Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Save Water. Drink Oil.

"Competition is a sin." -John D. Rockefeller

"..and every year we dump a large block of ice into the ocean...except every year the block gets larger...and that's how the problem is solved...forever..." -An Inconvenient Truth

This is a topic that came up this morning. Now I do not know how surprised I should be, conversely how shocked, that I actually managed to find the time to talk about this sort of stuff. But anyway, the only good that came out of the long, protracted discussion was that I managed to get my interest piqued. A cursory flip through wikipedia revealed some information that I had already known the gist of. However, the specifics were overwhelming.

I found it very disturbing. Very Very disturbing. Purely in terms of statistics, the three top Oil and Gas producing companies have a combined revenue that would overcome the GDP of India. And India is the 12th largest country in terms of GDP. These oil producing and processing companies would in fact surpass the economies of many smaller countries, and purely on paper, of course, could buy any of the countries that produce less than Iceland. Iceland!!! Now that's a developed country, rated at no. 3 on the HDI.

Now put that into perspective. Oil is the easiest form of energy known to man. And at the rate at which developing nations are creating industry, and selling automobiles, we aren't getting over our Oil addiction anytime soon. Now I haven't watched the countless number of "green" films that keep getting released every year. I have no patience for that sort of stuff. No that's not strictly true. I have watched An Inconvenient Truth... So the Earth will warm up a bit in 2020. Why the hell should that bother me?? So the Maldives will cease to exist in another 30 years. Big Deal. I'm not much of a beach person anyway. The thing with human nature is that we refuse to allow ourselves to be shaken by anything that might be slightly inconvenient for our brains to process. Wheels that move forward at a very high speed are interpreted by our brains as to be moving backwards very slowly.

So, 7 of the top 10 corporations by revenue generated are oil corporations. Now given the sort of demand, I do not think that this should change anytime soon. Given the sort of business punditry that this blog is certainly NOT, I wont hazard any opinions either way. Except for the one thing that worries me immensely.

Now this might be over-simplified. But I believe that the motivation for everything, that has a large scale implication, is money. If you agree with me, then ask yourself 1 question... If the oil companies make the money, where is the motivation to switch to renewable energy sources. And this would not be such a big deal. I mean, oil companies employ millions of people all over the world. They pay well. I do not begrudge them any of their accreted wealth. However, the only problem is a thermodynamic one. Entropy. And according to Rudolf Clausius, what he said was in German, but the English translation is something like this, "The entropy of the world always increases." This is true, as much as saying something like, the sun shines in the day. And the only exemption to this, the proverbial eclipse if you will, is a reversible process. Burning of oil sure as hell ain't reversible. So I conjecture that any and all damage done, can only get worse. And in the absence of any motivation for us to get our asses off our chairs and mitigate the consumption of oil, the damage will get worse. However useful petroleum and petroleum products might be to us, we are yet to be able to distil water from petrol for our purposes. And since this is the shortage we face in coming times, one of the many I suppose, we should all be prepared to save water, if not to stop guzzling oil.

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