Sunday, May 30, 2021

Pakistani Journalist Hamid Mir's Unhinged Response to Attack on Asad Toor

Hamid Mir, a primetime TV talk show host, has reacted angrily to an attack on fellow Pakistani journalist Asad Ali Toor this week. Without explicitly naming anyone in his emotional outburst against the Pakistan Army and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence Service), Mir has accused their leadership of cowardice in allegedly ordering attacks on journalists. Dredging up the name of "General Rani", believed to have been the mistress of former Army Chief and President Yahya Khan in the 1970s, Hamid Mir has threatened to reveal similar scandals of current Pakistan Army generals. “If you’re breaking into our homes to assault us, well, we cannot enter your homes as you have tanks and guns, but we can make things public, things from inside your homes,” Mir said at a journalists' rally in Islamabad.        

Hamid Mir (2nd from right) with Asad Toor

Pakistan ISI has denied any role in the attack on Toor.  A statement of the agency said: "The ISI believes that when the faces of the accused can be clearly seen on CCTV, there should be no hurdle in the investigation" It further added, "The continuation of such allegations shows that the ISI is being targeted [...] under an organized conspiracy".  

This entire episode has raised the following questions:

1. Why the attacks on journalists in Pakistan?  Are they specially targeted? Are other ordinary citizens subjected to similar but less publicized attacks? Is it a symptom of a larger phenomenon of failing criminal justice system?

2. Why are the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies automatically blamed without any investigation or evidence? Whose responsibility is it to carry out such investigations and prosecute perpetrators? 

3. Has Hamid Mir crossed the line between journalism and propaganda? Are some Pakistani journalists deliberately maligning Pakistani military and ISI leadership in the name of free speech? Should they be investigated for slander? 

4. Where do most Pakistanis stand vis-a-vis the military? Do they have greater confidence in the military or the politicians and journalists who blame the military for attacks? 

Please watch the following discussion on this subject:

Friday, May 28, 2021

Karachi Fintech Startup Raises $6.5 Million Seed Round To Launch Derivative Trading App

Seed Labs, a Pakistani financial technology startup based in Karachi, has raised $6.5 million in seed funding to launch a derivatives trading platform. It was founded about a year ago by four young men in their mid-20s: Yameen Malik, Rabeel Jawaid, Zabi Mohebzada, and Ahmad Jawaid, according to Bloomberg reporter Faseeh Mangi

Seed Labs Founders

Seed Labs's first app is designed for decentralized trading of derivatives on commodities, cryptocurrencies and stocks using blockchain technology. Seed Labs is backed by venture money from investors in 9 different countries, including institutional liquidity providers, Alameda Research, Kronos Research, LedgerPrime and others that collectively trade over $28 billions a day, the company said in a statement.

The initial platform planned to launched later this year will primarily be a Perpetual Swap Trading Exchange. It will allow any trade pair from any asset class to be offered — from commodities, equities, digital assets to pre-IPO stocks.  "Right now our target markets are Europe and the Asia Pacific Region. The derivatives exchange is expected to launch in Q3 of this year and is currently undergoing the first round of technical security and penetration testing audits”, Says Zabi, according to a report. 
Seed Labs Trading Platform 

Derivatives are contracts whose value derives from something else. They derive their value from price movements, events, or outcomes of an underlying asset. Underlying assets are usually securities like stocks, bonds, index funds, mutual funds, and commodities. Some derivatives track numerical indexes or statistics based on events and outcomes outside the financial realm — like the weather. Derivative financial products come in different forms and do different things. Some try to secure a future price of a commodity, such as wheat, to help limit the risk of future price increases. Others speculate on future stock price movements to seek a profit. Still, others swap currencies and interest rates to gain a comparative advantage. The important thing to remember about derivatives is that without underlying assets they can not exist.

Fintech trading platforms are beginning to make derivatives trading accessible to non-professional investors. Silicon Valley-based Robinhood is an example of such as platform that has been in the news recently. The role of Robinhood app in driving up games retailer GameStop stock price has drawn the scrutiny of regulators at both the SEC and CFTC. The fintech-based trading platforms are seen as a disruptive force by the fintech fans and critics alike. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

E-Commerce: Will Amazon Help Boost Pakistan's Exports?

