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Saturday, April 29, 2017


Here are seven body-language mistakes that could ruin how others perceive you at work

Did you know that looking a person directly in the eye is intimidating? Or if you are an introvert, you could be sending the wrong message to your boss about your confidence and capabilities?

According to body language expert Lillian Glass, how you carry yourself can impact a first impression at work. “Introverts and extroverts need to be mindful of their body language to make a good impression,“ says Glass.
Facial expressions, body language, and linguistics can be big indicators of your abilities as an employee than your work product . No matter how great your results or final project may be, the cues you are giving through your body language and disposition can undermine your success, and influence your chances for promotion, a raise, and even career growth.
Take a cue from these seven body language mistakes that you may be making and work on avoiding them.
Tilting head to the side or dropping the head
Whether you are playing coy or shyness is your natural disposition, looking down or not making eye contact is a sign of a lack of confidence. “When someone is trying to make a good first impression, they need to keep in mind their posture: head up, nose up and chin up,“ advises Glass.
Hunching over
Good posture and a strong stance projects openness and a willingness to work. Even if your office environment is casual, maintaining a good posture is important.
Flimsy handshake
While the power grip isn't a must-have for everyone, limp or lame handshakes make a horrible first impression and can make your business contacts doubt your abilities. A good rule of thumb is to take situational cues by mirroring the handshake you are given.
Leaning out
Glass says employees must be mindful not to lean out or lean away. If you lean away from the person you are speaking with, it sends the message that you are not interested or not engaged with the other person.
Direct eye contact
“You are not supposed to look someone directly in the eye, you're supposed to look them directly in the face,“ says Glass.
Focus just on the eyes can be perceived as intimidating and disconcerting.
Intense seriousness
Sure, the office is a place of business, but that doesn't mean you should walk the halls with a stern face. If you are not smiling, it sends the message that you are not happy or engaged.
Tapping your feet or wringing your hands
Bouncing your knee or tapping a pencil conveys nervousness. According to Glass, body language that shows a lack of confidence includes fidgeting, playing with hands or feet, shuffling or tapping feet.

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GAMES SPECIAL - Fantastic Free PC Games and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Free PC Games and Where to Find Them
You don't have to pay big bucks to play computer games. All you need is an internet connection and a PC to access a treasure trove of titles. If you're looking for simple distractions that can be played on almost any PC, then Flash and HTML5 games are designed just for you. And if you want to drive around in tanks, lead an Armada in battle, fight intergalactic foes, or slay dragons in dungeons, well, there's something for you too. Savio D'Souza and Ashutosh Desai tell you about...

Almost everyone plays games on their smartphones, but did you know you can enjoy many of these titles at full screen on your PC? These “casual games“ are free-to-play , and if you create an account on their respective websites you can even keep track of your progress and compete with friends on `leader boards'. Besides, you don't even have to download and install anything to your computer. | After you register with this 16-year-old gaming site, you can create an avatar and compile games statistics such as high scores as well as rankings on your player page. It boasts of over 50 genres, including action, adventure, alien, destruction, motocross, Rio 2016, and winter sports. And it also has multiplayer games like Soccer Stars, Mafia Battle, Slither and Tanki Online where you can compete with other Miniclip members. | Similar to Miniclip in its offerings, this website is easier to browse to find what you're looking for. It displays games in a largish thumbnail grid across eight genres such as food, dress-up, bubble shooter, racing, alien, strategy , action and puzzle. Register for a free account and Kizi will remember the games you have played recently and display them at the top of the home page, so you don't waste time browsing for your favourites. The website is packed with kid-friendly games like Bob the Robber, Parking Mania and Cactus McCoy that can be accessed from a mobile browser as well. | It might not boast of great design, but you get over 1,000 games, crammed into three web pages only . You don't need to register here. The main objective is to play games. You can view the games by categories, most recently updated titles or simply click on the Random link and let Andkon surprise you. You also get a search field, in case you want to look for a specific game. This is one of the few websites that does not harass you with advertising pop-ups while loading a game.
ferryhalim.comorisinal | For extremely casual stuff that will also appeal to kids, head to Orisinal. Ferry Halim, the website's creator, has created over 60 Flash-based games that use child-like characters and bright, happy environments. The controls are simple too, requiring you to use the mouse or the arrow keys to manoeuvre a boat over icebergs, run atop a train or trap bees inside bubbles. Gameplay is simple, challenging, and the graphics are absolutely beautiful. | This website showcases over a hundred casual games that are playable on all web browsers that support HTML5. This means, all its titles ­ across genres such as shooters, cards, puzzles, and sport ­ are also playable on your tablet and smartphone browsers that support the new standard.

