Friday, 14 May 2010

Mostly Oil

"To think about it, development has created serious lack of talent in our world...Not one single person in the world has the requisite expertise(in metals, carpentry, polymers, and design) to craft..... a single pencil."

-Leonard Read, I, Pencil

If you think that the most mundane of activities that you do...the simplest of cosmetics you apply...the food that you cook...does not have a direct impact on the environment( and the economy) of our country, you would be seriously mistaken. In fact, due to the various phases of development of the world order, the Industrial Revolution, Automobile Revolution, and the Space Revolution, we are facing the single most significant challenge to our planet since the dinosaurs faced that giant meteor 65 million years ago.

Yes...that challenge is the Great Challenge of How To Overcome Our Own Paramount Stupidity(known in some circles as Global Warming...and in other circles as showing off...)

Because in our stupidity,and our race to discover a shortcut to a place that we didnt know existed, and couldnt conclusively prove would be better than the place we were in, we decided to take the least amount of pain imaginable. And find the most pyrrhic of solutions to our need for fuel.



Enter oil. The most convenient source of energy imaginable...Just set a match to it, and it lights up..giving you heat, and maybe enough energy to power your daily life. What we didnt take into consideration was greenhouse gases, and some of the dirtiest political and corporate games that would be played out in the coming centuries, that would make entire countries slaves to that black fluid known as liquid gold. Everyone knows that's a misnomer. Gold, couldnt even come close... and India...with its huge appetite for gold(the largest consumer of gold products in the world) is just finding out.

Oil and natural gas account for 80.3% of India's imports. And while this might sound almost reasonable...it also account for a large part of the trade deficit which stands at over $55 billion right now. And, India, which is prosperous enough despite the government's best efforts, is now making it a point to sell off its oil assets which would of course lead to greater imports, again. Now this might sound farcical, but the facts make it resonate. While most of the oil surveys that take place are conducted by big, non-Indian corporations, their names have a suitable "Indian" ring to them. Cairn Oil, a Scottish company, in its Indian avatar, does the oil exploration here, in Rajasthan. Of course, any oil it finds is then sold, at a price, to the Indian Refineries.

And Cairn is well respected by the Indian Government, who are thankful for their services.

India is actually setting up refineries in Venezuela. At a cost of $20 billion. When Cairn has shown there are proven oil reserves to increase India's oil output by 25% in 1 year, in India. Kuwait Oil has planned to set up an oil refinery here, worth many billions, and Reliance Petrochemicals plans to build the largest refinery of Asia here. All this, and our national explorer, ONGC, is busy bidding for cleanup projects, of Kuwait Oil, and SELLING natural gas, to Kuwait Oil again. All this, while being purblind enough to see that the bigger drain on our economy comes from that 80.3% dependence on importing oil.

In one big chain of stupidity and recalcitrance(the Indian government's refusal to accept its role in global warming), we have staked our entire future. Carbon Credits, Copenhagen, Jairam Ramesh... can all be equated to an avalanche of disasters.

Its about time we broke the cycle.

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