A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Turning to Asia.....

Our media, perhaps inevitably, focus on European and American perspectives of the world. Where the dynamic Russian oil industry is concerned, however, this may, in future, prove somewhat myopic, despite the fact that Europe currently remains the main export outlet for Russian oil.

A recent report in The Moscow Times ('China Buys Russian Oil Producer', The Moscow Times, December 30) illustrates precisely why this is likely to be so, as the Russian oil industry turns, and is turned, towards Asia:

"China, a net oil importer, desperately needs oil to fuel economic growth and is jostling to secure petroleum reserves overseas, particularly in Central Asia and Russia."

"Oil demand in China is expected to grow about 5 percent this year to 5.19 million barrels per day and the country is seen overtaking Japan as the world's second-largest oil consumer after the United States by 2004, the International Energy Agency has said."

The Russian economy is 25% dependent on oil. China will soon become the world's second-largest oil consumer. Neither is an effective part of the Kyoto Protocol, and oil production and use will increase markedly in both. And neither is likely to be much moved by European post-industrial angst.

So let's put those Earth-saving, landscape-destroying, much-touted British windfarm projects in their real world perspective. By 2020, they might just be contributing about 0.1% of world energy demand. The cumulo-nimbus clouds must be thundering in derision. And when you take into account the energy involved in their construction and maintenance, not to mention the vital fossil fuel necessary to back-up their inherent intermittency......

Need one say more. British energy policy must be based on our practical energy requirements, not on some fanciful idea that we are saving the planet. Only strong, competitive economies can adapt succesfully to environmental change, whatever its ultimate direction.

Philip, looking East, where development and growth are the name of the game, and a new world order and economic force are slowly and laboriously emerging. Tea - get out the samovar.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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