Create a free account on this website, and you get complete access to three massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), namely World of Warplanes, World of Tanks and World of Warships.
In Warplanes, you can choose your squadrons from countries such as China, France, Germany , Great Britain, Japan, the Soviet Union and the USA ­ and fly airplanes in four main classes: fighters, multirole fighters, heavy fighters, and ground attack planes.
Each country's Air Force has its own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, a Soviet or a Japanese fighter will be more horizontally manoeuvrable than its German and American counterpart, but would have limited vertical manoeuvrability .
You begin playing in basic training mode before you're thrown into multiplayer battles where you can earn credits and experience points necessary to unlock additional game content. Gameplay involves destroying all enemy aircraft in dogfights, as well as ground objects to achieve air superiority .
In Tanks, you get access to five types of vehicles: light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks, tank destroyers, and self-propelled guns from the armies of Britain, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany , Japan, Soviet Union, Sweden and the USA. Here, you have to navigate the vehicle, aim and fire at the enemy , while strategising with team players in multiplayer battles. A match is won either by destroying all enemy tanks or capturing their team base. You will also need to complete missions for rewards.
And finally , in Warships, you can choose from over 200 vessels including destroyers, cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers ­­ dating back to World War I and World War II -from the Commonwealth, France, Germany , Japan, Poland, USA and USSR. The game features weather changes at sea, including rain, snow and fog that can influence, and even change the course of the battle. These take place in diverse locations all over the world, each requiring different game tactics. Gameplay is team-based, and you can engage in battles against bots or real players. To win, you usually have to occupy specific locations on a map for a given period of time, or destroy all enemy players. As you progress, you grow in experience, which can be used to unlock modules on your vessel, before you progress to the next ship.
Each game requires a separate download: 16GB for World of Tanks, and up to 42GB for Warships. But before you download, we recommend you read the minimum and recommended PC specs for each game.

New to the World of Gaming?
If your computer runs Windows 10, then check out the Games section on the Microsoft Store for free games. Other places where you can find free and discounted games include, and the games are listed with their full descriptions and trailer videos. Before downloading, read user feedback and game ratings; also don't forget to check recommended hardware specs.

This website releases fresh budget-priced game bundles ­ comprising six to seven games ­ every two weeks. For each title on offer, you get a brief description, along with the platforms for which they are available, and user-review ratings. Humble Bundle follows the pay-what-you-want model, which means you can buy the starter bundle of two-three games for just $1. As you increase your bid, you get more titles at extremely nominal rates.
But the best part of this website is that it contributes a percentage of what you pay to charity (it has thousands of charities listed, and don't worry this is not a scam).You also get to decide what portion of your money goes to the developer, how much goes to charity, and what goes to Humble as a tip.Once you make your payment via card or PayPal, you will receive an email to your registered address with a link from where you can download your games.
Humble Bundle has similar offers for ebooks and apps.

I tch is a great place to visit for budget games from independent game developers.Create a free account on the website, and you can browse for titles by platform (Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS and web), price (free, on sale, paid, $5 and less, $15 and less), genre (action, platformer, shooter, adventure, role playing, simulation, strategy , puzzle, sports), and game length (a few minutes, about a half-hour, about an hour, a few hours, a day or more).
When you click on a title, you can watch videos of gameplay , read game description, and see recommended specs. In this way you can make an informed decision before downloading.
Many developers set their minimum price to zero, which means their games can be got for free, but you can choose to support them with contributions if you like what they're offering. Itch also has bundles, where you can buy multiple games at heavily discounted prices.

If war games are not your thing, you can visit MMOBomb and MMOS for a listing of all the free-to-play MMOGs across multiple genres such as shooters, strategy , fighting, racing, sports, sci-fi, card games, fantasy, and more. Each title promises months of free gaming, with regular updates and packs.
Each game is listed with a brief description, key features, a direct link to its web page, recommended PC hardware specifications, player reviews and ratings out of five. Both websites have news and game preview sections, as well as regular in-game giveaways that include loot packs, product keys to unlock games and features, and even beta access codes.
MMOS also lists paid games; has a regular podcast, and a section from where you can listen to music soundtracks from nearly 200 titles.
The advantage of browsing for MMOGs to play on these websites is that you can interact with fellow gamers via comments, forums and even read their views to help you decide which titles are worth your while. Additionally , you can find games that you can play on almost all PC hardware configurations. |


BOSS SPECIAL : What Kind Are You?

