United States Policy toward Rogue Nations
The Country (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
The United States of America is located on the North American continent. It is bordered on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the North Pacific Ocean. The country shares its northern border with Canada. The western part of the southern United States is bordered by Mexico, and the eastern part by the Gulf of Mexico.
The United States is the third largest country in the world in terms of population and has the largest economy. The economy is based on a marketplace composed of privately owned corporations, partnerships, and single proprietor businesses. The country possesses a wide variety of terrain with the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west, the Great Plains west of the Mississippi, and deserts farther west. Forests and both rolling and flat land suitable for farming are found in the midwestern and eastern states. The country has an abundance of lakes and rivers, including the Great Lakes and Great Salt Lake and the Mississippi, Ohio, Potomac, Hudson, and Colorado rivers. The redwood forests are found on the Pacific coast.
The United States has an abundance of resources. Some of the major resources are coal, oil, natural gas, potash, copper, and timber. In 2008, the United States ranked second in the world in purchasing power parity and tenth in gross domestic product per capita. In 2008, the United States ranked first in the world in imports and fourth in the...
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Coal (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Coal is a sedimentary rock varying from brown to black that is primarily composed of carbon and hydrocarbons and is combustible. It is the most plentiful of the fossil fuels found in the United States. The country has 445 billion metric tons of coal reserves, the largest coal reserves in the world. This accounts for 27 percent of the total coal reserves in the world. All four types of coal, anthracite, bituminous, semibituminous, and lignite, are found in the United States. Bituminous and semibituminous coal compose in excess of 90 percent of the coal mined in the United States.
There are three coal-mining regions in the country: the Appalachian region, the interior region, and the western coal region. Coal mined in Appalachia accounts for more than one-third of the coal mined in the United States. Bituminous is the primary coal mined in the region, with major mines in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. The largest amount of this type of coal comes from mines in West Virginia, which is also the second largest coal-mining state in the country. All of the anthracite mined in the United States comes from mines located in northeastern Pennsylvania. The lignite mined in the United States is produced from mines in Texas (the interior region) and North Dakota (the western region). Wyoming is the major producer of subbituminous coal and the largest producer of coal in the United States.
Mining in the United States is done by...
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Oil (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Oil or petroleum is composed of hydrogen and carbon compounds. It is a liquid form of fossilized biomass found in underground reservoirs in sedimentary basins and in the seabeds of the Earth. Gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and liquid propane gas are all derived from oil. Other products made from petroleum include ink, household products, tires, and DVDs. Oil is an important resource for the United States, which ranks first in the world in oil consumption and third in production. The country’s proven reserves of 21 billion barrels placed the United States twelfth in the world in oil reserves in 2008. In the United States, oil deposits are located in the Permian basin, the Mid-Continent Oil Producing Area, in the San Joaquin basin, in Alaska, and offshore. One-fourth of the crude oil produced in the United States comes from offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Texas ranks first among the states in oil production. The other major oil producing states are Alaska, California, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
The United States’ large consumption of oil coupled with a decreasing domestic production has necessitated ever-increasing imports. The United States was able to meet its demand for oil by domestic production until 1970. Since then, the country has imported more and more oil and has become the world’s largest importer of oil. The United States imports oil from both Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) nations and...
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Natural Gas (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Natural gas, a fossil fuel, is composed of a mixture of methane and other combustible hydrocarbons. In comparison to either oil or coal, natural gas produces a much lower quantity of environmental pollutants when burned. In 2007, the United States ranked second in the world in the production of natural gas and first in consumption. In 2007, the U.S. imports of natural gas of 130.3 billion cubic meters placed the country first in the world. As an exporter of natural gas, the United States ranked tenth in the world. As of 2008, the proven reserves of natural gas in the United States were 5.977 trillion cubic meters, and the country ranked sixth in the world. Natural gas reserves are found throughout the United States, but the largest deposits are located in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, and Alaska. The Gulf of Mexico also has an abundant reserve of natural gas. Natural gas produced in the United States meets most of the country’s requirement for the resource; however, some natural gas is imported through pipelines from Canada.
