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Energy policy - Mar 4

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Thirsting for Energy in India’s Boomtowns and Beyond

Somini Sengupta, New York Times
URGAON, India - It is Friday night in the mecca of new Indian ambition.

The air is thick with the construction dust of new glass-fronted high-rise buildings. The traffic moves so slowly that commuters can gape all they want at the Burberry advertisement that lights up the facade of a shopping mall.

... At the moment, it is a mixed blessing that Gurgaon remains an island of air-conditioned malls and roaring, round-the-clock office towers, and that behind this brightly lighted boomtown lies a vast nation of darkness and cow-dung-fueled stoves.

Almost half of India’s population has no access to the electricity grid, and many more people suffer hours without power. Nearly 700,000 Indians rely on animal waste and firewood as fuel for cooking. As a result, India’s per capita carbon footprint remains a small fraction of that of the industrialized world - the average American produces 16 times the emissions of the average Indian - and in turn empowers the central Indian argument for its right to consume more, not less, energy in the future.

India has consistently bucked pressures to set targets for reducing emissions, arguing that it has neither been a significant polluter nor yet able to spread modern energy to millions of its poor. Instead, it has pledged to ensure that its per capita emissions never exceed those of the developed world.
(2 March 2008)


OPEC rethinking production cut plans

Jad Mouawad, International Herald Tribune
With high oil prices weighing on a struggling U.S. economy, the OPEC oil cartel is reconsidering plans to cut production this week, which could push prices above their current record levels. Instead, OPEC is likely to keep its output unchanged when its members meet Wednesday.

When the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries gathered in Vienna last month, the group suggested it might curb production soon to make up for a seasonal decline in oil demand. Since then, however, oil prices have risen above $100 a barrel and the economic picture in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, has darkened significantly.
(2 March 2008)


Chances of Launching an Arab Market for Gas Weakened in the Absence of a Declared Regional Price

Walid Khadduri, Al-Hayat
... It is well-known that three quarters of the world natural gas reserves are located in the Middle East and the states of the former Soviet Union. Qatar, Iran and Russia possess about 58% of total reserves. In addition to this, the world largest natural gas field is located in Qatar (marine North Field). Saudi Arabia which possesses huge reserves utilizes natural gas in local industries and has no intention to export it at present as a result of the excessive increase in local consumption, not to mention the anticipated future increase in consumption.
(2 March 2008)
Suggested by Jeffrey J. Brown ("westexas")


Inflation and petroleum depletion

Mary King, Trinidad & Tobago Express
The newspapers last week quoted the Central Bank Governor as admitting that T&T [Trinidad & Tobago] is experiencing the symptoms of the Dutch Disease. It is indeed a confirmation of the statement I made in the Senate Budget debate five years ago when I diagnosed that we were suffering from the disease. The papers also claimed that the symptoms of the disease include rising inflation, an appreciation of the real exchange rate, a shift from goods production to service production (not strictly true) which contributes less to growth and sustainability and a slowdown in non-energy export growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

... The Central Bank correctly identified one result of the Dutch disease as a shift from our already small manufacturing sector to the production of non-tradable goods and services-a move in the direction opposite to what we need if we are to sustainably diversify the on-shore economy.

We have found ourselves in a situation in which Peak Oil is in part driving the price of imported food, now running at an inflation of 10 per cent on average the world over, which many see as a demand for investment into local agriculture-i.e. encouraging the banks to give loans etc. However, because of the profligate spending of the Executive (under whose watch agriculture declined) the Central Bank is taking money out of the economy, to curb spending so limiting investment in order to constrain inflation. Our Government may be "fortunate" that energy prices are high but the poor and the middle class are being ravaged by inflation.
(3 March 2008)

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