The events of the past month have caught even the most alarmist of climate scientists by surprise. In China, 1.2 million people were displaced in the province of Henan by what was reported as a “once in a 1,000-year downpour”. In Russia, the Siberian city of Yakutsk, better known for its subzero winter temperatures faced the “worst-ever air pollution” because of smoke from 200 nearby wildfires. In Europe, flash floods killed approximately 200 people in Germany and Belgium. And in North America, city after city was scorched by unprecedentedly high temperatures.
These events brought into sharp relief the reality that there was no ducking the consequential implications of the “fossil fuels as usual” scenario. This reality offers, however, cold comfort to the Minister of Petroleum. This is because the Indian economy is dependent on fossil fuels and there is no discernible end in sight to this dependence. Further, India imports approximately 85 per cent of its crude oil requirements and is exposed to the volatility of the international oil market. There is good reason, therefore, for the Minister to rank the harnessing of India’s indigenous petroleum resources by intensifying exploration as a top policy priority.
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