Natural gas is a major energy source for the United States. In 2008, natural gas was used to produce 24 percent of the energy used. Natural gas is used to heat approximately one-half of the homes in the United States. It also plays a major role as an energy source for home appliances. Natural gas provides an important energy source for the generation of electric power and is...
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Copper (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Copper is a metallic element that occurs either freely or with other ores. It is often found in combination with molybdenum, gold, and silver. open-pit mining and below-ground mining are used for the extraction of copper. Copper is an important component in the production of a wide variety of products, such as copper wire and corrosion-resistant tubing. It is used in electronic equipment, cooking appliances, and various construction materials. It is also used in a powdered form in equipment for automobiles and in the aerospace sector.
The first major commercial copper mining was done in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. Throughout U.S. history, copper mines have operated in many different states. By the twenty-first century, most of the mines had ceased operation, with the exception of mines in the West. Arizona and Utah both have long histories as major producers of copper. In 2006 and 2007, Arizona ranked first in the nation in the production of copper, and Utah ranked second. Other major copper mining states are Nevada, New Mexico, and Montana. In 2007, the United States produced 1.19 million metric tons of copper. It ranked third in the world in copper production. The copper produced in the United States represents approximately 63 percent of the copper used by U.S. manufacturers. The rest is imported; Chile, Canada, and Peru are the three major trade partners of the United States for the importation of copper. The...
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Potash (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Potash is produced from a potassium compound, such as potassium oxide or potassium carbonate. Potash is produced either from underground mines, which are the most common, or from solution mining. It is sent to processing plants, where it is milled and refined, and the potassium chloride is processed into potash. The primary use of potash is in the making of fertilizer. In 2008, 93 percent of the potash produced worldwide was used by the fertilizer industry. Potash is also used in feed supplements for animals and in industrial manufacturing. Since the production of biofuels and ethanol became an important sector of the economy, potash has been used to improve both the quality and the yield of the crops from which these fuels are derived.
In the United States, the majority of the potash is located in Montana and North Dakota; however, it is also mined in Michigan, New Mexico, and Utah, where it is produced from brine evaporation. Although the United States ranked fifth in the world in the production of potash in 2006 and seventh in 2008, the country has consistently imported potash. In 2008, 91 percent of the potash used in the United States was imported. Canada is the main source for the U.S. importation of potash.
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Phosphorus (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Phosphorus is a nonmetallic element that occurs in sedimentary deposits. The United States has 1.2 billion metric tons of reserves, with a reserve base of 3.4 billion metric tons. Phosphate rock ore is mined and processed to make phosphoric acid and various phosphorus compounds. Almost all of the phosphate rock mined in the United States is processed into phosphoric acid. The major use of the phosphoric acid produced is in agricultural fertilizers and animal feed supplements. With the need for greater agricultural production worldwide, the demand for phosphorus has increased significantly and created a strong international market.
The United States is one of the main producers of phosphorus and is the leading exporter. The country is not a significant importer of phosphorus but did import some phosphorus from Morocco from 2004 to 2007. As of 2009, twelve phosphate rock mines were operating in the United States. The mines are located in Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, and Utah. In 2008, the mines in North Carolina and Florida accounted for 85 percent of the U.S. production, which totaled 30.9 million metric tons. In 2008, the United States ranked first in the world in exporting diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP) fertilizers. India was the major market for the fertilizers.
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Zinc (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Zinc is a base metal found in the Earth’s crust; it is often found in ore that also contains copper or lead. Zinc has a wide variety of uses in industry, manufacturing, and agriculture. A major use of zinc is in galvanizing; it is also used to make alloys such as brass and bronze. As a compound or dust, it is employed in the making of paint, rubber, fertilizers, and animal feeds as well as in medicines. About 25 percent of the zinc produced in the United States is used in various zinc compounds. The United States, along with Australia and Canada, has large deposits of zinc. In 2008, the United States had zinc reserves of 14 million metric tons and a reserve base of 90 million metric tons.