Global e-commerce giant Amazon has recently added several dozen Pakistani exporters to its approved list, according to Eric Broussard, vice president of Amazon International Seller Services. "We are excited to announce that as of today, Pakistani entrepreneurs are eligible to sell on Amazon. We are eager to work with Pakistan's dynamic business community, including small and medium-sized sellers and help connect them with customers around the globe," he said.   

Amazon Global Marketplace. Source: Wikipedia

Amazon e-commerce platform has global reach. As of March 2021, Amazon Marketplace operates and sells in 18 countries, mostly in advanced economies of Europe, Japan and North America as well as in emerging markets like Brazil, China, India, Arab Gulf states and Turkey. It boasts 200 million members for its Amazon Prime program that offers fast free shipping and other benefits, including Prime Video streaming for a fixed annual fee. The company hosts millions of sellers from over 100 countries on Amazon Marketplace. Over 7,000 Amazon-listed sellers from Pakistan's neighbor India have exported goods worth over $3 billion since 2015.    

It has taken the combined effort of thousands of Indian sellers more than 5 years to achieve $3 billion in cumulative sales, indicating that it will take Pakistani sellers a lot of hard work and time  to grow their business. But Amazon e-commerce platform does offer great potential for Pakistani manufacturers and merchants to grow their sales. 

Amazon currently owns about 33% stake in Pakistani e-tailer through its acquisition in 2017 of Dubai-based online retailer Souq.  Souq acquired this stake in the Pakistani company in late 2016. Amazon operates in South Korea through a partnership with SK Telecom

There is already a cottage industry of gig workers that has sprung up in Pakistan to support merchants who have been unofficially selling products on Amazon Marketplace. These Pakistani merchants have registered from countries such as the United Kingdom which are already on Amazon's approved list.

Pakistani gig workers include Amazon Virtual Assistants. These are freelancers providing services such as customer call centers, administrative tasks, fulfillment, and web development. Online freelance marketplace Fiverr lists over 7,000 Pakistanis who advertise themselves as Amazon Virtual Assistants, more than from any other country. 

To become successful on Amazon Marketplace, Pakistani exporters will need to select and learn a lot about their target countries/markets and customer preferences. They will have to design, build or choose products that are in great demand in their target markets. 

Initially, Pakistani exporters will likely need to establish a significant inventory of fast-selling products at Amazon warehouses in the United States and use FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service to provide quick delivery to Amazon Prime customers. Pakistan exporters will also have to ensure quality to satisfy these customers and avoid negative online reviews. 

Listing of Pakistani sellers on a global e-commerce platform is good news but it is only the first step toward becoming successful exporters. A lot more investment, attention and hard work will be necessary to realize its full potential.  

Friday, May 21, 2021

US Media Losing Control of the Middle East Narrative?

Citizen journalists armed with ubiquitous smartphones and access to social media platforms have challenged the western media reporting of the latest Israeli brutal assault on Gaza. While the established western media outfits have stuck to "Israel's right to defend itself" narrative, this new breed of young journalists has posted unfiltered images and videos of the Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. Some of these powerful posts have gone viral with many young people, including Jews, sharing them broadly on social media. People, particularly Americans, who share these posts see the Palestinian struggle as a civil rights struggle not unlike the recent Black Lives Matter movement in America. 

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on CNN

The western media, particularly the mainstream American media, are quick to accuse Israel's critics of being anti-semitic, a familiar tactic to distract from the Israeli crimes against humanity. A recent example is the CNN anchor Bianna Golodryga who labelled Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's criticism of western media as anti-semitic, a charge that even President Jimmy Carter could not escape when he criticized Israel's Apartheid.  Here's what Mr. Qureshi  told the CNN anchor: 

“Israel is losing out (in spite of their) deep pockets, they are losing the media war despite their connections.. ..Well they are very influential people. I mean, they control media.....point is they have a lot of influence, and they get a lot of coverage. Now what has balanced that is the citizen journalist who has been reporting, sharing video clips and that has jolted people and that has woken up people, and people who were sitting on the fence are today speaking up.”