BOSS : What Kind Are You?

Don't Know Your Job

You're the invisible man, the one who doesn't delve into the details or pitch in. You insulate yourself, telling us it's "not my job" and to "just do it." We know your dirty secret: You're out of touch. It's time to step away from your precious spreadsheets and get your hands dirty. You can't channel talent, time, and tools if you don't know how they're already being deployed.

Don't Listen

We've seen it all. You fiddle with your BlackBerry (RIMM) when we're speaking. You interrupt constantly to make your points. And you roll your eyes and grow impatient—unless you're talking. No matter, you disregard our input anyway. So we've given up; we don't come to you anymore. And we both suffer for it. If you want to succeed, rebuild that goodwill. It'll require time and toil, but the best relationships always do.


You're gifted and accomplished, the best and brightest. And that has made you susceptible to pride. Now, you're quick to reach conclusions. Everything is one-sided, with no room for discussion, differences, or dissent. You may view yourself as all-knowing, but conditions change. And talent doesn't stand for "my way or the highway" for long. Pride goeth before a fall. Question is, can you open up and adapt before then?


History remembers the tyrants but rarely the subjects who did the heavy lifting. It's no different here. You've created a divide-and-conquer atmosphere, all stick and no carrot, where everyone should be the same workaholic reflection of you. Eventually, your bullying and rah-rah intensity produces one question: "Why?" You may think we should be in "for life," but what are you giving back in return for that blind loyalty?

Not Building Skills

"People are our most important asset." Well, it's empty rhetoric here. Maybe you want to be handsoff or encourage s e l f - re l i a n c e . Whatever the intent, you're not helping us grow. And that's your real job as a manager: to broaden our outlook, push us beyond our comfort zones, exemplify the corporate values, and focus us on learning, serving, persevering, leading, and advancing. Don't take that responsibility lightly.

Poor Preparation

Another emergency meeting. Drop what you're doing, they need it now. We're changing direction and working late again. It's always last minute, make it up as you go along. Maybe it fosters teamwork and creativity sometimes, but you can only cry wolf so many times. In reality, the unexpected drama reflects your inability to set expectations, plan ahead, and think it through. And it's just wearing us down.


SUSTAINABILITY SPECIAL .....Pathways and obstacles to a low-carbon economy

Pathways and obstacles to a low-carbon economy

The energy transition is happening. But the pace of change depends on a range of technical, business, and societal factors.
Technological advances and falling prices are driving the momentum toward low-carbon energy production across the globe. In this episode  McKinsey partner Arnout de Pee and Lord Adair Turner, chair of the Energy Transitions Commission and the Institute for New Economic Thinking, speak with McKinsey Publishing’s Cait Murphy about the shift toward renewable resources and the future of sustainable development.
Pathways and obstacles to a low-carbon economy

