Thursday, 12 November 2009

How India could lead Asia -- Julian Stargardt

Julian Stargardt is a Quaker and CEO of Cambridge Business Group. See also his article "Global Change: the future of the world economy" in Offshore Investor (Oct 2009).
In Asia Confidential on Bloomberg TV 11 Nov 09, I asked Anan Mahindra, CEO of Mahindra and Mahindra:
"To avoid major CO2 emission increases in India why don't you (and for that matter Tata) produce mass market electric vehicles? Power plants and power outages are an issue in India, but because pollution from power plants is centralised, it is easier to deal with than emissions from millions of vehicles. Could India lead Asia in electric transport ?"

Our ensuing discussion made four points:
1. electric vehicles are the way of the future.
2. Mahindra has some electric vehicles in production and others in prototype.
3. Mahindra produces the only non-Japan hybrid.
4. "highly efficient" light diesel is likely in the near future.

The other guest, Australian financier Shane Oliver of AMP, added:
  • Electric vehicles have a much much smaller carbon footprint than petrol or diesel -- even allowing for the "dirty" electricity needed to run them, generated by coal and oil-burning fired power plants.
  • China, India and other industrialising countries' carbon emissions are increasing exponentially but they are using less polluting technologies than Europe and the US did.
Speaking as an Asian, I pointed out responsibilities for CO2 levels:
  • The developed world gave us the first 50ppm rise above "normal" 284 ppm
  • The subsequent 70 ppm (rising fast) comes substantially from the developing world.
  • Current production methods are more "energy efficient" (less polluting per unit of GDP) but their scale and growth in Asia are making a difference in kind, not just in degree.
  • The greatest danger is attitudes and policies such as those in the India World Economic Forum. [See the previous post in this blog.]
See also numerous ideas by India's green capitalists in India Microfinance.

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