ Medicine – algae and sponges easily accessible from the
power of the waves before contain bioactive compounds shore
they reach the land used by the pharmaceutical ✔ Coral and shells are used for
✔ Highly diverse ecosystems industry traditional crafts
✔ Building materials – coral ✔ Recreational use
reefs are mined for lime and
stone in developing countries
✔ Tourism – some Caribbean
countries gain ½ of their GNP
from tourism
✔ Food – in the far east, reef
fisheries feed 1 billion people

The distribution of threatened areas

There are various ways of measuring threatened ecosystems:
1) Economic Scorecard shows the ability of ecosystems to produce goods and services
2) The Living Planet Index monitors changes over time in the populations of representative animal
species in various ecosystems
3) Ecological footprint measures the human impact on the planet
4) Red List of endangered species shows species at risk of extinction
5) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is a multi-scale assessment by the UN

The majority of areas under threat are located with the tropics and areas of lower biodiversity tend to have
lower threat levels as these regions are not in demand for agriculture due to unsuitable climates.

Factors threatening biodiversity

Global Factors:
a) Climate Change – expected that the climate will change so quickly that species will be unable to
adapt. Recent climate changes have shown impacts on the ecosystems:
- laying and fruiting have been advancing by several days each decade
- Coral bleaching due to warming seas has increased since 1980s
- Ocean acidification caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide
- Poleward’s migration of species by an average of 6km per decade
b) Deforestation – clearance of forest cover results in loss of biodiversity and resources but also has
knock-on effects on the food web and nutrient cycling
c) Pollution can cause various issues:
- Ozone depletion due to CFCs
- nitrate pollution of lakes
d) Human population growth – this is forcing people to spread into more areas and is encroaching onto
areas with high biodiversity

Local Factors
a) Fire – was used widely in Europe and N. America to clear forests for development. Controlled fire
as a management option is useful but large-scale burning for soya bean production causes loss of
b) Habitat change – developing natural habitats for agriculture, minerals or urban growth e.g.
overfishing in the North Sea
c) Recreational use – plants are vulnerable to trampling and animals to disturbance
The impact of these threats on ecosystem processes
Energy Flow
Primary producers (green plants) convert sunlight into energy through
photosynthesis, as energy is lost through respiration at each stage, the
amount of biomass at each trophic level decreases. Human action on one
level of the chain has an impact on the others that are dependent on it e.g.
the catching of tertiary consumers

Nutrient cycling
This occurs alongside the flow of energy through an ecosystem and
involves the feedback of miners from decomposed organic material back
into the plants so that they can grow and continue the cycle. In hot
climates of the tropics there is faster nutrient cycling then in cold regions.
People can impact upon the cycle by adding nutrients via fertilisers, by
reducing the biomass through overharvesting and deforestation, and by
degrading the soil. Once deprived of nutrients, soils are vulnerable to

Precipitatio Biomass

Runoff Growth or uptake pathway

Movement of species
The movement of species can occur by accident or deliberately but has a serious threat to ecosystems.
Alien or exotic species can become established at any trophic level and often have:
- enhanced survival rates as they are more efficient competitors
- lack any native predator
- Not susceptible to native diseases
Deliberate introductions include:
1) Game species such as pheasant and rainbow trout for hunting
2) Hedgehog was imported from the Scottish mainland to the Outer Hebrides to deal with a plague of
garden slugs but have since effected the populations of ground nesting birds whom they eat the
eggs of
Accidental introductions include:
1) Alien species can arrive by ship e.g. Zebra mussel arrived in North America from the Caspian Sea
by clinging on the sides of ships. These were brought into the Great Lakes where the multiplied to
70,000 per km2
2) Air transport was responsible for introducing snakes to the Pacific Island of Guam which had huge
impacts on the food web

Nutrient Overload
Excess nutrients are washed into the lakes and rivers but this has been increased by the human use of
fertilisers etc. The extra nutrients cause increase growth in plants but also the growth of algal blooms
which block out the light causing plants to die out. This uses up the oxygen in the water leading to further
deaths and the food chain collapses The extra nutrients cause increase growth in plants but also the
growth of algal blooms which block out the light causing plants to die out. This uses up the oxygen in the
water leading to further deaths and the food chain collapses  Eutrophication.
The link between economic development and ecosystem
destruction/ degradation
The shift of countries from economies based on primary industries, to mixed industries including
manufacturing and industry has put huge pressure on their ecosystems as natural resources are extracted

A country with a
stable economy and
education has the
Less development freedom to choose
near pristine to support
environments in which biodiversity without
indigenous people live compromising its
mainly due to lack of people’s ability to be
access and technology fed and housed

Rapid industrial development e.g.

China has led to air pollution such as
acid rain, which has an impact on
forests. Expansion of agricultural
land due to population growth

Named Example: Udzungwa Mountains National Park: a

pristine area
This national park has huge amounts of biodiversity with 276 tree species and
50 endemic species. The local villages are also reliant upon it for watershed
protection, medicines and food. However their access is limited and highly
controlled due to increasing pressures on the park such as population growth.
The Tanzanian National Park authorities therefore decided to involve the local
people in sustainable bottom up strategies for example, setting up tree nurseries
and promoting ecotourism. This was the best way forward due to the issues of
policing a vast area with a skeletal ranger force; instead the local people
become responsible for the area.

Named Example: Masai Mara game reserve: a degraded area

This reserve experienced a breakdown in management which has led to
the decline to the grassland ecosystem. The park fees from tourists were
meant to go towards management of the area and providing social
services to the local tribesman. However the park rangers were not paid
properly and lacked basic equipment so could do little to stop illegal
hunting. In 2008 a private organisation called Mara conservation took
over control and runs on a non-profit basis uses 50% of revenue to build
roads and anti-poaching patrols and 50% to the local tribes. This is
needed as the local people have to give up cattle grazing land for tourism
but are having a hard time seeing the benefits.
The concept of sustainable yield
Sustainable yield represents the ‘safe’ level of harvest that can be hunted/caught/used without harming the
individual ecosystem. It is measured through:
1. Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) – the greatest harvest that can be taken indefinitely while leaving
the ecosystem intact.
2. Optimum sustainable yield (OSY) – best compromise achieve in the light of all economic and social
In order to manage wildlife etc models estimating carrying capacity have been developed – the maximum
human population that can exist in equilibrium with the available resources.

Carrying Capacity
Zone of overharvest –
population begins to be
threatened by overharvesting

MSY is halfway between 0 and

the carrying capacity

OSY is lower than MSY as it

enabled the ecosystem to have
a high aesthetic value

Named Example: Campfire Project, Zimbabwe

This was developed in the late 1980s aimed to long-term development, management
and sustainable use of natural resources. The responsibility for the area was placed in
the hands of local people and therefore an example of a bottom-up approach. Some
schemes made money from big-game hunting at sustainable yield levels and this was
then fed back into the communities. Environmentalists disagreed with this approach as
how was hunting endangered species helping to protect them? The scheme was then
undermined by the economic collapse of Zimbabwe and lack of funding.

The role of different players in managing biodiversity


TNCS - determine which goods Governments: Communities:
International Treaties:
and services are produced and Regulation – establish and Indigenous groups depend on
a) Ramsar Convention 1971 - to
how environmentally friendly enforce laws to conserve and biodiversity for basic survival
conserve wetlands
they are. protect various areas and Individual:
e.g. spiritual significance
b) World Heritage Convention
1972 - protect outstanding species. In the developed
Farmers – strong world, ethical
views about
International agencies e.g. Preservation – preserve areas consumerism as
conservation hasitled to people
cultural and natural sites
World Bank, WTO - very top- of biodiversity often through choosing
with theirtoaims
c) CITES 1973 - controlled
down and often favour large taxes and subsidies environmentally friendly
trade in a range of species
short-term projects products e.g. dolphin friendly
NGOs e.g. WWF and Scientists and researchers –
Greenpeace - aim to stop work for variety of
degradation of the planet's organisations and monitor the
natural environment state of the biodiversity
Spectrum of strategies and policies for managing
Conservation strategies follow the idea of a spectrum from complete protection through to commercially
exploited areas where limited parts are protected for publicity purposes.

Total Protection – was the main focus of conservation during the 1960s. Total protection has been
criticised as:
- In developing countries there is a conflict between conservation and cutting people off from
- Totally protected reserves are often narrowly focused for scientific purposes so may fail to take
into account social, economic factors etc
- Many protection schemes are based around political boundaries and not the ecosystem natural
- These strategies rely on the co-ordination of outside agencies which often forget about the local
people’s needs.

Biosphere Reserves – identifies a core area which is heavily protected with buffer zones around it.
However some countries do not have finances to fully monitor or mange these reserves and the pressure
from development may be difficult to control. These act at a number of different levels; locally they involve
local people and the landscape they know in order to better serve the community and ensuring continued
biodiversity e.g. community conservation schemes. On a national level they aim to inspire further
conservation e.g. National Parks. Globally the biosphere designation of the Galapagos Islands helped
implement a zoning strategy to solve the problems the area faces.

