Kyoto Protocol ratification: with or without the US?

17 Nov 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(22)

Many observers had anticipated that the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change) would not result in any decision or action of significance. But the complete collapse of the negotiations, which at a late stage of deliberations were heading towards some sort of compromise, came as a surprise to those present in The Hague as well as those who monitored developments from afar.

Height of contention: A dammed model of development

12 Nov 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| The Times of India

In a majority decision, with two judges including the Chief Justice of India in favour of the Narmada project and one member of the apex court dissenting, the Supreme Court has ruled that construction work on the dam up to a height of 90 metres be taken up immediately.

COP-6: hopes and hurdles

02 Nov 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(21)

The Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) is taking place at The Hague to hammer out a consensus on actions to be taken for protecting the earth's climate. It was three years ago that in Kyoto the protocol that goes by the name of the city was drafted and agreed on. Admittedly, the draft that was approved came in the final hours of the Kyoto COP just when the conference appeared doomed to failure. Therefore, many of the details that could have given the protocol operational clarity were obviously not worked out. These were to be worked out during the deliberations of the subsidiary bodies set up under the FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the two Conferences of the Parties that have already taken place since Kyoto. Unfortunately, progress has been slow and hardly noticeable. There is, therefore, much expectation that something must and should happen in The Hague.

Lessons from Sardar Sarovar

17 Oct 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(20)

A defining stage in the history of the Narmada project was reached with the Supreme Court's verdict on construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam with specific provisions. It is not pertinent that the decision was not unanimous within the three-member bench. The legality of the decision, which has to be accepted, is fully valid as long as this was a majority decision.

The gas chamber verdict

03 Oct 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| Outlook

The recent meeting of OPEC oil ministers was in various respects a great disappointment to the major oil-consuming nations of the world, reeling as they are under the prolonged burden of crude prices above or around $30 a barrel. Observers are looking at the impacts of high oil prices on the US economy, particularly because it is facing a presidential election. The global response to OPEC's decision would be heavily influenced by actions taken by the US. Comparisons are being made between the oil crisis of '73 and OPEC's current decisions, but the actual situation today is vastly different from what happened 27 years ago to the month. Yet, OPEC probably remembers some lessons of the past, and it's for this reason that its decision to hike oil output by 8,00,000 barrels a day was devoid of bickering. It was also the result partly of some timely diplomacy by the Saudi royal family to bring around the hardline OPEC members, like Iran during, the millenium summit in New York - perhaps the only happening worthy of notice in the hugely expensive and sterile spectacle arranged by the UN Secretary-General.

Three cheers for democracy

02 Oct 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(19)

On the eve of the visit of Mrs Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, to the US, The Washington Post carried a two-page special on Bangladesh, which highlighted the opportunities for US business in that country. It also described the political evolution of Bangladesh as a nation and prominently displays a picture of and eulogy to Sheikh Majibur Rahman, the founder and first prime minister of that nation.

Oil sector: How can we fix the mess?

27 Sep 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| The Economic Times

We raise an alarm every time oil prices go up. There is the usual flurry of debates and expression of concerns as long as the crisis lasts. The moment prices go down the wolf is seen to go away, even though he is lurking very much in the shadows, and in fact getting more dangerous even as our consumption of oil keeps ratcheting higher and higher. The truth is that as long as our dependence on oil keeps growing so also would our vulnerability to sudden increases in global prices.

Oil price hike: need for long-term energy strategy

17 Sep 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(18)

For the fourth time since the early 1970s, oil prices have shot up and touched a level of 37 dollars a barrel. On this occasion, however, the increase has not been brought about by any specific political upheaval, such as the Arab-Israel War in 1973, the Iranian Revolution in early 1979, and the Gulf War in 1990. In fact, there have been signs of an impending hike in oil prices for at least the past 18 months, and an increase to levels above 30 dollars a barrel seemed likely. However, even the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has been taken by surprise by the magnitude and dimensions of the increase. The main factor behind the current hike is the surge in demand that has taken place during this summer. Refineries, particularly those in North America, have been working at full capacity to satisfy the increasing demand. But they neglected production of heating oil and concentrated on producing gasoline and diesel oil, leading to very low stocks of heating oil.

Disinvesting in oil PSUs

06 Sep 2000 |
Mr Ardhendu Sen
| The Economic Times

The government has decided that the petroleum sector is not 'strategic'. It will therefore be possible to reduce government shareholding in the oil and gas PSUs (public sector undertakings) to below 50 per cent. However, there would be no standard formula to be applied to all the PSUs; each case would be decided on merit and it may well be that more than 50 per cent share is retained in one or more of the important companies.

Independent regulation and competition law

02 Sep 2000 |
Mr S Sundar
| The Economic Times

That market forces and competition can improve efficiencies in the delivery of infrastructure services without affecting economies of scale, and till such competition arrives, monopoly service providers should be regulated, have now been recognised.