Cait Murphy: How can the world produce the energy it needs to broaden prosperity without damaging the environment beyond repair? The Energy Transitions Commission, whose members comprise leaders from the public, private, and social sectors, is dedicated to answering that question.
Speaking with us today is Lord Adair Turner, head of the Energy Transitions Commission, and Arnout de Pee, a partner at McKinsey’s Sustainability and Resource Productivity group. I’m Cait Murphy of McKinsey Publishing.
Let’s start with the broad question. Lord Turner, what is meant by the term “the energy transition,” and why is such a transition necessary?
Lord Adair Turner: The term “energy transition” describes the fact that over the next several decades, we are going to have to achieve a really dramatic transition in the world away from reliance on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have been absolutely essential to the original industrial revolution, to the growth of prosperity that we’ve achieved in an increasing number of countries over the last 200 years.
In order to limit global warming to below two degrees centigrade above preindustrial levels, we will have to really very significantly move away from fossil fuels, while still delivering in many countries even more energy use than there is today.
And that’s what we mean by the energy transition; how do we build economies using enough energy to deliver prosperity for everybody, but with much reduced carbon emissions.
Arnout de Pee: One word to stress here is also the economic implication. So, for many nations, it is no longer only an energy transition, but also an industrial or an economic transition away from the activities and the way energy is being produced, the way goods are being produced, the way goods are being transported, and people are being transported to new forms and ways of that.
Cait Murphy: How will the energy transition look across different regions such as Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America?
Lord Adair Turner: Probably to have a reasonable standard of living, you need to consume maybe 80 to 100 of what are called gigajoules of energy per capita per annum. The European Union’s average is now about 130. We could get more efficient and still have our standard of living.
America uses about 200. They could get much more efficient. A country like India is still only consuming about 25 gigajoules per capita, so even if it gets much, much more efficient, if it’s going to have a prosperous lifestyle, they’re going to consume a lot more energy. So, first of all, we have some countries where the challenge is actually reducing energy use, others where it is growing, but not growing energy use as much as you grow in prosperity. That’s one big difference.
Arnout de Pee: I think the dimension to add is also the composition of the economy. There is a large difference between being a service economy versus being heavily industrialized. Given that, for instance, China is moving more and more to a service economy, their pathway toward decarbonization is going to be very different from those countries that are going to be building up industrial activity. So, I think that that’s another angle to the problem that makes China different from India, makes it different from Malaysia.
Cait Murphy: If the goal then is to change the way that goods are moved and produced and how people get around, how do we get there?
Lord Adair Turner: So, we’ve just got to get much more efficient at how we get prosperity out of the energy we use. But whatever the energy we use, we’ve got to increase the extent to which that comes from zero-carbon sources.
And it’s those two things, use energy more efficiently and decarbonize, as we call it, the sources of energy; put those two together and we can drive CO2emissions down to the level which is required to stay well below two degrees. It is, however, a very big challenge upon both of those dimensions.
Cait Murphy: How do we get there in terms of specific technologies?
Lord Adair Turner: We know how to take the carbon out of electricity production.
We know that there is a collapsing price now of renewable energy from solar photovoltaics or from wind. And that means that if you combine that with batteries, which are also collapsing in cost, or with gas turbines as backup, we are very confident that we will be able within 15 years to build energy systems—electricity production systems which rely almost entirely on renewables and which produce all the electricity that we eventually need—at a price of only seven US cents per kilowatt-hour.
And that’s completely competitive with fossil-fuel production. We can start having cars or automobiles which run on electricity. We can get more domestic heat from electricity. We can electrify more of the economy, and that’s a very, very attractive thing also in terms of local air pollution. The challenge then becomes that there’s a whole set of functions in the economy, things like producing steel, producing cement, making airplanes fly, where it’s not clear that we can electrify it, so that even if we’ve got low-carbon electricity, we don’t have the solution.
Arnout de Pee: We’re now moving to looking more at the demand side of the energy system, just like Adair said. What do you do with industry? What do you do with heavy-duty transport? What do you do with building heating, where electrification is not the economic solution?
Plus, these are systems with very long lifetimes of over 30 and 40 years. So, even if you would have a greenfield, new-build solution that will be able to produce steel or chemicals at zero carbon, then you would still be left with an enormous amount of brownfield capacity, where changing the process, moving to an electric furnace or a hydrogen furnace, comes at additional capex cost.
Lord Adair Turner: One of the things that we should be looking at in these industrial-materials areas is how we recycle much more, how we get more of a circular economy so that we don’t need to produce as much new raw steel. One vision is that the steel industry eventually will be essentially recycling steel that we’ve already made.
Now, recycling steel that you’ve already made, you can electrify with electric arc furnaces, whereas producing more steel in the first place is pretty difficult to electrify, and we may have to find other routes. We need to be thinking about how we move to a more recycled economy where we’re not adding to the stock of these materials in future.
So, the different dimensions tend to overlap in practice, but the key message is the bit which we think unsolvable is solvable here, and that is: Are you going to be able to heat and light your house from clean energy? Yes, because there’s going to be clean electricity. Are we going to be able to produce steel, cement in a clean way? We’ve really got to work out the details of how we do that.
Cait Murphy: What about the business and investment community? What can they be doing to be part of this transition? And why would they want to?
Lord Adair Turner: Some businesses absolutely want to be part of it. I mean, there are now huge businesses in the solar space, the wind space, the electric-car space, the battery space. These are huge businesses making very, very big investment commitments. I think for investors the challenge is they’ve got to think through how much they want to be invested in these new technology sectors and what is their approach to investment in the fossil-fuel sectors.