Restoration – this can include recreating wetlands or linking up small fragmented reserves to produce a
large reserve. These can be very expensive and much of the success depends on how readily plants will
reseed and how polluted the land is.

Conservation – this can involve ex-situ conservation where an endangered species establish a captive
population away from its natural habitat. This includes captive breeding with release schemes and
biodiversity banks such as genetic and seed banks in zoos and botanical gardens. For example – giant

Named Example: The Galapagos Islands Zoning Strategy

(Hot-Spot Management Strategy)
Location: found on the Equator 1,000km off the
coast of Ecuador

Key facts:
Nearly one fourth of the Galapagos marine life is
endemic - found nowhere else on earth
There are 13 large islands and six small, which
were formed by oceanic volcanoes some three to
five million years ago

Threats facing the islands:

➢ Extensive migration from mainland Ecuador
– from 1982-1998 population growth was around 6% but in the last 10 years the number of people
on the islands has more than doubled to take it to 16,000.
➢ absence of a quarantine system to avoid the introduction of foreign species
➢ illegal fisheries that apply great pressure on the islands’ marine resources (until 1990s only a few
hundred fishers were involved but by 1999 660 were registered as global over-fishing grew due to
demand for seafood and speciality products e.g. shark fins)
➢ lack of an adequate legal framework to ensure the long-term preservation of the islands
➢ Tourism – since 1969 charter flights began bringing people to the islands and it became the main
economic activity employing 70% of the active population. In 1998 - $75 million was generated
through tourism. However out of this only around 1% is used to support conservation.

1936: the Galapagos National Park (GNP) established
1968: Boundaries finally established; effective park administration began
1984: Recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program
1986: The Galápagos Biological Marine Resources Reserve (GMRR) established to include all waters
within 15 nautical miles
1992: Zoning plan for Marine Resources reserve – included 4 zones:
 General Use Zone for sustainable use of the reserve
 Recreational Fishing Zones for the benefit of residents
 National Marine Park Zones for human activities where natural resources are neither damaged nor
 Strict Nature Reserves where human access is not permitted.
2002: Poza de las Diablas on Isabela I. declared a Ramsar Site of International Importance

The future of biodiversity

The Millennium Ecosystems Assessments (MEA) identified 4 scenarios predicting rapid conversion of
ecosystems to farmland and urbanisation.

Global Orchestration Order from Strength

 All trade barriers and subsidies are removed to  Protection of national boundaries will see rich
allow for free trade countries close their boarders to protect their
 Economic growth is high and standard of living own standard of living
in developed countries improve  Problems of ecosystem degradation in
 As wealth increases there will be more money to developing countries
deal with environmental problems = too late?  Ecosystem collapse – huge biodiversity loss
 High biodiversity loss
Adapting Mosaic Techno garden
 Will manage ecosystems locally and regionally =  Using technology to help provide ecosystem
more sustainable services
 Lower biodiversity loss than 1 and 2  Excellent sharing of ideas at a global level
 People working together to develop  May become over reliant on technology
economically but also maintain ecosystems  Wealth increases in poor countries as
knowledge and technology is shared

WWF’s Living Planet Report – looked to model ways of ending ecology ‘overshoot’ (the amount by which
the ecological footprint exceeds the biological capacity of the space available to that population). They also
showed 4 possible scenarios:
1) Business as usual – increased ecological footprint and no reduction in overshoot
2) Slow shift – gradually reducing the ecological footprint by developing many sustainable policies
so that ecosystems can recover by the year 2100
3) Rapid reduction – radical policies to control ecological footprints lead to elimination of overshoot
by 2040
4) Shrink and share – breaking the world into regions in order to share responsibility for controlling
the overshoot problem
Case Study: Named Global Ecosystem- Daintree Tropical
Location: North east coast of Australia in Queensland

Why is Daintree so special?

➢ World Heritage site measuring ½ the size of Wales
➢ 135 million years old
➢ Greatest number of threatened species of plant and animals in the
➢ ½ of Australia’s bird species
➢ 65% of all butterfly and bat species

1) Tourism
- In 1983, 17000 tourists visited Daintree but by 2002 this had grown to
436000 visitors
2) Destruction of ecosystem to cope with demand
- tarmacking of roads has lead to small areas of forest being divided
into plots for sale
- Occupied plots are often bulldozed and turned into cattle ranches
3) Development
- Increased numbers of tourists had lead to the development of Port
Douglas changing the village’s character
4) Climate Change – a global temperature increase could threaten the
distinctive ecosystems environment
5) Logging – the commercial timber industry in began in Daintree in the
1930s. The rainforest acts as a carbon store so the removal of these releases carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere adding to the greenhouse effect


Short-term Medium-term Long-term

Economic Money spent by tourists $147 million per year Infrastructure improved e.g.
3500 jobs created tarmac roads
Social Impact on tribes Destructive of native Australian heritage lost
Local people suffer tribes as they lose their Increase in population =
from congestion and land and move away increase in house prices =
overcrowding Cultures westernised local people move out
Increase in population Tourism could decline
Environmental Soil erosion from Breeding patterns Release of C02 from trees
deforestation affected Extinction of species
Loss of habitats Food web disrupted Invasion of alien species
Disruption of native
Management of Daintree

Key players:
a) Wet tropics Management authority = formed in 1990 to research and
monitor the state of the wet tropics. Looks at developing management
agreements with land holders and native tribes.
b) Cairns Regional council- aimed to gradually reduce population in
Daintree. Increased ferry costs to reduce number of visitors and rejected
plans for a bridge across the river as more people would endanger the
c) Australian Rainforest Foundation – operation ‘BIG BIRD’ – the cassowary given a wildlife
corridor to protect it. Money given to buy back land from developers and return it to rainforest
d) Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland – community based looking at a sustainable future
for people and wildlife. They are for a ban on development in the area.
e) Australian Tropical Rainforest Foundation – build visitor centres and education facilities to
highlight the global importance of the tropical rainforest ecosystems.
f) Rainforest co-operation research council – community development allowing up to 1400 people
to live in the area but must conserve the land. Looks to identify hotspots for conservation where
no development is allowed. Aims to recognise the rights of native people to own land and
promote their culture in the forest.
What kinds of questions have been asked?
Explain the distribution of the world’s terrestrial and marine hotspots (10 marks)

Evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages of the ‘hot-spot’ approach to biodiversity management
(compared with other strategies) (15 marks)

Evaluate the relative importance of global and local threats to one named global ecosystem (15 marks)

Assess the role played by different players in managing areas in which biodiversity is under threat (15

How far is it possible to reconcile the desire for development with the need to manage biodiversity (14

Referring to examples, discuss the threats to biodiversity hotspots and why these threats could prove
critical (15)

Explain how human activities have contributed to the condition of ecosystem goods and services. (10)
Using named examples, evaluate the success of global actions designed to protect biodiversity. (15)
Explain the pattern of alien species invasions, and suggest the possible impacts of alien species on
ecosystems. (10)
Topic 4: Superpower Geographies
What do I need to know?
 How to define the idea of superpower
 How patterns of power change over time
 Theories for the growth of Superpowers
 How power can be maintained
 Role of superpowers on international action and decision making
 Nature of trade and who controls it. Does this maintain global power?
 Superpowers cultural influence
 The impacts on Water, energy, environment and land demand of the rising superpowers
 The impacts of the rising new superpowers on the old superpowers
 Implications for the Majority world (Less developed countries) of the new superpowers –
good or bad?
 Shifting power may lead to tensions

Key Terms
Capitalism An economic system in which all or most of the means of production and
distribution are privately owned and operated in a relatively competitive
Cold War A state of political tension and military rivalry between nations that stops short
of full-scale war e.g. US vs. Soviet Union following World War II
Colonialism The system or policy in which a country maintains foreign colonies
Communism A form of political development that aims to create equality and a classless
Cultural Imperialism Promoting the culture of one society into another e.g. Tea to India
Dependency theory Notion that resources flow from a ‘periphery’ of poor and underdeveloped
states into a ‘core’ of wealthy states
Development theory A number of theories outlined how desirable change is best achieved
Direct influence The power of persons or things to affect others by means of power based on
Disparity The inequality or difference
International Monetary An international organisation established by the UN to promote monetary
Fund cooperation, international trade and stability
Market economy An economy in which prices are determined by buyers and sellers with a
relatively high degree of freedom
Modernisation theory The socio-economic development and process that evolves from a traditional
society to modern economies e.g. USA
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation founded in 1949 for the purposes of
opposing communism during the Cold War.
Neo-colonialism Describes the ways in which rich countries dominate the economy of poorer
countries through economic imperialism rather than political control
Privatisation The process of moving from a government controlled system to a privately
run system
Purchasing Power Parity The value of gross national income related to local prices
Superpower A nation that is able to project its power and influence anywhere in the world
Tariff A government tax on imports or exports
USSR Soviet Union – a former communist country in eastern Europe and Northern
Asia established in 1922. Was dissolved in 1991
World Bank UN agency created to assist developing nations by issuing loans
World Trade Organisation Set up in 1995 to open up and ensure fair play in international trade.

