Wednesday, March 5, 2008

NYTimes: Thirsty for Energy in India

I've mentioned quite a few times in the past, I'm always surprised by the almost singular focus on China in this country's press, with nary a word about India... a country without a "1 child" rule and should surpass China in population by 2050. Perhaps I am biased since I've made some solid profits with Indian stocks over the years... I thought perhaps it was due to the lack of Indian stocks that trade in the US, but we have the same problem with Brazil and Russia yet I hear more about Brazil than India. Interesting.

Here is a recent piece from the NY Times. These are the type of articles that makes it simply impossible to bet against energy in the long run, and a 'World of Shortages' thesis overall.
  • 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. In the din of car horns and cranes, Sucharita Rastogi, 27, a business school graduate, waits wearily for her office van to pull up and take her home; it will be at least a 90-minute crawl. “Mind-wise,” she says, “we are exhausted, sitting, waiting.”
  • A beacon of India’s red-hot economy, this new suburb on the edge of the capital, New Delhi, is also a symbol of India’s fast-growing hunger for energy. By the government’s own estimates, energy consumption in this country of 1.1 billion is expected to quadruple over the next 25 years, inevitably expanding India’s emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • 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.
  • India points out that it contributes only 4.6 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases although its people represent 17 percent of the world’s population.
  • India’s total emissions are the fourth largest in the world, after the United States, China and Russia, though its per capita footprint remains as low as anywhere in the developing world: 1.2 tons annually, compared with 20 tons in the United States and the world average of 4 tons. The International Energy Agency, a policy and research group in Paris, forecast in November that India’s energy demand would more than double by 2030.
  • The agency also forecast that the transportation sector was likely to drive up energy demand the fastest, as prosperity brought more cars on the road. Coal imports alone could rise sevenfold, the report added. Construction is also hugely energy intensive.

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