Golodryga interjected and said, “I would call that an antisemitic remark". I am not sure if Qureshi knows but it seems to me that phrases like "control media" and "deep pockets" hit close to home for Golodryga. She and her husband Peter Orszag are both Jewish. Golodryga is an influential media person while Orszag is an investment banking executive on Wall Street. 

The power of Jews in American media and finance is undeniable. Goldman Sachs is the most influential investment bank in the United States. It was founded by Jews in the nineteenth century. Most of its partners since then, almost all of its leaders, and its current CEO (Lloyd Blankfein) are Jews. Similarly, most of the top media executives and best-known US journalists are Jews. 

The role of money and media is particularly important for domestic politics in the United States. What Mr. Qureshi said is especially true of the powerful Israel lobby group American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that lobbies for Israeli interests in the United States. AIPAC is flush with cash contributed by rich American Jews. AIPAC has lots of friends in mainstream US media. 

Western media not only fail to accurately report current events in Palestine but they also do not contextualize such events. For example, the current crisis in the region started with attempts by some Israeli Jews to steal Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. A viral video shared on social media illustrates what is happening there. It shows a young Palestinian woman in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah saying to a Jewish man named Yakov, “You are stealing my house!” “If I don’t steal it, someone else will steal it,” he responds. 

Popular comedian John Oliver has called out the western media for promoting "both sides" narrative in the Middle East. Here's what he said:

“There’s a real tendency, particularly in America, to ‘both sides’ this situation, and I’m not saying that there aren’t some areas where that’s warranted. But it’s important to recognize there are also areas where it’s simply not...Both sides are firing rockets, but one side has one of the most advanced militaries in the world. Both sides are suffering heartbreaking casualties, but one side is suffering them exponentially.... Falling back on, convenient sanitized terms like ‘real estate disputes’ and ‘airstrikes on militants’ feels a little disingenuous when what you’re describing is forcing people from the homes they’ve lived in for decades and killing civilians, and children...And again, none of this frees Hamas from responsibility. But Hamas doesn’t represent all Palestinians just as what Israel is doing right now doesn’t represent all Israelis, or indeed Jewish people...Lots is complicated here, but some things are pretty simple...One side is suffering much more.”

Monday, May 17, 2021

Israel: An Apartheid State Created & Propped Up By the West

As Israeli military pounds Gaza and kills large numbers of Palestinian men, women and children yet again, the western media and politicians are busy white-washing the Israeli crimes by repeating the same old mantra: "Israel has a right to defend itself". There's little mention of the decades-long occupation and continuing brutalization of the Palestinian people by the Israelis. Nor is there any discussion of how the West is culpable in this long-running injustice.

To put the current events in perspective, let us examine how we got to where we are today.  The foundation of the state of Israel as we know it now was laid when the British government issued a public statement in 1917 called the "Balfour Declaration" in support of the creation of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine. This came at a time when the First World War was still ranging and Palestine was a province of the Ottoman Empire. The Balfour Declaration was contained in a letter of November 2, 1917 from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the media on 9 November 1917.   

Palestinian & Israeli Flags

Later in 1937, famous British politician Winston Churchill disparaged Palestinians who had been living in the region for centuries as "dogs". Churchill said, "I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place." Churchill's racist comments made it clear that the Israeli settler colonialism in the Middle East was no different than the European settler colonization of America and Australia. In an Israeli cabinet meeting in 1949,  Israel's founding father David Ben-Gurion referred to Palestinians as "donkeys", according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz

A large number of European Jews, including victims of Nazi persecution, poured into Palestine before the end of the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven out of their land and their homes by these European Jews who had the full support of the West.  There were over 700,000 Palestinians in the land given to Israel by the United Nations controlled by the United States and major European colonial powers. Only 156,000 of the native Arab population remained after the Israelis dove out or killed the rest of them. Here's an excerpt of a story about the Israeli cabinet meeting as published in Haaretz:  