We will need fossil fuels for some time. Some of them have got to go into decline very quickly. I would say coal, particularly in the developed economies. Oil will reach a peak and come down. Gas has to flatten out. But if oil reaches a peak and comes down, there is still a need for investment in some of the existing fields to meet even a declining level of total oil production. So, you can’t have a simplistic point of view that says, “All oil investment has got to stop tomorrow.”
On the other hand, investors in oil and gas and certainly coal companies have got to make sure that they don’t end up investing in assets which are too high cost to make sense in the world where the total demand for fossil fuels is going to come down.
Arnout de Pee: I think for a lot of companies, it is also getting a better understanding of what an orderly transition could look like, instead of having an unorderly transition. What I mean by that is regardless of almost in which industry you are in, as long as you have a sensible outlook of how policy will develop, what’s going happen to commodity prices and therefore the state of your industry, the easier it is to make your decisions.
Most of the energy companies I talk to, what they need is a longer-term outlook of how policy will develop in order for them to make the investment choices that meet that future outlook. As long as we don’t have that, it becomes very challenging for energy companies to make proper investment decisions here.
As Adair puts it, the energy transition is not a radical shift to only renewables and no more fossil fuels. There is going be a long period ahead of us where these two will have to go hand-in-hand, where we will be still reliant on the ramp-up of fossil fuels in some sectors to allow for economic prosperity. So, the two will have to go hand-in-hand.
Cait Murphy: What are the biggest challenges in technical, political, and social terms?
Lord Adair Turner: These are difficult transitions economically; they’re difficult transitions to get people to agree with. So, yeah, that’s a challenge. There’s also a challenge, I think, about timing, and about speed at which we progress.
Am I confident that the world can have an economy with the prosperity levels of the rich developed world for everybody in the world on a low-carbon economy, eventually? I am absolutely, 100 percent confident.
Am I confident that we can get there fast enough to avoid putting so much stock of CO2 into the atmosphere that we have excessive warming? I believe we can do it, but we have to try hard to meet that challenge. So, the challenge is not is the end point possible; it’s the pace at which we’ve got to get there.
Arnout de Pee: One big challenge is we’ve talked a lot about electricity. Electricity is currently less than a fifth of the total amount of energy that we’re consuming, and also the way that our energy infrastructure is set up, the way energy flows between nations, the way energy is stored in countries is all on the basis typically of fossil fuels.
That entire energy system, the backbone, will have to change alongside everything that we’ve already been mentioning on energy demand and supply. But also between seasons, there will be flows of energy that will be very different than we have today. I think there is still an enormous challenge. I see it as a positive challenge for technology innovation to solve the energy-systems issues of the future.
Lord Adair Turner: We need to get some changes in behaviors, and we need to incentivize them and encourage them. But here’s the interesting point about the electric car, which in theory it enables us to shift electricity use around the day. But unless we work out how to make that happen with price incentives and software and mechanisms of management that make it easy for people to leave their car, their automobile on the driveway and have it switch on the charger at 2 in the morning, unless we do that, electric cars could make some of the problems of electricity management systems worse.
If everybody who drives an electric car comes back home at 6:30 in the evening and all plug it in simultaneously, then we’ve got a bigger problem of managing electricity supply and demand than we have at the moment.
It’s very technologically exciting. It’s an area where the application of information and communications technology can achieve some wonderful things for the world. But there’s a lot of new business ideas, implementation, and in some cases, appropriate regulation has got to be got right to unleash that potential.
Cait Murphy: What are some policies and approaches that governments have used that you find interesting and useful? Either to decarbonize or to increase efficiency?
Lord Adair Turner: Well, we know two things that work, one on the decarbonizing side and one on the sort of energy-efficiency side. On the decarbonizing electricity, we began with a set of experiments about how to encourage renewable-energy takeoff, direct subsidies, et cetera.
And increasingly, what we’ve migrated to is a system of fixed-price auctions, which simply says to the solar farm or the wind farm, “How cheap can you get the delivery of kilowatt-hours of electricity?” What the contract’s essentially saying is, “If you get it really cheap, the system will take that electricity whenever you produce it, and then we’ll sort out the backup problems,” sometimes called a “take or pay” contract.
These are very efficient ways of derisking, and they’re what have driven these dramatic reductions that we’ve seen recently in the prices at auction for renewable-energy provision.
And then when I think you switch around to the energy productivity side, the appliance regulation, the process of saying that regulators are going go through a series of generations—with light bulbs, for instance—you’re creating an environment where there’s a year beyond which you can’t use an incandescent light bulb, and then a year beyond which you can’t use, you know, a halogen light bulb, and a year beyond which you can’t use compact fluorescent.
And you drive a certainty for the LED producers, that there’s going to be a big market for them, and because of that certainty, they invest at scale, and because of that certainty, by the time you get to that regulatory date, the price has come thumping down. Those sort of pull-through regulations, they work well.
Arnout de Pee: Yeah, I think another one too is the emission standards that have been set for cars, for industries, for insulation of homes. Especially when they are given a longer-term trajectory, they’re going get clarity for investment, and it gives clarity for producers or the OEMs of the equipment and the appliances to start investing in this supply chain in a way that they will understand how they can make a return in five or ten years from now.
If I talk to players, for instance, in the wind industry, what they’re also asking for is, “Give us a longer-term ambition that we can work toward,” because whether we’re moving in a market that is 5 or 50 gigawatts in size for a certain region has enormous implication on the type of supply chain that you ramp up.