How to define the idea of superpower e.g. USA and USSR

Criteria USA USSR
Size – countries with a large land USA is the 3rd largest country World’s largest country with land
area tend to have greater natural with land over 9 million km2 area over 22 million km2
resources and extend their influence
over a larger number of neighbours
Economic strength – in 2007, the Managed as a democracy and Promoted communism and the
12 largest economies earned had a free-market (capitalist) economy was state controlled
around 2/3rds of the world’s GDP approach to the economy
and control investment Contains 776 of the largest
- determine economic policies which TNCs
effect the globe Dollar is the world reserve
Culture – spread of Americanisation Rapid growth in film and Tried to sell itself as high culture
across the globe television industry helped to with ballet, music and art. Very
Religion – religious leaders can convey a positive image on tight censorship so no criticism
influence politics through their USA and its high standard of allowed.
beliefs e.g. contraception living.
Population – countries with a large 250 million live in USA World’s 3rd largest with over 285
population are important as million at the time of its breakup
economic growth cannot be
sustained without sufficient number
of workers
- cheap workers can help promote
economic growth
- large populations encourage
economic growth through markets
Resources – countries with Land contained valuable Huge amounts of oil and gas (2nd
resources necessary for economic minerals, metals, forests and a largest economy)
development should have significant modern agricultural and
power industrial system (World’s
greatest economy)
Military strength – countries with a The world’s largest and most Had the largest land based army
large military force are seen as more powerful navy and one of the and the world’s largest stockpile
power but also the types of weapons two most powerful air forces in of nuclear weapons
are important e.g. nuclear weapons the world

How patterns of power change over time

Named Example: The rise and fall of the British Empire

The British Empire was founded on exploration and sea power as its royal navy dominated the seas from
1700-1930s. There were 3 key phases:

Phase 1: Mercantilist (1600-1850) = small colonies set up on coastal islands e.g. Jamaica with focus on
trade including slaves.
Phase 2: Imperial (1850-1945) = whole conquest of territories, religion and culture spread e.g. cricket.
Governments set up to rule the colonies and complex trade networks.
Phase 3: Decolonisation (1945 - ) = After 2nd World war the UK was bankrupt and could not support the
empire as before. Growth of anti-colonial movements e.g. India – some colonies granted independence.

Britain still maintains a superpower legacy and has control over 14 overseas territories e.g. Falkland
Islands. The Commonwealth contains 53 states (former British colonies) that cooperate in common

Named Example: collapse of Communism

The causes of the collapse were reforms in the USSR in 1985 by President Gorbachev which increased
freedom of speech and allowed private ownership of small businesses. As these reforms spread there was
soon an open revolt against the communist system and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 ended the symbol
of separation of the Cold War superpowers. The USSR collapsed in 1990 when the communist party gave
up its monopoly on power. This led to the breakup of the entire country as countries such as Latvia and
Georgia broke away into independent nations.

Named Example: The Rise of the BRICs

These are Brazil, Russia, India and China as they show:
- Strong economic growth
- Large populations
- Access to key resources e.g. fossil fuels
- Market economies
- Regional power and influence

It is expected that the USA will see a decline in its power, especially in relation to China

Theories for the growth of Superpowers

Modernisation theory – Rostow 1960s
Aimed to explain the dominance of the British Empire and USA. Rostow believed that as these were the
first countries to experience the Industrial revolution this gave them an initial advantage over other
regions. He believed that countries moved through 5 stages of develop.
Dependency Theory – Frank 1971
Countries become more dependent upon more powerful, frequently colonial powers, as a result in
interaction and development. This is because the colonial power often exploits the resources of its weaker
colony as the colony becomes more dependent upon it. However, the rise of the NICs argues against this
as they are examples of countries that have developed, however some of these did receive huge economic
support and aid from the USA.

World Systems Theory – Wallenstein 1974

This treated the whole world as a single unit broken down into the core (MEDCs), periphery (LEDCs) and
the semi-periphery. It also allowed change to take place as countries began to develop.

Named Example: China vs. India

World Systems theory would suggest that industrial capitalism was born in Europe and that the rise of India
and china is another stage of the growth and spread of the global economy. Dependency theory however
would see the current growth as a shift back to an older world order when India and China were powerful
economic forces as Frank believed Britain and other European powers were the first NICs.

Path to development:
China – state-led industrialisation and intensification of agriculture but largely cut off from the rest of the
India – Home-grown technology with high import tariffs, still however mainly a rural society.

How power can be maintained

Superpowers have shifted the maintenance of their power from colonial rule to indirect neo-colonial rule.
Following the end of the colonial rule, decolonialisation occurred but brought about conflict rather than
immediate freedom for 3 main reasons:
1) Colonial boarders did not match religious or ethnic boundaries
2) Colonies had a government but indigenous people were excluded from running them so therefore
when the colonial rule was removed there was not enough experience
3) As colonial powers left, insurgents pushed them out = violence

Named Example: Colonialism- India

In India today there are still symbols of colonial power such as the residence of the governor-general of
India in Delhi. Culture was also spread through British traditions such as cricket, tea drinking and the
English language. India became modernised so that the economy could serve Britain more effectively e.g.
the building of railway system improved transport and trade but allowed efficient military transport to put
down rebellions. Independence was granted in 1947 but this plunged India into a period of chaos.

Neo-colonialism refers to a form of indirect control over developing countries, most of them former
colonies. In this direct political control decreased whilst economic control increased through:
- Economic dependence on primary goods – issues created with trade as these goods have low export
prices compared with high prices the developing world must pay for manufactured goods
- Economic dominance of multinational companies – foreign direct investment e.g. manufacturing located in
developing world allows for big profits for TNCs but low wages and skills for the developing world
- Impact of foreign aid and debt – developing nations pay huge sums in interest which often exceed aid
- Strategic alliances – USA for example allied with many developing nations to spread their global
influence, often by means of foreign aid
- Aid – often given with ‘strings attached’

Named Example: Neo-colonialism in Ghana

In 1957 Ghana gained independence from British colonial rule and in recent years has been seen to be
making progress in economic and social indicators. For example GNP has risen from $5.7 billion to $14.9
billion in the last 20 years. However Ghana is still very much influenced by external factors, perhaps
identifying an example of neo-colonialism?

External factors:
1) Commodity markets in London and New York
- Cocoa prices depend on global demand which may vary
- Competition with Ivory Coast for cocoa. If prices in Ghana are too high, buyers will purchase for
lower-priced countries
2) Overseas Tariffs
- EU import tariffs are much higher for processed cocoa than for raw beans. This means Ghana is
better off exporting raw cocoa beans as import costs are lower and they would make more money
- Means that Ghana is unable to develop its own processing industries as most of this is done in
Europe = loses out on value added
3) WTO
- Before 1995 Ghanaian government subsidised its farmers to encourage them to stay on the land
and grow food for their growing cities
- Ghana then joined the WTO in an attempt to increase its global trade
- WTO imposed joining condition that the Ghanaian farmers could no longer be subsidised
- Farmers could no longer compete with imports of heavily subsidised foreign food e.g. EU tomatoes
are cheaper to buy then home-grown ones

Role of superpowers on international action and decision

Organisation Function Members
International Monitors the economic and 44 governments originally now 185. USA = 17%,
Monetary Fund financial development of EU=25.7%, Africa =1%
(IMF) countries. Lends money to Reflects USA concerns so lent to countries
countries facing difficulties threatened by communism. Can impose conditions
World Bank Gives advice, loans and grants Similar to IMF. USA = 16%. Bad reputation in
to reduce poverty and promote 1970s for financing projects that caused
economic development environmental damage and created debt. MDGs!
United Nations Prevents war and arbitrates on 192 members in 2008. Most influential international
(UN) international disputes. alliance in the world
World Trade Trade policy, agreements and All countries get 1 vote but votes never actually just
Organisation settling disputes. Promotes through mutual consent with biggest markets
(WTO) global free trade deciding outcome. Allows subsidies for USA and
North Atlantic Military alliance between
Treaty European countries and the
Organisation USA
The G8 Meetings about global policy Represents 65% of global GDP but 14% of
direction for western population. Very restricted membership
Davos Group Swiss based non-profit Business CEO’s, political leaders, Media, celebrities
foundation to discuss business No official status but attended by presidents
and profits

Nature of trade and who controls it. Does this maintain

global power?
The WTO established a series of trade agreements since the 1950s which have resulted in huge growth in
trade and wealth:
• Removal of taxes and tariffs on imports
• Removal of quotas on imports
• Removal of subsidies for domestic producers

This has therefore seen the growth of areas such as Asia e.g. China and India but the decline in Africa’s
share of world trade as the international trade is mostly in the hands of TNCs who have decided not to
invest in Africa and in Asia they have developed free trade zones which attract more investment.