"The minutes of the meetings held by Mapai, which are stored in the Labor Party Archive in Beit Berl, outside Kfar Sava, attest to the deep dispute in the party over two conflicting approaches concerning the Arabs in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his associates – Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense Forces chief of staff 1953-1958) and Shimon Peres, at the time a senior official in the Defense Ministry – urged a policy of segregation and a hard hand against what he argued was a communal threat to national security; while Sharett and other Mapai leaders – Pinhas Lavon, Zalman Aran, David Hacohen and others – promoted a policy of integration". 

Miko Peled, Israeli author of "The General's Son", has detailed and documented the history of forced mass expulsions of Palestinians by armed Jewish gangs during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. The following quote from an interview with The Middle East Monitor captures the essence of what Peled has been saying: "In hindsight, that was catastrophic for the Palestinians, because a lot of it has to do with why we are here today – the fact that they dropped the struggle."   

Danish Cartoon on Israel-Palestine History

The essence of what has happened in Palestine over the last century has been caricatured by a Danish cartoonist. In the first frame, labelled as “1946” – the cartoon shows a man sleeping comfortably in his bed, with a dog on the floor near the bed. The man is marked with the Palestinian flag, while the dog is labeled as Israel, bearing the Israeli flag. In the second frame, labelled as “1947”, the dog is shown sleeping in the bed, while the man is now pushed over to one side. By the third frame, marked “1967”, the dog is seen sprawling out across the bed, kicking the man in the face. In the final frame, labelled “2000”, the man is sleeping on the floor and the dog has the entire bed to itself.   

There can be no hope for peace in Israel and Palestine as long as Apartheid survives. The only way to achieve durable peace in the region is to establish equal rights of all of its inhabitants regardless of their race or religion. 

A video presentation by Miko Peled, author of The General's Son:

Here's a video on Israeli Apartheid targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel:


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Nakbah, The Catastrophe Day

Jewish Power in US Congress

Pictorial Review of Young Gaza Victims 

Israel's Gaza Attack is Criminal, Not Defensive 

Warsaw's Nazi Concentration Camp 

Pakistani Media Revolution 

Gaza Flotilla Massacre and US Media Coverage

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

India's BJP-Linked Hindu Group Brings Dalit Slavery to America

A Hindu sect (BAPS) with close ties to India’s ruling BJP has exploited hundreds of low-caste men in a years-long construction project, reports the New York Times. A US federal lawsuit filed against the Hindu group alleges that the men brought to the United States under religious R-1 visa had their Indian passports confiscated by the Hindu group. It further alleges that the workers, mainly Dalit men who worked 13-hour days doing heavy lifting for about $1 an hour, were kept as prisoners at the construction site of a massive Hindu temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey.  Cases of caste discrimination and exploitation among India diaspora have also surfaced in Silicon Valley. 

Hindu Temple in Robbinville, New Jersey

Caste Discrimination in America:

Shocking as it is, the New Jersey case of exploitation of Indian Dalit workers brought to America is not unique.  Over two-thirds of low caste Indian-Americans are discriminated against by upper caste Indian-Americans in Silicon Valley, according to a report by Equality Labs, an organization of Dalits in America. Dalits also report hearing derogatory comments about Muslim job applicants at tech companies. These revelations have recently surfaced in a California state lawsuit against Silicon Valley tech giant Cisco Systems.

Religious Discrimination:

Both caste and religious discrimination are rampant among Indian-Americans in Silicon Valley. Back in 2009,  there was a religious discrimination lawsuit filed  against Vigai, a South Indian restaurant in Silicon Valley. In the lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Abdul Rahuman, 44, and Nowsath Malik Shaw, 39, both of San Jose, alleged they were harassed for being Muslim by Vaigai's two owners, a manager and a top chef — a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.

