Many of my readers know about my friend who lives on the 104th floor in a Tower in Mumbai. He is the richest person in the world today. He is undoubtedly one of the most influential personalities and yet not known due to his sheer humility and discreteness.
Me and my Professor Friend went to see him for a breakfast – a courtesy he extends to us once in a month which we never miss. We saw that he was having a breakfast with Donald Trump.
“Come in friends. Mr Trump just arrived here after making a statement on climate change at the Rose Garden. After such a simple and honest statement of pulling out from the Paris Accord he got so much hounded by the Ministers and Media that he got fed up. So, I invited him for a breakfast to eat in peace and he kindly obliged” My friend said this while sampling some almonds and Arabian dates neatly stacked in a silver dish.
“Well Dr Modak, I see such a short-sightedness in the senior politicians, thought leaders and the businessmen of the world today to understand Mr Trump’s point of view. Only few in the White House understand the deep secret and strategy that Mr Trump is playing. Its strange – but the so called dumb middle class of the United States who voted for Mr Trump is actually understanding. They love and support Mr Trump for such a historical decision”
Mr Trump acknowledged my friends support and appreciation. He put a layer of chicken salami on a well buttered toast.
Mr Trump said “Coal is certainly going to be the source of principal energy at least for the next decade. India for example has only 33% of its population connected to the electricity today. That’s a target so hard to achieve without phasing out/modernizing the coal based thermal power plants. Resorting to renewable energy alone is not going to be sufficient. India must follow Clean Coal Technology (CCT)”
He then paused, took a good byte of the salami sandwich and continued
“Use of CCT is perhaps going to be the answer. United States today is undoubtedly the world leader in this segment. We have invested heavily on the R&D and commercialization on CCT that we must now unfurl and leverage on by grabbing this business. Our markets will be India and China. To achieve this, the coal industry in the United States must stay vibrant and become competitive. This will lead to a trillion dollars business overseas and restore employment in the coal sector within the United States. To facilitate, I have already ordered EPA to relax the norms on emissions from power plants”
“That’s real deep strategy Mr Trump – only few will understand” I said.
Professor now butted in
“Granted Mr. Trump, I also understand that you are contemplating relaxation in the emission norms of the automobiles as well. This will essentially reverse Obama’s long-term mileage-economy standards. This strategy will certainly boost sales of light trucks and SUVs, that is highly profitable but the automobile industry will face tougher mileage restrictions in most European and Asian markets. Even within the US, automobile sales in the States like California will be affected. Don’t forget that some of these principled States represent about one-third of American vehicle sales”
“We also know that the average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars have continued to decrease, falling to 120 g/km in 2015. These emission are significantly lower than the 130 g/km target set by the EU CO2 regulation for 2015. The automobile industry in the EU is ahead of the targets”
Mr Trump smiled and asked, “Do you know something about Laboratory to Road reports”.
We kept shut as we were not aware.
Mr Trump gulped a fresh orange juice made from oranges grown in Australia. He said “2016 update of this report analysed 13 data sources covering 15 years, six countries, and approximately 1 million cars. The analysis showed that, in the EU, the gap between official and real-world CO2 emission values continues to grow—from 9% in 2001 to 42% in 2015. Essentially, the reports indicate that “real-world” performance is much worse than suggested by the official values. So, pledging tighter emission norms to combat global warming is all hogwash. I am therefore relaxing the automobile emission norms in the US and do not wish to join the herd. I am going to publish the Laboratory to Road reports widely and make them accessible to the consumers to expose the reality – the inconvenient truth”
I thought Mr. Trump was right. The international lobby working on reduction of emissions from vehicles was really a crap – a more of lip talk rather than the reality.
I think Mr. Trump read by thoughts. He got up from the teak chair, walked towards the window, peeped outside and turned to me
“The climate adaptation funds and bilateral aid is another glaring example. Here, American money gets used by polluters like China and India. China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal mines and India will be allowed to double its coal production; and we the financiers are supposed to get rid of our coal industry. Isn’t this ironical and irrational?”.
“The United States had pledged $3 billion into a Green Climate Fund to assist smaller counties on their climate change initiatives – and I have already cancelled $2 billion. I am no Santa Clause. It seems China may contribute financially – such as contributing $20 million to its South-South Cooperation Fund to help smaller countries. India led the International Solar Alliance in 2015 with a contribution of 27 million USD. These amounts are like a mouse to the United States. India needs around $ 2.5 trillion to fulfill all its targets. Where is this kind of money?”
I thought Mr Trump was right again
Professor lighted his cigar and interrupted Mr Trump.
“Mr Trump, don’t underestimate India on its technology capability and political commitment. India has set a target of increasing its renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022 – and has exceeded its targets for wind power this fiscal year and has made some strides in increasing its solar capacity. In May 2017, India’s solar power generation price for the first time dipped below that of traditional thermal, which should make the use of sun power more widespread in rural areas. Under the Goods and Service Tax to be enforced from July 1, electric cars will get a tax rate of only 12% while other cars will be taxed at 28%.”
(I wondered however how will we be powering our electric vehicles – using coal based electricity? – I didn’t want to ask this embarrassing question to the Professor)
Now it was my friends turn to speak. He picked up few manicured pieces of cut apple from the bowl and spoke slowly as if sharing a secret
“Well Professor, Mr Trump is aware of the rapid pick up of solar PVs in India. But remember that this global solar boom will be contributing a whole new form of electronic waste to the planet. Unfortunately, little has been done to recover and recycle the precious metals and other goodies that go into manufacturing solar panels. Of course, one could blame the usual suspects, such as lack of international standards and inadequate end-of-life infrastructure. This is a $15 billion market by 2050 dangling in the air, and it’s a safe bet that the solar panel recycling industry will take off sooner rather than later. Here US can take a lead. Mr Trump is here with me not just for breakfast. He has come to ask me for investments in cash to seize this opportunity. He is really not against the renewables – he is simply looking beyond!”
I now saw the business face of Mr Trump. His ridiculous tweets on climate change were perhaps just a diversion – for the media and for the so called global intellectuals.
The Cover Image Image sourced from https://www.thegef.org/blog/when-it-comes-fighting-climate-change-citizen-action-matters
If you like this post then follow me or forward to your colleagues