The session âRobbing the Sun Bank: How the Energy Debate is Rocking the Marketsâ saw acclaimed director Mansoor Ali Khan and Shell India veteran Vikram Mehta speak with Shoma Chaudhury on the third day of THiNK 2013.
Filmmaker turned environment activist Khan spoke to the audience about the biggest religion in the world – the religion of growth. He said he believed that the 21st century takes âgrowthâ for granted and asked the audience if anything in the world could possibly keep growing forever. Talking about growth and money, he pointed out that resources are needed to sustain consistent economic growth and while the society might prefer having consistent growth, it cannot however expect energy resources to grow along with it. And therein lies the quintessential 21st-century dilemma – how can we expect to sustain such ambitious growth when our natural resources are dwindling?
Khan believes that industrialisation injected in the modern society the need to “rob the Sun bank”. âSo long as we were using the sun as it fell upon the earth, we were in complete harmony with it. But suddenly after the 1850s, we started depleting those resources that took millions of years to come our way,â he said.
Mehta, former head of Shell operations in India, agreed with Khan over the fact that the world was running out of fossil fuel. However he was of the opinion that the advancement of technology will bring along with it newer avenues of energy supply which will help to sustain the current level of growth. âWe need to harness technology in India to its optimum potential,â said Mehta.
Khan brought the discussion to a close with an interesting argument that though technology can rectify the current energy system, it is a “vulnerable network dependant on energy itself.” In his words, âTechnology is a game-extender. It is like botox but it cannot beat death.â
By Kumar Saurabh