In 2006, the United States ranked fourth in the world in the production of zinc. The demand for zinc reached a peak in 2006 and production was increased. In 2008, there were sixteen zinc mines in operation in the United States. The mines produced 770,000 metric tons of zinc. In 2008, the worldwide supply of zinc steadily exceeded the demand because of the increased mining of the ore. As a result, there was a significant drop in the value of zinc. In view of the predicted continuing surplus in 2009, mines throughout the United States began to cut back production, and mines in New York and Tennessee closed.
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Uranium (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Uranium is a metallic element occurring in rock. It is used to produce energy. Uranium is found in the western part of the United States, with the largest deposits in Wyoming and New Mexico. In 2003, the reserves of the metal were estimated at 451.6 million metric tons of uranium ore. The United States uses uranium as the source of almost 20 percent of its electricity. Although uranium is primarily mined in the western states, nuclear power plants are predominantly in the eastern half of the country. In 2008, the United States had sixty-six nuclear power plants, in which both boiling water and pressurized water reactors were used. The use of nuclear power in the United States remains a controversial issue with environmental concerns about radioactive waste.
Although uranium is an important resource in the United States, the country actually produces only about 14 percent of the uranium it uses. Consequently, it is dependent on foreign imports for most of its uranium. The largest U.S. imports of uranium come from Australia, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
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Other Resources (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
The United States also has significant deposits of many other minerals, including iron ore. The United States ranks with Russia, Brazil, China, Australia, and India as one of the largest iron-ore-producing countries in the world. There are 99.77 billion metric tons of iron ore deposits in the United States; approximately 98 percent of the iron ore mined in the country is used in the production of steel. Other metals mined in the United States include molybdenum, gold, and silver.
Fisheries play a significant role both in the U.S. domestic economy and in its international trade. Among the major fish and shellfish species caught and raised in aquaculture in the United States are pollack, flatfish, salmon, crab, and shrimp. In 2007, the United States fishing industry contributed $34.9 billion in value added to the gross national product. In 2008, the United States exported 1.05 million metric tons of edible fish and 80,522 metric tons of fishmeal. The imports of edible fish were 2.34 million metric tons. Because of global warming and its effect on fish populations and migration, the quantity of both imports and exports decreased from 2007 to 2008. However, the fishing industry remains an important contributor to the U.S. economy.
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Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Deffeyes, Kenneth S. Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak. New York: Hill and Wang, 2005.
Garrett, D. E. Potash-Deposits, Processing, Properties and Uses. New York: Chapman & Hall, 1996.
Hyne, Norman J. Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling and Production. Tulsa, Okla.: PennWell Books, 2001.
Kelley, Ingrid. Energy in America: A Tour of Our Fossil Fuel Culture. Lebanon, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2008.
Martin, Raymond S., and William L. Leffler. Oil and Gas Production in Nontechnical Language. Tulsa, Okla.: PennWell Books, 2005.
Slovich, Carrie D. American Natural Resources: New Issues and Developements. New York: Nova Science Books, 2006.
Zoellner, Tom. Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World. New York: Viking, 2009.
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United States Policy toward Rogue Nations
Historical and Geopolitical Context (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
The United States is bordered by Canada on the north, Mexico on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the the west. It includes the island state of Hawaii, and the state of Alaska is located northwest of Canada. Despite its relatively self-contained and geographically isolated situation, the country has eschewed isolationism and assumed a leadership role in the free world. The United States is a relatively young nation but a rich one, though the U.S. national debt may climb to between $10 and $15 trillion. On January 20, 2009, the forty-fourth president of the United States, Barack Obama, was inaugurated in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital. Upon seeing the first man of color sworn into the office, Americans and people across the globe anticipated changes in U.S. policy that might help alleviate the world’s problems, such as starvation and disease in developing countries, as well as climate change.