However the idea of free trade for some countries is an illusion as trade takes place between trade blocs
e.g. EU and NAFTA. Thos countries not a member of a trade bloc still have to pay tariffs and quotas etc.

Finally developed nations also control innovation and technology which are not shared with developing
nations. 75% of fees/royalties go to three main powers, USA, EU and Japan.

Superpowers cultural influence

Global culture has been seen as a way to spread a superpowers influence. The USA is seen as the most
powerful force in cultural globalisation.

Named Case study: McDonaldisation

Opened in Des Plaines in 1955 with a profit for the 1st day at $366.12 and has grown to having $41 billion in

Adapting to different cultures:

 Portugal – only country where soup is served
 Pakistan – McArabia and the spicy chicken burger
 Saudi Arabia – no pork products sold as against Islamic law. All meat is halal
 China – all drinks were in china cups

1) Encourages developing nations to export their crops when most children are undernourished
2) Use lethal poisons to destroy vast areas of the Central American rainforest to create grazing
pastures for cattle (800 square miles of forest per year needed to keep McDonalds supplied for
paper for 1 year)
3) Workers in catering do not have a specific union so little help with disputes
4) Forcing indigenous tribes from their native lands

However, McDonalds have also donated over $180 million to McDonald’s Children charities and claim to
donate more money than any other commercial enterprise in the USA ($50 million each year)

The impacts on Water, energy, environment and land

demand of the rising superpowers e.g. China
Impact on resources:
 Energy – rapid rise in oil prices in 2007 and 2008 leading to oil being pumped out quicker than new
reserves can be found = PEAK OIL
 Environment – China and India’s ecological footprint may be similar to those of the EU and USA by

Named Case Study: China – an emerging superpower

Rapid economic growth in China has been achieved at high environmental and social costs:

Environmental Costs Social Costs

 China is going through industrial revolution in a  Rural population still in poverty
compressed timeframe resulting in it being the  20% of population live on less than $1 a day
largest contributor to C02 emissions  Child labour used in some factories
 16 of the top 20 most air-polluted cities  Housing in some parts of Beijing were
 2003 – air pollution blamed for 400,000 deaths demolished to make way for Olympic facilities
 30% of China suffers from acid rain due to (300,000 evicted)
emissions from coal-fired power stations  During the Olympics the authorities banned non-
 C02 emissions in 2006 more than 6.2 billion residents from being in the city e.g. beggars,
tonnes (increase of 9%) mental illness
 70% of China’s rivers and lakes are polluted  1/12th of people rely on the polluted Yangtze
 Beijing’s pollution levels are 3x higher than safe river for drinking water
WHO levels

Although China’s stature and power are growing it needs to look to resolve some of its environmental and
social costs to ensure long-term sustainability. China is however one of the few countries trying to tackle
their issues e.g. rapidly increasing their forest cover, wind turbines and solar panels.

The impacts of the rising new superpowers on the old

Recently the emergence of the new superpowers has been seen as an opportunity as the EU, Japan and
USA have experienced economic growth and falling consumer prices due to the explosion of economic
activity in NICs and RICs. It is thought however, in the future that the USA will become less dominant and
that shortage of fuel, food and water will lead to conflicts.

Named Example: Russia – the rebirth of a superpower

In the past 20 years Russia has uncovered significant reserves of both oil and gas which adds to Russia’s
global power. Russia currently supplies 25% of EU gas and is the largest producer of natural gas in the
world. Russia has also developed links with China as Asia’s cities need to switch to less polluting natural
gas. Russia’s nature resource reserves have also allowed it to growth in confidence:
➢ In 2006 Russia cut off gas supplies to the Ukraine for 3 days and in March reduced supplies by
➢ In August 2007 Russian submarines planted 2 flags on the Arctic seabed claiming sovereignty over
a large area
➢ Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and EU cut off in 2008-09
Named Example: USA car industry
The USA car industry has shrunk since 1970s due to lack of investment and a failure to compete with
Japanese car technology. In 2000, car sales in the USA were at 17 million but this has declined in 2007 to
13 million. In 2008, the top five best selling cars in the USA were Japanese. Chinese car industries are
also beginning to launch themselves onto world markets and it is thought that by 2015 Geely will produce
1.7 million cars per year.

Implications for the Majority world (Less developed

countries) of the new superpowers
Some periphery nations have gained economic independence through 2 ways:
1) Nationalisation – state has taken control of the company or its land owning
2) Cartels – formation of cartels e.g. OPEC

Named Example: OPEC – an oil cartel

The organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was created in 1960 to counter oil price
cuts from American and European oil companies. In 1979, the OPEC countries produced 65% of the world
oil but only 35% by 2007. There were concerns that they had reached peak oil but it has allowed them to
control the price of oil within a range of $22-28 per barrel. This means they control the amount of crude oil
they export to avoid flooding or squeezing the international marketplace. The profits made from oil have
allowed member countries to invest and diversify their economies and to generate wealth over the past 40
years. It has also ensured that countries maintained favourable relationships with the OPEC countries and
that the Middle East would be involved in economic cooperation and development with industrialised

Named Example: China’s investment in Africa – Colonisation

or development?
The growth of the emerging powers has been seen by many to provide the developing world with new
opportunities to develop. Chinese companies are investing in Africa to help exploit and export raw
- Around 30% of all used in China comes from Africa
- In 2007 Chinese investment in Africa totalled $30 billion

However many believe that China has little interest in developing Africa; they are just wanting its resources.
This is because most investment goes to the governments, TNCs and Chinese companies, and not to the
local people. Much of the infrastructure has also been built by Chinese nationals and not local people.
China now has:
- 45% ownership of oil field in Nigeria
- Minerals investment in Zimbabwe
- $175 million invested in copper mining in Zambia

Shifting power may lead to tensions

Although the USA and Europe are allies there still remain cultural tensions between them. USA attitudes
tend to focus on individual provision of healthcare and education, are more overtly religious and are
concerned about being number one! Europe has a stronger emphasis on the welfare state, more liberal
attitudes and is more family orientated.

This is a growing feature of the 21st Century and tends to be located in areas where the involvement of the
USA and other countries are seen as directly opposed to the interests of Islam and Muslims by extreme
Islamic groups. It is mostly directed toward the USA, with the biggest attack being the 9/11. Many people
in the world believed the USA deserved the attack as they ignored international agreements for example
the world criminal court in which they refuse to have its own citizens stand but wanted war criminals
prosecuted. They had reduced its aid to the poorest nations and supported political regimes where it suited
them e.g. Kuwait.

In 2002 the invasion of Iraq was thought by many Europeans to be less about removing Saddam Hussein
and this alleged weapons of mass destruction but about ensuring the USA had access to Middle East oil
supplies. The USA drawn-out attempt to restore a form of peaceful, functioning government in Iraq
undermined the USA’s international status.

The Future
There are 4 main cultural world views which are present in the emerging powers; American corporate
capitalism, European liberalism, the Islamic world and Chinese Confucianism. There are various possible
1) Multi-polar world – USA remains the most powerful but less dominant superpower but rise of China
and India
2) Arms race – possibly nuclear in the middle east and east Asia if tensions cannot be resolved
3) Resource nationalisation – rising tensions as oil and water run short and there is a dash for new
4) Decline of Europe and Japan – due to rapidly ageing populations
5) Resource –rich powers (Russia, Middle East) will challenge the political and economic order
What questions have been asked?
‘The tensions between today’s superpowers are economic rather than political’ Discuss. (10)

To what extent have the ways of maintaining power changed over time (10)

Suggest and justify a set of criteria for defining what a superpower is? (10)

Examine ways in which superpowers exert their influence (10)

Evaluate the factors which lead to superpower status (15)

Using examples, assess the view that the relationship between the developed and the developing world is
a neo-colonial one (15)

Assess the view that economic development in not possible without causing environmental degradation

Using figure 4 - explain how membership of International Organisations gives some countries political and
economic power (10 marks)
Referring to examples discuss the factors that cause power to shift between superpowers over time (15)

To what extent is the USA’s

superpower status threatened by
the emerging power of the BRICs
(Brazil, Russia, India and China)?

With reference to Figure 3 and your

own knowledge, explain how the
USA maintains its superpower
status. (10)

Figure 3 The USA abroad: aid,

McDonalds and military bases

US overseas aid: the top 20

receiving countries

McDonald’s restaurants
around the world

USA military presence

around the world

Topic 5: Bridging the Development Gap

What do I need to know?

