Energy War

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In a world in which the U.S. and Europe are addicted to oil and gas, and those increasingly scarce resources are controlled by authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria and Russia, the geopolitical ramifications have upset the traditional balance of power between nations. ENERGY WAR reveals precisely how the economic importance of fossil fuels affects international politics and becomes a powerful tool of foreign policy.

The film profiles newly emergent superpowers such as Iran, a rogue regime that Western democracies must politically tolerate to assure access to its oil, and Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has nationalized the oil industry, which boasts the largest untapped oil field in the world. Through interviews with Russian and Georgian government officials, ENERGY WAR shows how oil was used as a political weapon in the struggle between an economically revitalized Russia and its former Soviet Republic.

Thomas Friedman (author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization and The World is Flat) analyzes the political concept of “petro authoritarianism” and Kenneth Deffeyes (Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage and Beyond Oil) explains the “Peak Oil” phenomenon, the point at which the earth’s supply of oil begins its terminal decline.

Energy War concludes by investigating the search for alternatives to our dependency on oil, featuring interviews with economists, stock market traders, and new energy entrepreneurs who discuss the pros and cons of such possible substitutes and renewables as biofuels, hydropower, nuclear and solar energy. As China, Africa, Latin America and even Saudi Arabia are preparing for a “green” future, it’s clear that a world of new energy sources will reshape the global balance of political power.

Forget the axis of evil, its the axis of oil. The Cold War and the War on Terror were about ideology and globalization. The 21st century will be dominated by the struggle for energy: It will be every man for himself and it’s going to get dirty. In the two-part documentary Energy War, VPRO’s Backlight investigates the major developments with regards to energy sources. Featuring NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

The film describes the geopolitical consequences of the dependency on fossil fuels. In the struggle for the last sources of fossil fuels, countries all over the world are forced to take new political and moral decisions and have to enter into awkward alliances: rogue regimes must be tolerated and befriended.

With a special focus on the gas conflict between Georgia and Russia and the position of Saudi Arabia. Featuring a.o. Thomas Friedman, author of international bestseller The World is Flat. Friedman sheds his light on the inverse connection between rising oil prices and the establishment of free democracies.

The film then moves on to take a look at the international markets for alternative energy. If oil and gas are scarce and expensive in the future, where will countries turn to keep their economy going and their population warm and happy? Could solar energy or bio fuels become the main energy sources of the post-fossil fuel era? Will governments, multinationals or small producers be the motor of the green race?

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