The better you are in at least understanding what that risk is, the easier it gets to get proper financing and also to place that risk there in the value chain where it can be best managed.
Lord Adair Turner: I think that’s absolutely right. So it’s a very sort of self-reinforcing circular process that scale commitment drives cost reduction, which makes the scale commitment cheap when you actually get it. I think actually the Netherlands has been doing this pretty well recently, with its offshore developments, where we’ve seen the latest in the course of the last year; we've seen some incredibly aggressive bids offshore of the Netherlands, for offshore wind, coming down to $54 per megawatt hour.
Cait Murphy: Two big ideas are getting a lot of attention: cap and trade and a carbon tax. Do you think these are useful ways of addressing the decarbonization side of the equation?
Lord Adair Turner: Look, on the carbon tax idea, it’s absolutely clear that it would be extremely useful in different segments of the economy, if we had significant carbon prices and commitments to rising carbon prices.
What I would be very wary of, and you sometimes get this with a sort of an ideology, which is, “Well, a carbon price can be an answer to everything. And if we had a good carbon price, you could just get rid of all other regulation.”
Carbon prices work best where you’ve got business managers making decisions, looking at future costs. Ask yourself this: Would you persuade the ordinary householder to switch from an incandescent light bulb to an LED light bulb by the expectation of a future carbon price? Most normal, sensible human beings just don’t run their life like that. And given that they don’t run their life like that, that is an area where regulation is more powerful than price.
Switch over to some of the industrial sectors and the need to search out precisely how we’re going decarbonize chemicals, refining. There, a carbon price would be important, and I think it’s actually essential to help drive some of the change that we want.
Arnout de Pee: What’s important to look at in that regard, especially for those industrial sectors that act on a global market, is that you need to have a global price-setting mechanism. Take refining, take chemicals, where many of the producing assets only produce maybe for 10 or 20 percent, for their regional market.
Then the rest is all traded on an international market, where the price difference can be as small as a few percentage points. So, penalizing a region with a CO2 price might stifle a certain part of the industry that’s acting in the global marketplace.
Lord Adair Turner: The other thing just to comment on is the difference between a tax and a cap-and-trade system. I mean, in absolute theory, you set the total amount of emissions and you have that on a declining path, as there is within the emissions trading scheme. And then the price process with the market decides the price, and that’s an efficient way to do it.
It depends crucially on having a tight enough set of emissions, permits that are in the auction. And the problem that the flagship emission-trading scheme of the world has had, which is the European emissions-trading scheme, is due to a set of political decisions, frankly; there were just far too many emission permits out there. Tons of emissions allowed, and that meant that the price was very low and also very fluctuating, and really wasn’t a powerful indicator. I think we sort of realized that there may be advantages in progressing through a tax side.
Cait Murphy: Most people are familiar with major renewables, such as wind, solar, and biomass. What are some other technologies that you find interesting or promising?
Lord Adair Turner: The whole technology suite of batteries and other forms of energy storage is hugely important. We have these amazingly strong and plentiful energy sources, in particular solar. Every day, the sun radiates on earth about five thousand times as much energy as the entire human race needs to support a prosperous lifestyle.
But one of the big problems is storage. Now, batteries are a very important technology, and it is going to go through a whole series of waves. And it’s not just a matter of the cost. It’s also a matter of the weight; how many kilowatt-hours of energy can you get in a kilogram of batteries?
I think that’s going to be a hugely important technological development, but there are also other ways of storing energy. You can store energy by pumping water uphill, by compressing air. One of the biggest problems we have in the world is not where does energy come from, but the ability to generate it at one hour and use it at another. And anything that solves that is hugely valuable.
Arnout de Pee: For me, number two is everything around hybridization, and this is more technology deployment rather than development.
Can you imagine what would happen if you would be able to switch on and switch off or hybridize 30 or 40 percent of energy demand for an industry, because you have a system of electric boilers combined with hydrogen or gas boilers? I find that hugely stimulating also because there’s a high-tech component to it.
The third thing I would mention is carbon capture and storage and then also usage. When you look at the difficult-to-abate sectors in industry, there is still a wealth of opportunity to capture that CO2, and to either store it or use it in products, either through circularity or through another process, which for now are still expensive.
Cait Murphy: You have both been engaged in the climate-change and energy debate for many years. What’s changed?
Lord Adair Turner: Well, I have been interested in the whole issue of climate change for 20 years, but I first got sort of significantly involved in it, in terms of commitment of my time, when in early 2008, I was made the first chair of the UK Climate Change Committee, which is charged with driving UK emissions down by our legal commitment to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
I suspect if I was to dig out the reports that we produced in the first year of my committee about what we thought was going to happen to the price of wind, the price of solar, or the price of batteries, I would just be embarrassed by how we failed to see the pace at which the costs were going to come down.
And that is hugely optimistic and one of the things that should make us feel that public policy sometimes gets things right by driving the early development of a technology in a way that it then gets onto a self-reinforcing path, where the private sector takes over and drives the price down.
Arnout de PeeThe way I would say it, ten years ago, we were still thinking in linear terms, when we looked at price projections and the speed at which things could change. I think we’ve grown a little bit more used to it, that some of these cost curves actually follow a very different path [from a linear one] that is, being exponential.
And for me, that’s hugely exciting, because that also tells us that there might be lots of different areas where we’re also applying a linear way of projecting how quickly costs can go down or how quickly the penetration can increase. Well, actually, we have it all wrong. It can go a lot quicker.
Cait Murphy: Thank you both very much for a fascinating conversation.
Lord Adair Turner: Thanks very much. It’s been a great discussion.
Arnout de Pee: Thanks for a good discussion.