 How the development Gap can be measured
 Theories on why the gap exists
 The role of different Key players on development
 General physical, economic, political and social causes of the gap
 Role of trade and investment in the development gap
 Social, economic and environmental impacts of the development gap
 Impacts on minority groups
 Impacts on Megacities
 The positive and negative impacts of countries trying to close the gap on migration and the
 Theoretical ways of reducing the development gap
 The advantages and disadvantages of methods of closing the development gap

Key Terms:
Aid Refers to gifts or repayable loans made by one country to another
Apartheid Meaning segregation, used to describe a political and legal system used in
South Africa to separate different ethnic groups
Bilateral aid Foreign aid (in the shape of money, expertise, education or technology)
from a single donor to a country
Bottom-up development Occurs at a community level – people’s needs are indentified and local
projects are designed to meet them
Capital-intensive High-cost industries such as mining where machines do most of the work
and few jobs are created
Debt service Payments of interest, plus a proportion of the original loan, which are
required in order to pay back a debt over a given period of time
Development Means ‘change’ and implies change is for the better
Development gap The social and economic disparity between the wealthy and the poor
Formal economy The economy that is regulated by the state so is taxed and monitored by
the government.
Gross Domestic Product The value of goods and services produced in a country over a year.
Gross National Product Like GDP but includes overseas investment such as shares and earnings
(GNP) for overseas companies and branches.
Human Development Index Created by the UN to provide a measure of life expectancy, education and
(HDI) GDP for every country in the world.
Informal economy All economic activities that are neither taxed or monitored by the
Investment Refers to repayable loans used to develop a country but with an
expectation of a share of the profits e.g. when TNCs invest in a factory
Millennium Development Agreed at the UN summit in 2000, 8 goals were agreed to provide a set of
Goals (MDGs) development goals for the world to reach by 2015
Multilateral aid Aid given from alliances for several countries or organisations to another
Multiplier Effect An effect in economies in which an increase in spending produces an
increase in the national income and consumption greater than the amount
originally spent
Neo-liberalism Idea that market exchange is capable of acting as a guide for all human
action. State interventions are minimized including the obligations for the
state to provide for the welfare of its citizens
Out-sourcing The employment of people overseas to do jobs previously done by people
in the home country
Per capita Per person
Purchasing Power Parity Shows what per capita income will purchase when the cost of living is taken
(PPP) into consideration
Structural Adjustment Re-scheduling loans to make them more affordable
Programmes (SAP)
Tied Aid Where foreign aid benefits the donor in the shape of interest repayments,
access to new markets or political allegiance.
Top-down development Development projects are made by governments or large organisations
Trade liberalisation Also known as ‘free trade’, removing barriers such as duties or customs

How the development Gap can be measured

 Gross Domestic Product – total value of goods and services produced by a country in a year. Does
not take into account the way in which the cost of living may vary between countries. Also only
average figures which do not tell the way in which wealth is distributed within a country or how the
government invests the money it has.
 Human Development Index (HDI) – measures life expectancy, educational attainment and GDP per
capita. These are converted to an index which has a max value of 1.0
 Gender related development index (GDI) – measurement of overall achievement for both men and
women in the 3 factors measured in the HDI
 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – established in 2000 to reduce global poverty substantially
by 2015. Measurement of progress is based on 1990 figures.
➢ Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
➢ Achieve universally primary education
➢ Promote gender equality
➢ Reduce child mortality
➢ Improve maternal health
➢ Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
➢ Ensure environmental sustainability
➢ Develop a global partnership for development
 Development Cable – identified that in order for a country to develop there are key developmental
factors that interact. The outer strands are the outcomes of development and are integral to

Theories on why the gap exists

Rostow’s model (Modernisation Theory)
Stated that a country passes from underdevelopment to development through a series of stages of
economic growth. He thought that capital should be transferred from developed to developing countries to
assist development. Did not take into account factors such as high rates of population growth or political

Poverty Cycle
Idea that less developed countries are trapped in a
continually cycle of poverty because of a lack of
money and low incomes. Did not take into account
the rapid economic growth of countries like China,
India and South Korea. Also does not consider the
amount of foreign aid or loans from international

Dependency Theory (Frank)

Countries like the USA control and exploit less
developed areas of the world. This produces a
relationship of dominance and dependency which
can lead to poverty and underdevelopment.

Countries are becoming increasing connected and interdependent at a global scale. Global flows that
connect places involve the movement of people, capital, technology, ideas and information.

In the last 50 years, many poor countries accepted loans from rich countries and interest payments on
loans affect development as they put pressure on the financial situation in the country. Debt is also an
issue due to corruption within developing countries’ governments which divert loan money from the
intended target and trade barriers imposed by developing countries which make it hard for poorer countries
to export their goods.

The role of different Key players on development

Type Example Impact on development in developing countries
International International Aim to prevent the disruption of international financial system so
organisations Monetary Fund countries can renegotiate through the IMF the terms of debt and impose
conditions called ‘stabilisation programmes’ which often hinder the
World Bank Provides investment for economic and social projects to improve
standards. Conditions attached to the loans hinder development and
promote dependency and increased poverty
World Trade Can promote trade between developed and developing nations. Can
Organisation encourage trade dependency and create barriers to free and fair trade
International TNCs e.g. Provide employment and investment in a country/region. May exploit
Commercial Nike workers to maximise cheap labour and stay competitive. Leakage of
funds back to parent company
National Governments Regulate the economy to make the most of market opportunities and
Political attract inward investment. Provide physical infrastructure e.g. roads and
public services e.g. education. Decisions can be affected by politics and
existing alliances
NGOs Unicef, Oxfam Non-biased help to development projects or relief programmes. Bottom-
up approach takes account of local peoples needs. Rely on funding that
may not be available

General physical, economic, political and social causes of

the gap

Role of trade and investment in the development gap

Some NICs have benefited from high levels of foreign direct investment e.g. China and South Korea.
However there are 2 billion people who live in countries that have become less globalised as trade has
falled iin relation to national income including most of the African countries.

Africa in 2002 if it increased its share of world trade by just 1% would earn an extra $49billion, 5x the
amount it receives in aid. Traditionally north-south trade flows have focused on developing countries
exporting primary products. In the last 20 years developing countries have moved into manufacturing (80%
of exports now manufactured products). Globalisation has led to large increases in trade in places such as
China, India. Importantly ‘terms of trade’ is the ration between currencies earned from its exports and the
prices of imports. This means that any countries exporting natural resources and importing manufactured
goods will have declining terms of trade.

Named Case Study: Cotton

Background information Impacts of cotton Link to the development
Mali Cotton  10 million small-scale cotton  Breathing problems  Subsidies lea to
growers suffering from falling due to cotton fibres overproduction of
prices  Farming cotton gives cotton  forces cotton
 Small scale farmers can a farmer 3x the prices down  Mali
earn up to $1000/year average annual cotton farmers earn
 3 million Malians rely on income less  decline in living
cotton to survive  Plans to privatised standards
 2001 US aid = $37.7 m the cotton industry  If cotton subsidies to
 2001 = Mali lost $343 million  4% of population USA farmers were
due to American subsidises driven into poverty scrapped prices would
 = 6% of GDP have risen for African
farmers by 3.5%
USA Cotton  25,000 cotton producers  Large scale  Reduced cotton prices
receive $4 billion/year in production e.g. 1 by 15%
subsidies 16,000 acre farm  Law passed banning
 Up to 20% of cotton farmer’s makes enough cotton export subsidies on
income comes from for 200,000 t-shirts cotton
subsidies  The slack in world  WTO ruled in March
 USA spends 3x as much on production of clothing 2007 that cotton
subsidies for cotton then it has been taken up by subsidies were unfair
does on aid for China and Pakistan
 whole of Africa  In countries that
 The US is the second largest subsidise their
cotton producer farming, only 5% of
 US currently accounts for the population are
more than 50% of the worlds farmers
exported cotton.

Social, economic and environmental impacts of the

development gap
Urban and rural areas are effected differently by the development gap, rural communities are often the
worse effected due to an inability to produce enough food.

Named Case Study: The impact on the development gap in

Key Facts:
 Population of 31 million
 Resources – copper, cobalt and hydro-electric power, coffee, tobacco, sugar cane and tea
Social Economic Environmental
 Infant mortality rates 106 per 1000 live births  In 2005 – GDP per capita  Widespread malaria
for the poorest and 20 per 1000 live births was $1454 and cholera
for the wealthiest  Economy based on export  At risk from droughts
 24% of families are undernourished sale of primary goods = especially linked to
 Lack of money from exports means low prices climate change
government has limited funding for  In 1992, debt was $1.9  Raw material
healthcare and education billion exploitation has led
 2005 life expectancy was 49.7 years  Early 1990s debt to destruction of the
 Only 60% have access to safe water repayments exceeded natural environment
 Only 43% have access to sanitation export earnings e.g. mining, removal
 First government in Africa to attract  2000 the World Bank of trees for
international aid for a HIV/AIDs education cancelled most of the debt agriculture
programme = only 6% of population infected through the HIPC scheme
 Only 17% of girls attend secondary school totally $1.5 billion 
 Women marry at the age of 15 increased spending on
 High fertility rate – 6.8 children per woman public services by 20% 
10% more of the
population now have
access to clean water

Impacts on minority groups

The development gap can create differences between groups such as castes in India or between males
and females in the same country. The caste system is a religious and social class system in India, where
classes are defined by birth and family. The Dalits or untouchables (16% of population) work in unhealthy,
polluting jobs and suffer from social prejudice and extreme poverty. They are not allowed to obtain water
from the same source as other people and must have their own segregated area. Scheduled tribes consist
of tribal groups (7% of population) and other backward classes (52% of population). This enables them to
discriminate positively in education and jobs for the most disadvantaged.

