NPRA ’09: Alternative energy creates jobs - Gorbachev

31 March 2009 22:16  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--The petrochemical industry should embrace alternative energy sources, which would ultimately create jobs, former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev said on Tuesday.

“You in the oil sector are in a good position to work on alternative energy,” Gorbachev said through an interpreter in a speech to the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) meeting in San Antonio.

“We need to move…toward the new energy sources,” said Gorbachev, who is the founding president of Green Cross International, an organisation that promotes sustainable environmental and social policies.

New technologies such as solar power were becoming more competitive as the cost of delivering hydrocarbon-based energy rose, he said.

The 78-year-old statesman took a swipe at corporate interests and their role in the world’s problems, saying he did not like the way that the business community had pursued its interests through the office of former US vice president Dick Cheney.

The international community is still dealing with the legacy of the role that business interests had in the war in the Middle East, Gorbachev contended.

He did not give offer any specific evidence to back up the charge.

Gorbachev decried missed opportunities in the two decades since the end of the Cold War, saying that US political leaders had misinterpreted the end of that conflict as a victory.

US leaders were seized by a “winner’s complex” that inspired unilateralism in world affairs, Gorbachev said.

There had also been a mistaken assessment that the Cold War’s outcome meant there was only one viable economic model for the world, and that markets could regulate themselves, he said.

One result has been a widening of the gap between rich and poor countries in recent years that was fomenting a rolling back of the global move toward democratic government, Gorbachev maintained.

The speech was given at the luncheon that marks the end of the official programme at NPRA’s annual International Petrochemical Conference.

Can't make it to San Antonio for NPRA? Barbara Ortner goes behind the scenes in her Chemicals Confidential blog
Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris De Guzman investigates in her Green Chemicals blog

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By: Stephen Burns
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