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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
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Khaleej Times, January 22, 2014
 

Let's start off with a simple fact. The fact is so simple, yet so profound that though anyone reading this certainly already knows it, it warrants repeating: In the not-so-far future, we are going to run out of fossil fuels.

Take a second to think about what that really means. There are more than one billion cars worldwide, not to mention the countless industries, factories and cities, which rely on fossil fuels for power. When the oil runs out — and it certainly will — we’re going to be left high, dry and motionless on the highway.

Knowing this information, there is a related problem that deserves even more attention: Global warming. A recent report indicated that the number of scientists who disagree with man-made global warming is less than one-half of one per cent of the scientific population.

Yet in the wake of the knowledge that we are running out of oil, combined with the knowledge of global warming being caused by that very oil, I have discovered a dangerous game taking place. The game is a race to find the next stopgap on the way to the end of oil.

All across the world, businessmen and women are working feverishly to find new ways to produce oil or oil alternatives that will continue to feed our dangerous addiction to oil after all of the dinosaurs have been mined away.

These oil alternatives are ubiquitous and you’ve probably heard of a few of them, as companies across the globe rush to market them and capitalise on the world’s collective desire to quite literally drive our planet into the a wasteland.

In the many countries, ethanol derived from corn or sugar is on the rise — and very popular with right-wing politicians — and I recently discovered a new technique by which abandoned paper mills are being used to convert wood chips and wood pulp into usable crude oil via a unique chemical process. There is also natural gas, whose use has been on the rise across the globe as oil companies who control the natural gas business seek to stay in the game. Finally, there is the ever-popular algae-produced crude oil. As anyone who has battled addiction could surely tell, finding an alternative addiction solves neither the problem at hand nor the problems that lie ahead. This is exactly the trap that we are falling into. These stopgaps toward the end of the age of oil are nothing more than that: Temporary solutions to a much larger problem.

In the United States, this is being played out. Political rivals are still battling as we speak over the proposed pipeline that would bring oil from Canada down to the US state of Texas. According to those who are in favour of the pipeline, it means securing the crude oil we need to power our future. According to those who are against the pipeline, this means nothing more than another temporary solution. The pipeline may bring the United States more oil for now, but it won’t change the fact that the oil itself is a finite resource.

What’s worse about these various stopgaps is that they still do not solve the main problem caused by burning fossil fuels in the first place: Dangerous, toxic emissions that drive the warming of our planet. Global warming is a fact in the modern world and even though we want to keep the lights on, we must constantly be aware of the long-term price we pay every time we flip that switch or fill up our tanks.

Wood pulp crude oil, algae-produced crude oil and plant-based ethanol are all renewable sources for the fuel we need. Renewable energy resources are, of course, a good thing, but all of these sources also produce greenhouse gases when burned, and those gases contribute to global warming. Stopgaps they are, but viable alternatives they are not.

By thinking about the near-future rather than the long-term future, some of our most forward-thinking scientists and businesspeople have ignored global warming in the face of mounting pressure to keep the world’s gas tanks full. We are living in a time of unprecedented innovation and unparallelled knowledge, yet we choose to make use of these resources in ways that endanger our planet and endanger future generations.

While the geopolitical nuances of worldwide oil consumption and production may be confusing to some, it all comes down to the mindset we want to hold. The oil is running out, but in facing that problem do we want to make life as easy as possible, or build a better, greener and more sustainable world for our children?

 

Frank-Jurgen Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community


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