Women in developing countries are more likely than men to be unpaid family workers or occupy low-status
jobs and have lower earnings. 64% of adults are illiterate women and 57% of children who receive no
primary education are girls.

Impacts on Megacities - – General examples and 1 in detail

e.g. Mumbai from AS or Dhaka in book
8% of the world’s urban population live in ‘megacities’ which have populations over 10 million. In
developing countries a variety of push factors in the countryside have encouraged out-migration to the
cities; population pressure, unemployment, poor housing, famine etc. People are then attracted to the
urban areas due to pull factors; better education, housing, improved medical facilities etc.

• New migrants don’t have any money so
end up in ‘temporary’ settlements on
unwanted land e.g. marshy, polluted,
along transport routes

Environment: Deprivation:
• Air pollution  due to traffic, power • Limited access to employment and
plants that are old and badly income
maintained • Reliance on informal economy
• Water pollution  leaking sewers, • Overcrowded housing
landfill sites and lack of sewerage • Limited access to health and education
systems • Unhealthy environments
• Waste disposal  contamination and
health hazards due to waterborne

Water supply  aquifers become
depleted due to huge population

Location of megacities
Named Case Study: Dhaka, Bangladesh: a megacity under
Key facts:
• By 2015 population expected to reach 21 million with one of the
highest population densities in the world
• Caused by high rates of natural increase and large volumes of
rural-urban migration.

Challenges created:
Challenge Solution/recent developments
Employment  Unemployment of 23% ✔ 2 export zones created to encourage
 33% of city workforce is self-employed export of goods
 Child labour high in poorest households ✔ Bashundhara City created with high-
 Home to 80% of the 2 million garment tech industries and businesses
industry employees
Urban Poor  28% of population classed as poor, 12% ✔ Improvements in drains and sanitation
extremely poor ✔ Back to home programme encourages
 Only 5% live in permanent housing people to return to villages with help
 4.2 million live in slums ✔ Local community health volunteers
Environment  Only 27% connected to public sewer ✔ Ban on leaded petrol
al quality  Poor water management cost $670 ✔ Work in improve water quality, supply
million each year and sanitation cost $100m
 Poor air regulation = air pollution above ✔ Public information on causes and
national standard 100 days per year impacts of poor air and water quality
 Polluted water sources = disease spreads ✔ Promoted clean gas-powered cooking
quickly stoves

The positive and negative impacts of countries trying to

close the gap on migration and the environment
Migration: increased migration flows are a vital part of development and include both international (into the
country e.g. business, technicians and out of the country as they seek a better life) and internal flows from
rural to urban areas.
Source area/country Host area/country
Benefits ✔ Natural increase slows as ✔ Declining populations boosted
young adults leave by migrants
✔ Less pressure on resources ✔ Labour force filled
✔ Remittances sent home ✔ Multicultural society
Costs  Populations become older  Racial/social tensions
 Loss of skilled workers  Gender concentrations e.g.
 Westernisation of returning only males
migrants  Increased pressure on

Environment: as a country develops its environmental pollution and ecological footprint becomes larger.
Economic development raises demand for resources and countries tend to exploit them as quickly as
possible without thinking of the environmental costs e.g. SYNOPTIC LINK TO CHINA CASE STUDY

Theoretical ways of reducing the development gap - Neo

Liberal, Marxism, Populism, Non development
Neo-liberal 1980-1990s – looked to remove tariff barriers to encourage international trade. This allowed
countries to develop through trade and governments should look to privatise and reducing state
intervention in the economy. This however, tended to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Examples
e.g. World Bank, world Trade Organisation

Marxism – idea that capitalism is based on the exploitation of workers by the owners and that history has
mainly been a conflict between these 2 classes. Sought to replace existing class structures with a system
that managed society for the good of all

Populism – idea that supports ‘the people’ in the struggle against society’s ellite. Also known as
‘grassroots action’ it is an important element of ‘bottom-up’ planning e.g. NGOs

Non-development – some people are against the idea of development as it creates and widens
inequalities, undermines local cultures and is environmentally unsustainable.
The advantages and disadvantages of methods of closing the development gap
Solution Definition Benefits Negatives Example
Multilateral Provided by ✔ Enables overview to see where  Fails to reach the poorest people Brandt Report suggested each
many nations the money will be best used  Benefits are short-lived country should give 0.7% of its
and organised ✔ Equal share of aid can be given  Often a number of disasters occur in a GNP towards. However most
by international to a number of different countries short period so people give less money countries do not get close to
bodies e.g. UN  The WB notorious for implementing reaching that target
conditions that consequences for
recipient countries
Bilateral Given directly ✔ Fosters links between countries  Often ‘tied’ to the purchase of goods See Pergau Dam example
from one ✔ Often the country receives more and services from the donor country
country to aid in this way  Use of aid on large capital intensive
another schemes can worsen the conditions of
the poorest people
 Can create a culture of dependency
 Interest repayments
Voluntary Run by NGOs or ✔ Work with communities to  They rely on the generosity of the public See Barlonyo example
charities such provide for their long-term needs as well as donations from governments
as Oxfam, ✔ Often help during natural for their funds. This means that their
Action Aid disasters cash flow isn’t always guaranteed
Top-down Capital intensive ✔ Major disaster areas benefit from  Criticised as inappropriate way of Pergau Dam, Malaysia
and government short-term aid helping poor countries Began in 1991 and set up without
lead. ✔ Areas with historic ties between  Aid often fought over by different consulting local people.
the donor and recipient countries interest groups = lack of investment in Malaysia around the same time
receive lots of aid productive business activities bought £1 billion worth of arms
✔ Countries often use the aid to  Often money diverted to rich people from the UK
support their existing systems rather than the poor Only £234 million in aid actually
given = ‘tied aid’
Bottom-up ✔ Involve the local people in the  They rely on the generosity of the public Barlonyo, Uganda
decision making as well as donations from governments Supported by national and
✔ Analyses the local’s needs and for their funds. This means that their international NGOs local farmers
looks for solutions cash flow isn’t always guaranteed have formed a democratically run
✔ Uses appropriate technology cooperative. Enables all farmers to
share the cost of hiring a truck to
transport their goods to market. In
2008 able to sell their sesame
seed crop for 3 xs than in 2007.
Extra income gone into schooling
and healthcare. NGOS gave ox
ploughs, high-yield seeds to
improve efficiency.
Fair Trade Aimed to ✔ Obtains a fair price for a wide  The products sold in the developing Uganda
improve the variety of goods exported from world are more expensive than other Biggest export crop is coffee worth
terms of trade developing countries to the brands e.g. Cadbury’s so there is a $350 million in 2007. Gumutindo
between North developed world reluctance to buy them Coffee cooperative has 3000
and South ✔ Works with small-scale members – 91% depend on coffee
through the Fair producers and makes them more for their main income. Money
Trade economically secure helps pay for school fees and
Foundation ✔ Fair-trade sales valued at $2.3 raise the standard of living
billion worldwide in 2006
Debt Examples ✔ 14 heavily indebted poor  Reduces government spending by In December 2000, the UK
cancellation include ‘make countries (HIPCs) have had their cutting social programmes e.g. health government agreed to cancel
poverty history’ debts written off and education debts owed to the UK by 26
in 2005 or ✔ Allows countries loans to be  Privatisation of state assets to cut debt countries, but debts owed to other
Structural rescheduled to make them more often sold to TNCs creditors, such as the Inter-
Adjustment manageable  Increases pressure on countries to American Development Bank,
Programmes ✔ Improves FDI by removing trade generate exports to pay off debts have not been cancelled
(SAPs), HIPCs or investment restrictions  Some developed countries accused to
initiative ✔ Reduces government debts protecting their own interests
through cuts in spending
Tourism Belief that the ✔ FDI and technology brought in by  TNCS control tourism so leakage of
biodiversity and TNCs money
scenery in many ✔ Mass tourism from wealthy  Can spoil the natural environment
poorer countries nations  Local culture can become westernised
can attract long- ✔ Tourism needs the development  Too much pressure on local resources
haul tourism of infrastructure e.g. roads which  Exploitation of cheap labour
from developed benefit the local people
countries ✔ Generates local employment and
✔ Multiplier effect – profits from
tourism trickle down to the local
Technology Access to ✔ Does not require the same levels  Access to technology is limited in many Mongolia
mobile phones of literacy as a computer areas of the world due to the lack of The Asia-Pacific Development
in the ✔ Cheaper way to access funding Organisation Programme (APDIP)
developing information  Should money be spent on phones has developed ‘citizen information
countries could ✔ Africa now the fastest growing when there are larger issues to be centres’ which function as training
help bridge the mobile phone market in the world addressed? centres which visitors can learn
digital divide ✔ Allows leapfrogging of basic computer skills and access
technology the internet. Remote rural areas
can connect to the central
government and apply for grants.
Aims to encourage business and
collages to use IT and counteract
the issue of the periphery
South to South Hope that more ✔ Encourages recipient  Economic migration to recipient China in Africa
Links appropriate, low governments to spend aid more countries to earn higher wages China increased its aid to African
cost and effectively  Wages often remain low in recipient governments, cancelled $10 billion
sustainable ✔ Workers are learning new skills counties debts. China hopes that by doing
solutions could ✔ Employing local people  Large-scale projects can lead to this it will open up new markets
be developed ✔ New trading links developed displacement of people and find new raw materials. Africa
 Ignoring health and safety regulations has 50% of the world’s gold and is
also rich in diamonds. China now
buys 1/3rd of its oil from Africa
MDGs Provide a ✔ Success stories e.g. 41 more  Over 500,000 women died from treated, Bangladesh Progress
framework for children enrolled in primary preventable conditions of pregnancy 1) Eradicate poverty = poverty
monitoring the education and childbirth reduction rate of 1.2% a year
development ✔ 2 million more receiving aid  980 million still live on less than 1$ per 2) University primary education =
gap and treatment day 3.4% increase
measuring any ✔ 6% economic growth in sub- 3) Gender equality = gap in
progress Saharan countries in 2008 education levels closed
towards 4) Reduce child morality =
reducing it reduced by 2.8%
What questions have been asked?
Study Figure 4.
Using information in Figure 4, and your own knowledge, explain why it is difficult to measure development.

