CLOSING SUGAR FOR OIL: A Monumental Mistake In The Making
also in some crisis mainly due to the fall of oil prices. In that country, the economic difficulties have led to a dangerous political situation.
Further afield, even though to a less extent, Russia’s economic problems are also traceable to the fall in oil revenues.
There are many other examples, but these will do for the time being.
It is not likely that the price of oil will reach the heights it did in the 1970s in the future.
Since the oil crisis of the 1970s, countries have been searching for alternative sources of energy.
In the post-oil crisis period, another huge problem has arisen that has forced the best minds in the world to deal with it - the phenomenon of climate change.
The evidence is there to prove that our climate is changing rapidly. This is mainly caused by the heavy dependence on fossil fuels. If nothing is done, the world can experience more and more catastrophic disasters.
This has fuelled t he search for alternative sources of energy.
Indeed, scientists have gone a far way in finding such sources. Solar, wind, bio-fuels, etc., have all made considerable strides, and are poised to replace fossil fuel as the most used product to generate energy for our industries, transportation, etc.
One of the main obstacles to the commercial uses of alternative energy is now being overcome. That obstacle was the development of batteries to store large quantities of energy. Scientists have now developed batteries to perform at the level of industries and transportation. It will do so comparable to oil, keeping in mind that batteries are being improved all the time.
This means that oil is losing the strategic importance it held, and to a lesser extent, it still holds.
However, technology is moving so fast that it is predicted that by the year 2020, alternative bio-fuels will be cheaper sources of energy than oil.
Many countries in Europe have been setting dates to stop producing vehicles powered by fossil fuel. France, for instance, has just announced its intention to stop production of vehicles driven by fossil fuel by 2040.
Another development that suggests that alternative energy is going to largely replace oil is the fact that many big oil companies are investing heavily in companies that produce alternative sources of energy.
The reason for this is two-fold. On the one hand, they have huge investments in fossil fuels and would like to ensure maximum returns for their capital. Therefore, one of the reasons is to slow down the growth of alternatives, to keep oil prices up.
On the other hand, they are recognizing the inevitable and the need to stay ahead of the curve, so to speak.
While we must welcome the oil find and try to maximize our benefits, we must not lose sight of these facts.
We can become a major player in alternative energy as well. Our potential in bio-fuels is significant.
Sugar offers us the best opportunity in this regard. Already we have sunk capital in the industry and that will give us a strategic advantage.
With sugar at the base, we can also develop alternative energy using rice, coconuts, soya, and other crops.
President Granger has professed a commitment to a green economy. He is on the right side of history in his pronouncement.
However, it is hard to see how he will succeed in building a green economy when he has abandoned the Amaila Falls Hydro Project and is now devastating the sugar industry. These sectors could go a far way in reducing our carbon footprint.
It is still not too late to prevent this inevitable hardship that closure of the estates would cause.
President Granger has an opportunity to reverse this ill-advised position. We can be both a major player in oil and in alternative energy. Let’s grab the moment. Do not squander our future.
We can avoid this colossal mistake by not closing the sugar estates.