INDIA REFINERIES SPECIAL......Global oil markets and implications for Indian refineries

Global oil markets and implications for Indian refineries
The development of tight oil and shale gas in the US is reshaping markets and trade flows not just for oil and gas, but also refined products and petrochemicals. The availability of cheap ethane, in particular, has laid the platform for a competitive ethylene-based petrochemical industry there and a round of investments unsurpassed in the history of the industry.

The fall & feeble recovery
Oil and gas markets have stayed soft for much of the period since 2014 when OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, opted to lift crude output in a desperate bid not to further loose market share to rising shale oil production in the US. The opening of the spigots, at a time of weakening demand, had a not surprising impact on oil prices, which plummeted to below $40 a barrel by the end of 2015 – a far cry from the record high of $145 per barrel set a few months ago. Besides the 1.5-mbpd (million barrels per day) increase in output from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, another factor that contributed to the softness in oil markets was the nuclear deal with Iran, which raised the possibility of increased exports from the hitherto isolated country.
The low oil prices persisted through much of 2016, till Saudi Arabia and OPEC reversed course and concluded an historic agreement (that included Russia) to slash oil output by close to 1.5-mbpd. Though prices corrected upward in an expected reaction as 2017 rolled in, the uptick has been difficult to sustain for several reasons, and prices have hovered around the $50 mark. The transient upward movement in prices, it seemed, flattered only to deceive.
There are several reasons for this state of affairs. For one, markets have recognised that there is clearly more oil available now than needed and that the situation is unlikely to change significantly – save for dramatic geo-political developments. More significantly, signals from the demand side are not encouraging. In several advanced countries, economic growth today has decoupled from oil, as economies have transitioned to services and low-carbon-intensive manufacturing. Several developing economies – China in particular – are now laying great emphasis on lowering the energy & carbon footprints of manufacturing industries, both through the deployment of alternative energy sources (including renewables) and improved energy management practices. The emergence of alternate transportation options, including electro-mobility (hybrid and electric vehicles), and shared services (Uber, Ola etc.) have the potential to significantly alter demand for personal vehicles and hence transportation fuels – a big and profitable outlet for refineries.
While in the past the concerns were about peak oil and the world running out of the resource in a few decades, the argument has now been turned on its head. Terms like “peak demand” are increasingly being heard. However, it must be reiterated that most forecasts still see oil demand rising, though at a slower pace vis-à-vis its historical trend.

Ample supply & weak demand
The two scenarios of ample supply and weak demand growth imply that oil prices will stay weak for the medium term – in the absence of any jarring political developments.
This will guarantee the fossil fuel a continuing and significant place in the energy mix of most economies. It will also polarise centres of demand and supply. Developing economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa will account for nearly all of the incremental growth in oil demand, while exploration and production (E&P) efforts will be focussed on regions with the least cost of production, such as the Middle East, Northern Africa and North America. Expensive E&P forays into offshore deep-waters, Arctic regions where harsh conditions raise the cost of production significantly, or politically troubled parts of the world, will be hard to justify in the new realities of the oil markets. This polarisation will mean that oil will still be shipped around the world from producers to markets even as the latter try to shore up self-reliance.