Evaluate the role of different global organisations in narrowing the development gap. (15)

Using Figure 4 and your own knowledge, explain why some groups of people within a country have a
lower level of development than others. (10)
Using named examples, assess the advantages and disadvantages of top-down and bottom-up
development strategies (15)

Evaluate the role of trade in bridging the development gap (15)

Examine the role played by debt in maintaining the global development gap (15)

Examine the barriers that exist against the expansion of trade in some developing countries (15)

How far are patterns of global trade responsible for maintaining the development gap? (15)

Assess the view that economic development is not possible without causing environmental degradation

Topic 6: The Technological Fix

 What is technology and how has it developed and spread?
 Geographical distribution of technology use
 Reasons for inequality of access
 Link between economic development and technological change
 Technological leapfrogging – a way to overcome barriers to development?
 The impacts of technological innovation
 Externalities of technology
 Different types of technological solutions
 Technology vs. sustainable future
 What will have to technology in the future?
Key Terms
Biotechnology Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms to
make or modify products or processes for specific use
Digital Access Index The gap between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s
Digital Blackout Where people are without some or all of the following; email, internet, television and
telephone connections. This can be due to either a malfunction or because of a
switch to new technology
Digital Divide The gap between the richer and poorer parts of the world in terms of ICT access.
DNA The chemical in the cells of animals and plants that carries genetic information
Environmental The view that the physical environment, rather than social conditions, determines
determinism culture
Extended polluter Holds manufacturers and traders responsible for the environmental impacts of their
responsibility products throughout the product life-cycle, from extraction of natural materials,
through the manufacturing process and product use, to their disposal
Externalities Third-party effects that can be positive or negative. They occur when the actions of
one group, organisation or individual affect the standard of living or quality of life of
another party without direct interaction between the two
Genetic modification The manipulation of DNA by splitting the DNA module and then rejoining it to form a
hybrid molecule
Global Shift Transfer of manufacturing from western Europe and North America, to newly
industrialised countries and the growth of trade around the Pacific Ocean
information and Blanket term to cover all technologies involves in the manipulation and
communications communication of information
technology (ICT)
Intellectual property Cover the ownership of creations of the mind both artistic and commercial
Intermediate Labour intensive and small scale technology
Pandemic A disease that spreads over a whole country or over the whole world
Patent Sole and exclusive rights for a number of years to the proceeds from the sales of
an invention
Polluter Pays Intended to make those who cause pollution pay for the damage they do to the
Principle environment
Technological Describes how some newer technologies, such as mobile phones and the internet,
Leapfrogging are penetrating developing countries much faster than older technologies such as
landline telephones
Technology poor Places and people who lack access to a regular and reliable source of electricity
Technology rich Places and people who have access to reliable electricity and to a good
communications infrastructure

What is technology and how has it developed and spread?

Technology results from innovation and the ability of people to innovate and find new and better ways of
carrying out a task. It also increases the ability of people to satisfy their own needs. It is generally believe
that for every problem there is a technological fix:

Technological fix examples include geo-engineering to reduce incoming solar radiation to reduce global
warming and pharmaceutical research to find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS
Attitudinal fix examples include education and tax incentives to reduce people’s carbon footprints and
public health education to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS

Development of Technology

Over time people have used technology to control nature, so that their lives are less controlled by
environmental factors e.g. an umbrella when it is raining. Generally people will accept new technology if
they think it will improve their quality of life. Techies embrace new developments to the ‘luddites’ who are
opposed to technological change. In the USA Amish Christians reject modern technology for religious

Geographical distribution of technology use

The Digital Access Index (DAI) was introduced in 2003 to measure the access to ICT of people in 178
countries. It outlined that technology can be seen as pervasive, as it is found in some form or other
wherever you find people living on the planet

When comparing the HDI and DAI

North America, Western Europe,
Japan, and Australia countries are
high in both human development
and digital access. This clustering
and relationship is not

Those counties with a high HDI

score but middle/low DAI scores
include Cuba, Iran, Maldives,
Saudi Arabia, Thailand and

Reasons for inequality of access

- 2/3rds of all those infected by
HIV live in Sub-Saharan Africa but
- In North Korea the government
cannot afford the annual treatment
banned people from having private
phones and mobiles since 2004

- 31 countries operated nuclear
- The Catholic Church bans the use
power plants in 2007
of contraception on religious
- Western powers that used military
force, economic sanctions and tied
- In some developing catholic
aid to prevent countries gaining
countries access to contraception in
access to nuclear technology e.g.
severely limited

Link between economic development and technological

Countries with higher levels of development tend to have greater access to communications technology.
Those countries with a digital access index of over 75 are hyper connected and these include the triad of
economically wealthy countries  East Asia, North America and EU. Countries with scores less than 15
are mainly in Africa and they will be slow to move forward as a range of other technologies need to be in
place first e.g. reliable power source.
Also linked to this is the developing world’s ability to access technology to exploit and burn fossil fuels,
meaning they are reliant upon capturing energy directly e.g. solar and wind power. This therefore restricts
their development.

The developed world has also gained an ‘initial advantage’ through continual technological innovation. This
has meant that the use of patents and copyright has enabled the funds from these innovations to be
returned to the developed countries. The USA accounts for nearly 40% of technology patents.

Technological leapfrogging – a way to overcome barriers to

This can help countries to develop by providing a quick fix such as the use of mobiles has allowed places to
develop as they are wireless and nodes such as mobile phone masts and solar power systems can be built
quickly and almost anywhere. This therefore allows long-distance communication to develop in places that
were in the past on the periphery.

Named Example: India

In 1998 India had 22 telephone landlines per 1000 people and was seen as excluded from global
communications due to the expense and waiting list for telephones to be installed. Mobile phones were
introduced in 1994 and since 2000 mobile phone use has grown from 3.5 mobiles to 230 per 1000 people.
This has brought many benefits to the people:
✔ Families separated by rural-urban migration can stay in touch
✔ Farmers can now check prices before going to market to buy fertilisers or sell crops ensuring they
get the best prices
✔ Small businesses can keep in touch with customers and services
✔ Information such as weather forecasts and hazard warnings can be sent to remote areas

The impacts of technological innovation

Green Revolution Gene Revolution
Who developed the Research institutes e.g. International TNCs and bio-tech companies
crops? Rice Research Institute
Which crops are First crop ‘IR8’ was rice but other Bt maize and Bt cotton and herbicide
grown? varieties now replace it as more resistant soybean
Where are the crops HYV rice grown in Asia GM soya bean most widely planted
grown? HYV wheat grown in Latin America USA, China, Latin America and Canada
HYV crops in Africa have large areas of GM crops
Benefits? ✔ Rapid growth allows 2 crops per ✔ Some varieties have been bred for
year nutrient e.g. Golden rice contains
✔ Yields 10xs traditional rice vitamin A
✔ Now bred to be disease and pest ✔ Crops are resistant to herbicide so
resistant weeds can be killed without crop
✔ India been self-sufficient in rice damage
since 1980s
Have they increased Yields of wheat, rice and maize grew Most GM crops are fed to animals
food production? by 2% year between 1967-1996
Unforeseen 1 ) Solar polarisation – larger 1) Led to export boom which helped
consequences farmers could afford fertilisers etc so Argentina to recover from serious crash in
benefited the most 2001
2) Monocultures – HYVs are 2) Number of farms has fallen by 60,000
vulnerable to new strains of disease as area of GM soybean x3
3) Dependency – needs high inputs 3) Decline in areas of maize and
of fertilisers, water and machinery to sunflower by 5 million hectares reducing
maintain yields food security among the poor
4) Environmental problems –
widespread use of agrochemicals
lead to Eutrophication

Named Example – DDT

From 1938 the synthetic pesticide was used to control malarial mosquitoes and became a farm pesticide.
In 1964 environmentalists Rachel Carson publish ‘Silent Spring’ which blamed DDT for a growing toll of
wildlife deaths. DDT was ingested by creatures and restricted their ability to lay viable eggs. DDT was
banned in the USA in 1972 and the UK in 1984.

