Archive for the 'India' Category

Cop turned into a flop – what’s next?

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

With the Copenhagen climate summit’s failure to achieve a binding agreement to resuce greenhouse gas emissions Gal Luft proposes a new approach – oil first.

“Now that delegates to the U.N. climate summit are back from Copenhagen with no more than a non binding, hollow declaration of intent to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, it is clear that the main reason “Cop” turned into a flop is the deep divide between the world’s rich and poor — between those who watch the world on plasma screens and those who are forced to sell their plasma to survive another day.

The platitudes and inspirational speeches on how we must all come together to “save ourselves from ourselves” could not mask an inescapable reality: For poor people, while often being the main casualties of an unstable climate, planetary-scale environmental concerns are a distant second to basic human needs — access to electricity, food, and shelter. They are therefore unwilling to put their economic growth on hold until the world comes up with economically competitive alternatives to coal-fired electricity. In India alone, 150 million people have no access to basic lighting. In the face of such grinding poverty, it’s no wonder that the rich countries’ attempts to thwart the expansion of fossil fuels were perceived by many in the developing world as a new form of imperialism.

This pushback by the developing world begs for a unified, yet politically feasible, agenda that can be embraced by rich and poor countries alike. One area where such an agenda can emerge is oil. Whereas reaching consensus about significant cuts in the use of fossil fuels in power generation seems to be unlikely, focusing on reducing the use of oil, which powers 95 percent of the global transportation sector, is a goal that offers a real chance of global acceptance.”

Here is the full article

India’s missed opportunity

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

An excellent opinion piece in the Hindustan Times points out that, inspired by Western fixation with ethanol and biodiesel, India is about to miss a huge opportunity to strengthen its energy security.
India intends to blend gasoline with 5 per cent of ethanol and to replace a large part of high speed diesel with bio-diesel from a plant called Jatropha.

“Since ethanol can only be mass produced at present from food crops, even the six-fold increase in production that the government’s modest programme envisages will require the diversion of a large portion of land that is currently feeding people to feeding machines.”

“While the technology for producing ethanol from non-food plant cellulose (e.g. wood, leaves, bagasse or straw) has still to be developed and proved economically viable, the technology for producing methanol from wood is more than two centuries old.”

India produces approximately 200 million tonnes of bagasse and an equal amount of paddy straw and rice husk (equivalent in energy terms to about 150 million tonnes of bagasse) every year. These agricultural and industrial wastes are capable of producing 750 to 800 million tonnes of a fuel that has so far only been used in racing cars. [methanol] In energy terms, this is equivalent to about 500 million tonnes of gasoline and slightly less of diesel. That is about three times the projected transport fuel needs of the country in 2030.”

“Often the strongest argument against doing something is that others are doing something different. But this is not applicable to the search for new sources of energy. Other countries are exploring other paths because they face a different set of constraints. The West, for instance, is placing its short-term bets on ethanol because it has a surplus of productive capacity in agriculture. It is placing its long-term bets on hydrogen fuel cells because it knows that it cannot grow enough biomass to meet the whole of its transport fuel needs when the oil runs out. We, however, will not get to that point for several decades. We also face the challenges of rural poverty and environmental degradation that they have largely overcome. We need to find our own path.”

Buying the support of a third of humanity

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

Saudi Arabia Woos China and India:

“In January 2006, Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud visited China and India, a trip some commentators labeled “a strategic shift” in Saudi foreign policy and reflective of “a new era” for the kingdom. It was King Abdullah’s first trip outside the Middle East since taking the throne in August 2005, and it was also the first trip by a Saudi ruler to China since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990.

“Abdullah’s travel was significant. His reception suggested both Chinese and Indian recognition of the House of Saud’s role in regulating global oil prices and the impact that Saudi oil policy has not only on Western economies but on the Chinese and Indian economies as well. Riyadh’s relations with Beijing and Delhi are not shaped by energy alone, however. There is a major political component to Saudi strategic thinking. The royal family wishes to engage China and India in order to create a political alternative to its relationship with the United States. Saudi thinkers may believe that an Asian alternative will make the kingdom less susceptible to Western pressure on such issues as democratization and terror financing. [...]

“Many Saudi officials, annoyed with U.S. pressure to cease funding Islamist and terrorist groups, find Beijing’s no-questions-asked policies attractive.” 

Read the whole thing.

Also read:

The Sino-Saudi Connection

Fueling the dragon: China’s race into the oil market