Excessive utilization of coal and oil for generation of electricity leads to the multiple problems of acid rain, and rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. There are also political and economic implications like the increasing tension in the Persian Gulf, which is the major petroleum exporting area, and failing international competitiveness. All these threaten to strangle the world economy in a stagnation. Let us see how some steps taken to resolve these complex problems have tangled the issues further.
To reduce dependence on oil for generation of electricity by burning coal and oil, hydroelectric power stations and atomic energy stations were advocated. Huge dams can make substantial contributions to economic development in electricity-short developing countries like India, but as in any large-scale electricity generating option, there are trade-offs. Reservoirs inundate forests, farmland and wildlife habitats and uproot entire communities of indigenous people.
Thus, hasty solutions to a given problem may create more complications rather than solving it. In the recent past, countries have been expanding their energy budget presumably thinking that energy expenditure was the only way to development, but today the perspective has changed. One of the greatest challenges facing poor countries is to meet their energy needs without repeating the mistakes made by the rich countries. A goal of reducing national energy expenditure, if pursued rigorously, can lead to a strong emphasis on energy efficiency, improve economic competitiveness, and limit oil dependence.
A policy of Polluter pays must be adopted. In...