Externalities of technology
For every technology there are unexpected consequences of its use which can be both positive and
negative. There are various different approaches to externalities and their impacts:

Polluter Pays Principle – way of accounting for the pollution which is a negative externality. It quantifies
the cost of pollution and passes it back to the producers, or user of a technology. It can be implemented
through 2 approaches:
1) Command and control – new technologies are introduced to limit pollution. In the USA all cars built
since 2004 must be fitted with a catalytic converter to reduce their emissions
2) Market based – governments introduce pollution controls, carbon trading permits and product
labelling e.g. British government introduced Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) bands based on the amount
of C02 that a vehicle emits. This aims to encourage people to drive cars which produce less carbon

Pollution Sink – the carbon dioxide we produce from burning fossil fuels is released into the atmosphere.
It was assumed that the sink was large enough to cope but the WWF living Planet Index suggested that
using the environment as a sink for pollution has serious consequences that will need to be addressed

Capturing pollutants – for single-point polluters such as power stations the use of carbon capture and
storage (CCS) technology can be used.
Different types of technological solutions
Type Aim Benefits Negatives Example

Appropriate Designed with ✔ It is appropriate to the  Takes tremendous study of the Free play wind-up radio
special level of income, skill and region’s climate, resources, Cost around $40 which is human powered
consideration to the needs of the local location, and people to ensure it so no pollution or energy costs. Has an
environmental, population fits in with local cultures etc integrated torch and can be used to hear
ethical, cultural, ✔ Fewer resources are  long term effects are unknown news, weather forecasts and hazard
social, political, and needed  Pose more problems for large warnings.
economical aspects ✔ Easier to maintain scale applications Increases independence and access of
of the community it ✔ Less impact on the critical information in isolated rural areas
is intended for. environment
Intermediate Refer to relatively See above See above Sri Lankan Pumpkin Storage system
low, usually labour Gutters collect rainwater and it is stored in a
intensive technology tank built from locally available materials
that can be (cost to build £200). Water is then collected
mastered by local from the tap at the bottom of the tank,
people, especially in supply clean fresh and regular water supply
the developing world
Civil Also known as large- ✔ Provides quick path to  Very expensive e.g. Three Gorges China
engineering scale megaprojects development e.g. China Dam cost $25 billion to build Have favoured megaprojects as a quick way
which reflect a top- ✔ Can help solve issues  Huge environmental impacts e.g. to modernise the Chinese economy and
down approach such as energy pollution and flooding of land most of the leaders are trained engineers.
production and flood  Social impacts e.g. displaced Gained a 8% GDP annual growth rate
control people e.g. Three Gorges Dam
 Often money comes from tied aid - Increased pollution as the river can no
or loans which have conditions or longer regulate itself
high interest repayments - 4 million people displaced
- Several species threatened with extinction
Alternative Refer to ✔ Control energy costs and  Issues over practicality of Landfill gas – South Dakota
technologies that are reduced greenhouse gas widespread use Landfill gas is approximately forty to sixty
more emissions  Are they cost-effective? percent methane. The gases produced
environmentally ✔ Collect methane gas  Will widespread adoption would within the landfill can be collected and flared
friendly than the which if released into the produce negative impacts on the off or used to produce heat or electricity.
functionally atmosphere is 20x more economy, lifestyle or environment The City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
equivalent global warming potential installed a landfill gas collection system
technologies than carbon dioxide which collects, cools, dries, and
dominant in current compresses the gas into an 11-mile
practice. pipeline. The gas is then used to power an
ethanol plant operated by POET Biorefining.
This energy production offsets almost two
million tons of coal per year.

Micro Includes providing ✔ Enables developing  Is this an effective way to spend See India Named example
Technology developing nations countries to become part aid money?
with connections to of the globalised network
ICT and mobile of communications
phones ✔ Leapfrogging of old
technologies enables fast
development in certain
Nano See GM/Green See GM/Green revolution See GM/Green revolution table See GM/Green revolution table
technologies revolution table table
Geoengineering Looks to engineer ✔ Could provide long term,  The effectiveness of the schemes Maldives
our own planet than large scale solutions to proposed may fall short of Building of a $32 million artificial island of
rather attempting to some of the world’s most predictions. Hulhumale between 1997-2002. It is built 2
find a new one serious issues e.g. global metres above sea level and it designed to
warming, land  Techniques that do not remove reduce overcrowding on existing islands
degradation and energy greenhouse gases from the and also replace them if they are drowned
demand atmosphere may control global by rising sea levels
warming, but do not reduce other
effects from these gases Space mirrors
 The full effects of various Attempt by Russia in 1999 to launch giant
geoengineering schemes are not mirrors into orbit to reflect solar radiation
well understood. away from Earth to create a cooling effect.
Costs expected $1 trillion
 Performance of the systems may
become ineffective, unpredictable
or unstable as a result of external
events, such as volcanic
eruptions, El Niño, solar flares
 The techniques themselves may
cause significant foreseen or
unforeseen harm
Solving global issues with technology

Named Example: Fixing Global Warming

➢ Improving energy efficiency in vehicles and machinery
➢ Changing transport patterns from air and road to rail, reducing distances travelled by goods
➢ Extending renewable sources e.g. tidal, wind, solar
➢ Producing bio fuels from crops
➢ Using natural gas in place of coal to generate electricity
➢ Constructing greener buildings e.g. double glazing, solar panels etc
➢ Carbon sequestration – storing carbon underground
➢ Seeding oceans with iron to encourage growth of phytoplankton
➢ Injecting sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect solar radiation
➢ Constructing giant mirrors in space to reflect sunlight
➢ Social controls – population control, lifestyle changes, tax credits for electric cars
➢ International agreements e.g. Kyoto Protocol

Named Example: Fixing land degradation

➢ Increasing organic content in the soil by adding manure and crop wastes to improve structure and
➢ Leaving land fallow allows soil to recover
➢ Crop rotations balance out the nutrient budget and prevents pest taking long-term hold
➢ Planting shelterbelts – prevents soil being washed or blown away
➢ Alley-cropping alternates crops with trees and bushes providing shade and reducing water loss by
➢ Magic stones – used to slow runoff and prevent soil erosion
Technology vs. sustainable future
In order to judge whether technologies we use might help to solve global environmental and resource
problems, the sustainability quadrant allows us to assess technology against well-know criteria

What will happen to technology in the future?

Business as usual – likely to lead to further increases in greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation and
water shortages. Global inequality will grow leaving some areas of the world technology poor. Countries
such as Bangladesh face the added issue of climate change impacts as there are 10m people who live on
land less than 1m above sea level. Therefore a country like Bangladesh can only use technology to cope
with the frequent flood disasters that afflict it but longer-term solutions to prevent the disaster lies in the
hands of the developed world

Technological Convergence – the spread of the motor vehicle is an example of this and they allow
individual mobility, road transport which is key in development as it allows markets and networks to operate
and transport in an industry accounts for up to 10% of the GNP providing jobs and income growth. The
launch of the Tata Nano in India priced at $2500 will allow the poorer people to access transport. Also
leads to other problems such as increases in Co2 emissions.

Energy efficiency – The Automotive X Prize is a global competition to find a 100mpg four-passenger car.
The winner will receive $7.5 million and aims to encourage technological breakthroughs. Other examples
include; electric cars, hydrogen cars and bio fuel cars.

Technology transfer – IMF report concluded that education was the key to ensuring people in less
developed parts of the world could benefit from new technologies. The commitment to development
technology index shows the developed world’s willingness to allow this technology transfer. Technology
transfers do occur but often rely on NGOs to provide the funding required to purchase and install the
technology e.g. Practical Action
What Questions have been asked?
Using information in Figure 5, and your own knowledge, explains how farming technologies might have
different consequences for human and ecosystem wellbeing. (10)
Evaluate the contribution technology might make to tackling global environmental problems such as land
degradation and global warming. (15)

Using named examples, discuss the extent to which there is a widening technology gap between the
developed and developing world. (15)

Technology can be seen to have unforeseen consequences. Discuss this with reference to examples (15)

Some are able to access new technology to solve environmental problems while others are left to suffer
from environmental determinism. Referring to examples, assess the validity of this viewpoint (15)

Examine the importance of technological leapfrogging for developing countries (15)

The development of technology is a possible response to future resource shortages. Assess the possible
costs and benefits to this approach (15)

Assess the view that economic development is not possible without appropriate technologies (15)

Explain how both taxing and subsidising petrol can have impacts on human and ecosystem wellbeing. (10)