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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Business Times, June 19, 2015
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
 

Summarising a recent Group of Seven meeting in Bavaria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the leaders had committed themselves to “decarbonise the global economy in the course of this century†. They also agreed to limit the rise in average global temperatures to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

Effectively, the leaders agreed to back the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations’ climate change panel, to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions at the upper end of a range of 40 per cent to 70 per cent by 2050, using 2010 as the baseline, and to phase out the use of all fossil fuels by 2100.

That the G-7 agreed on reductions was not much of a surprise as the US and China had agreed to cut their emissions by 2025 when presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping met in Beijing last November; their nations jointly account for over one third of global emissions. Mr Obama agreed to reduce US emissions to 27 per cent below the 2005 levels by 2025, and China would set its peak emission to be 2030 when at least 20 per cent of all energy should come from non-fossil sources.

For environmentalists and green parties, this is good news. But have the G-7 leaders thought this action through?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) regularly assesses our global use of energy. According to IEA, the global consumption levels of fossil fuels in 2013 were – 13.8 gigatonne of coal, used mainly for power generation (some 9.4 Gt); oil (11.1 Gt) used mainly for transport (6.6 Gt); and gas (6.3 Gt) used for both power generation (2.6 Gt) and for space heating (1.4 Gt). These hydrocarbons are all used to create chemicals as feedstocks for many other products including plastics, fertilisers and pesticides.

Roughly half the global demand for oil is for petrol for cars and a quarter for truck diesel, with the rest used by aviation, marine and rail transport.

Most nations agreed to reduce their pollution following the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, yet the world has since seen an increase in energy consumption though with a relative decrease in pollution. Some reduction is due to substitution (oil or gas for coal), by technological advances (more efficient engines or processes across all sectors) and the emergent renewable energy sources (hydro, wind and solar substituting for hydrocarbons).

But, and this is important, there has been no significant reduction in the use of oil for transport. Oil in its several forms – from heavy bunker fuel used by oceanic shipping to lighter distillates for road, rail or aviation – continues to be the best present-day transport fuel. It is easily created, distributed, carried and used and it has a high energy potential per kilogramme. It is also cheap though prices rise and fall according to market sentiment. Oil majors who prospect as well as produce oil work according to the ratio ERoEI.

That is, they compute their expected returns over their expected investment. At the present time, with a glut of oil and gas from the shales of North America, many producers have held back from their costly plans to explore the Arctic and deep offshore seas. They will be expensive to explore and to exploit and at today’s prices are not seen as viable. Ultimately this ratio, for the rational manager, will determine when to stop exploitation even if there is still untapped resource.

So when should we panic? My query acknowledges the very long lead time to get an innovation to the marketplace. There are many novel ideas, some nearly commercial, that can be plugged into the electricity grid to create clean electricity. Many nations, for instance, are investing in concentrated solar power – using mirrors to focus sunlight to heat a liquid that will turn turbines to generate electricity. Others look to photo-voltaic panels to roof new buildings so as to use the power inside, with the excess sold on the grid.

OIL-FUELLED WORLD
No one has yet found a cheap way to convert all the road and sea vehicles away from oil. Some have suggested fitting sails to cargo vessels – at best these reduce oil consumption by 25 per cent, at worst create dangerously unstable vessels as of old when sailing ships often floundered in gales. The massive modern ports of China, Dubai or Holland could not tolerate such a mess. And how will farmers receive fertilisers and pesticides made from hydrocarbons if there is no transport, and what of all the fuel needed for their agricultural machinery, to say nothing of the distribution chain after the harvest. We live in an oil-fuelled world at present.

If we do not engage in research and discussion about our globalised transport flows that use fossil fuels then 2100 will arrive with no solution. We saw the trade discussions of the GATT leading to the WTO and its Doha Round failure over many years. The years of meetings of the climate change bodies culminating in annual meetings of the IPCC have not halted our polluting emissions.

I wonder if a global agreement will be reached in Paris in December 2015 when the IPCC hopes to create a Kyoto follow-on – ultimately to stop our use of fossil fuels by 2100. If such a Protocol does emerge, by when will they convene a sensible discussion of the reality? And when will all nations ratify the new Protocol? Politicians are wont to make big calls, but it is the permanent officials who have the hard task of operationalising lofty promises. I remain pessimistic.

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a Global Visions Community


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