Oil fetish

Published: Tuesday 15 July 2008

addiction only leads to more demand. A classical case is the record rise in the crude oil prices in the last one year. At us $140, it even pinches the pockets of developed countries like the us. The bad news does not end here. As know-alls believe, oil may also pole-vault to touch greater heights. Perhaps even an unthinkable us $200 a barrel. In these hard times, considering, food prices are almost an equal competitor in this inflationary race, the only plausible solution was to cut down on oil consumption and move to alternatives like renewable energy. But the bus has already been missed on this one at least.

The biggest consumer of oil, the us, has begun a blame game on this entire issue. It blames the thirst on the growing economies of India and China. As a solution, it offers a foolish one. First it proclaims that oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia should increase output significantly to help tide over the crisis. Back home on its own soil, it seeks to drive the polar bears out of their sanctuary in the Arctic and drill holes to suck out crude. It is not that the us did not have a panacea at hand. A climate bill, which sought to promote cleaner technologies like solar and wind in its domestic energy mix, was shot down in the Senate in early June.

Developing countries instead of taking a cue from the impending energy disaster, have, like the us, asked for increased production of crude oil. On the one hand they have continuously criticized western nations for their high energy demands, but have filed to set any standards themselves. Alternative cleaner sources of energy too have not been forthcoming from these countries.

Renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar and geo thermal is only 0.5 per cent of the world's primary energy use as compared to crude which is 35 per cent. While the world grapples with emission reductions, the most feasible way to achieve it was through cutting down on the use of oil and fossil fuels. On the contrary, the demand of oil has only increased from almost all parts of the world.

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