The Obama administration faced wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a slumping economy, and an unsustainable dependence on foreign oil. Many compare the plight of President Obama to that of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected in 1932 during the Great Depression. The U.S. economy began to recover from that depression when the United States entered World War II in 1941. The war ended when the atomic bomb was used in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan. With the end of the Cold War...
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Impact of American Policies on Climate Change (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
From 2000 to 2007, U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased by 3 percent, air pollution (fine particles) decreased by 12 percent, and renewable energy increased as a share of total energy consumption from 5.4 to 6.7 percent. The first large and highly successful “cap-and-trade” program in the United States followed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which mandated a 50 percent decrease over ten years in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions produced by the coal and petroleum industries. This led to anticipated savings in health care costs. In 2007, the 110th U.S. Congress passed the Energy and Security Act of 2007, which aimed to increase production of clean, renewable fuels and the energy performance of the federal government.
Individual states, academic institutions, and business enterprises have begun enacting their own initiatives to address global warming: In 2008, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a state law to integrate GHG emissions reduction into California’s transportation planning decisions. President Obama asked federal regulators to act on applications by California and ten other states to set stricter fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Nine governors signed on to the Midwestern GHG Reduction Accord in 2007, and New York City won an international award for sustainable transport.
In January, 2009, outgoing president George W. Bush designated 505,770...
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The United States as a GHG Emitter (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
According to Reuters, China may have replaced the United States as the top GHG emitter in the world in 2007; China has reported that its GHG emissions have caught up with those of the United States and that China’s dependence on coal would make curbing GHG emissions difficult. Of note, total U.S. GHG emissions in 2007 were 1.4 percent above the 2006 total. This increase was largely the result of an increase in CO2 emissions attributable to poor weather conditions, which led to greater demand for heating or cooling in buildings, and to a decrease in accessible hydropower resulting in a greater demand for fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
The Kyoto Protocol established carbon quotas for member countries, which may use carbon sinks (reservoirs of foliage or forests) as a form of “carbon offset.” This ability may be useful to countries with large areas of forest or vegetation. However, for industrial, developed nations such as the United States, land use would have little effect in meeting Kyoto Protocol quotas, since most of the lands have already been cultivated. In addition, developing countries such as Brazil and Indonesia are not compelled to restrict their GHG emissions, which may come from land-use choices such as cultivating crops and destroying forests. As a result, the United States has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
While the Gulf states who are members of the...
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Summary and Foresight (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
The European Union has pledged to cut GHG emissions 20-30 percent by 2020, below 1990 levels, if other large GHG emitters such as the United States would follow suit. Sir Nicholas Stern, an adviser to the British government, has testified before the U.S. Congress: Stern had authored a report asking the global community to either take “urgent action” on global warming or face severe economic consequences that would “rival the Depression of 1929.” The Americans responded that Stern’s study was “50 years ahead of its time.” Sir Stern may have been prophetic; the economic downturn of 2008 and following has focused on the plight of the U.S. automobile industry with its high-GHG-emitting vehicles, which appear to be losing out to their more energy-efficient foreign counterparts.
The Obama administration has linked the rescue and restructuring of the U.S. auto industry to a redesign of its products to be more fuel efficient and has asked the Department of Transportation to enforce a 2007 law that would increase fuel efficiency standards that would affect vehicles sold in 2011. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt blamed the bankers and drafted the New Deal, which focused on the U.S. farmer. Today, many believe the United States needs a “Green New Deal,” which would turn environmentally friendly products and techniques into the nation’s major growth sector, driving recovery. Indeed, fostering...
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Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change, 2007—Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability: Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Edited by Martin Parry et al. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Summary by the United Nations’ central climate change body of ways in which global warming has affected the planet.
Victor, D. G., J. C. House, and S. Joy. “A Madisonian Approach to Climate Change.” Science 309, no. 5742 (2005): 1820-1821. Compares James Madison’s vision with “global federalism.”
Weitzman, M. L. “A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.” Journal of Economic Literature 45, no. 3 (2007): 703-724. Recognizes the ethical foundations of cost-benefit economics.
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