Positive implications for India – mostly
Much of the above have positive implications India, which is severely dependent on imports of oil & gas to fuel its energy needs. There is a stated policy to reduce the national oil dependence by 10% by 2020, but the path to this is unclear, and given the near certainty that domestic production is unlikely to rise significantly, seems unlikely to be achieved. But given the weakness in oil prices, there is distinct possibility that the value of imports could be slashed by 10% (or more) from the record highs set four years ago. But this is sleight of hand!
There is an ambitious – some would say unrealistic – roadmap to electrification of vehicles, but implementation has been remarkably poor so far. There are virtually no significant efforts in creation of the extensive infrastructure needed for a large-scale migration to electric vehicles. Furthermore, research in areas such as battery technologies – heavily protected by walls of patents by international firms – is almost non-existent, in sharp contrast to China.

Refinery margins under pressure
The weakness in oil prices will spill over to the markets for refined products as well. Margins will be under pressure and only the most efficient refiners will survive. Some of India’s refineries – particularly the new ones set up in the private sector and a few in the public sector – are well positioned to capitalise on the flexibility and the complexity of their investments, but several others will be challenged on the margins front.
The likely market conditions will require refineries to address every possibility to add value to every drop of oil processed. Till now, most have been fuel-centric – partly due the realities of the marketplace that prioritised fuel needs over anything else, but also due inertia and lack of risk-taking. That has changed somewhat and several refiners have outlined value-addition aimed at shoring up margins. This will require them to invest significant capital at a time when there are several other demands on their resources.

Investments in upgrading fuel quality
The specifications of automobile fuels Indian refiners produce have been tightened and India will in a sense leapfrog a generation of clean fuel technologies to make fuels with much lower specifications of sulphur, aromatics, nitrogen compounds etc. Refiners are likely to spend around Rs. 90,000-crore – a staggering sum of money – by 2020 to meet these mandates, and engineering companies are salivating at the prospects of increased business coming from technology licensing, engineering services etc.
The best opportunities to shore up margins in refining is through integration to petrochemicals and the experience in India so far has been poor. While a few refineries do produce propylene and process it captively or make it available for third-party investors, most do not. Valorisation of heavier streams – starting from C4 onwards – is poorer. Most butanes, for example, are consigned to the LPG stream, which fetches refineries nothing more than fuel value for a molecule that is precious (in the sense of the diverse products that can be made from it). The situation is worse for the heavier fractions.
Valorising these streams will require refineries to have a critical size – about 15-mtpa – and several fall short on this score. But the good news is that at least some are now eyeing expansions to reach such a size.

Rationalising the upstream & downstream companies ….
There is now talk of rationalising the structure of India’s oil & refining industries to create integrated champions that can count amongst the giants that stride this world. There are merits and demerits to the exercise and it will be interesting to see whether these moves will actually come to fruition. There is clearly scope to rationalise jobs, streamline efficiencies, and share marketing & infrastructure networks through integration, but whether the government will have the stomach to do this, without upsetting labour unions, is debatable.
The other big idea mooted for the sector is the creation of a ‘mega-refinery’ in the west coast of India, possibly in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. As of now this is to have a crude oil processing capacity of about 40-mtpa – and will likely be built in two phases. The national oil companies are to come together for this ambitious project, though there have been reports that an international oil major – possibly from one of the oil-rich countries of the Middle East – will be roped in to provide some assurance of oil supply.
Such a refinery can be well positioned to be an anchor around which a significant petrochemical industry can also develop. The planning for this needs to be dovetailed into the planning for the refinery, and needs to be done keeping in mind the country’s needs for chemicals and polymers. Importantly, there should be firm allocations of key raw materials – particularly olefins and aromatics – to potential investors. Only this will ensure that a downstream chemical industry that is broad in scope will emerge. A cluster approach – wherein anchor and downstream units are juxtaposed in close geographical vicinity, and share basic and specialised infrastructure – is the best way to ensure competitiveness of all participants.

… and the government
On its part, the government must merge the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. This makes eminent sense as the latter has control over the units producing petroleum-derived feedstock, and the former the ones that can convert these into the many products indispensible to modern living.
The fate of the petroleum and the petrochemicals industries are intertwined. No need to keep their administrations apart!

- Ravi Raghavan