According to the complaint, restaurant personnel regularly used ethnic slurs such as "Thulakkan," a pejorative term for Muslims in Sri Lankan Tamil dialect, to harass the two Muslim cooks. Also according to the complaint, restaurant staff were encouraged to call the plaintiffs by names such as "Rajan" or "Nagraj" under the pretext of not wanting to upset customers who might stop patronizing the restaurant if they heard the men referred to by their Muslim names.

Modi in Silicon Valley

The complaint also stated that the plaintiffs were forced to participate in a religious ceremony despite telling the owners it was against their Islamic beliefs. The complaint alleged that the restaurant owners insisted on their participation and proceeded to smear a powder on their foreheads, making the religious marking known as a "tilak."

Upper Caste Silicon Valley

"Dominant castes who pride themselves as being only of merit have just converted their caste capital into positions of power throughout the Silicon Valley," says Thenmozhi Soundarajan of Equality Labs. Vast majority of Indian-Americans in Silicon Valley support India's Islamophobic Prime MInister Narendra Modi. Modi held a huge rally at a large venue in Silicon Valley where he received a rousing welcome in 2015.

Caste vs Race in America:

Contrary to The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) that includes discrimination based on caste, most Indian-Americans argue that race is not caste . Dating back to 1969, the ICERD convention has been ratified by 173 countries, including India. California’s lawsuit reinforces that caste is race. It will now make it harder for companies to ignore caste discrimination. While the US has no specific law against the Indian caste system, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed the lawsuit against Cisco using a section of America’s historic Civil Rights Act which bars race-based discrimination. Here is an excerpt of an article published in on the lawsuit recently:

"In October 2016, two colleagues informed John Doe, a principal engineer at Cisco, that his supervisor, Sundar Iyer, had told them that he (Doe) was from the “Scheduled Castes” and had made it to the Indian Institute of Technology via affirmative action. “Iyer was aware of Doe’s caste because they attended IIT at the same time,” said the case. The suit says that, when confronted by Doe, Iyer denied having disclosed his caste. In November 2016, Doe contacted Cisco’s HR over the matter. Within a week of doing so, Iyer reportedly informed Doe he was taking away Doe’s role as lead on two technologies. Iyer also removed team members from a third technology that Doe was working on and reduced his role to that of an independent contributor and he was isolated from his colleagues, the lawsuit says. In December 2016, Doe filed a written complaint with HR on the matter."


Caste discrimination is rampant among Indian-Americans and NRIs (Non-resident Indians) in the United States with 67% of low caste Indians reporting being victims of such discrimination in workplace. Muslims also face employment discrimination in some of the workplaces dominated by Indian managers. California state has filed a lawsuit against Silicon Valley tech giant Cisco Systems alleging caste discrimination.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Bigotry Bedevils Silicon Valley Indian Restaurant

India Ranked as Most Racist in the World

Indians Admire Israel and Hitler

Caste Apartheid in India

Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India

Who Killed Karkare?

Procrastinating on Hindutva Terror

India's Guantanamos and Abu Ghraibs

Hindutva Government in Israeli Exile?

Growing US-India Military Ties Worry Pakistan

The 21st Century Challenges For Resurgent India

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Saturday, May 8, 2021

America's New Green Deal: Will Biden Ban Burgers?

President Joseph R. Biden's climate policy has recently triggered rumors in right-wing American media of a potential burger ban in America. Such speculations about beef ban have been categorically denied by Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, there are reasons to believe that the Biden focus on renewable energy alone will not be enough to achieve his ambitious targets. The current food production methods, particularly the beef industry, will also have to be fundamentally redesigned to meet Biden's climate goal of 50-52% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Other industrial processes that will need fundamental rethink to reduce emissions include production of cement, steel and plastics. Dealing with these challenges will require a lot of innovation and new technologies. It presents an opportunity for technology entrepreneurs to reshape the world yet again.  

Meatless Meat Products

Impact of Meat Production:

Animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. Relatively large animals like buffaloes, cows and pigs are raised in huge numbers to cater to meat and dairy demand. These animals emit methane gas which is a powerful pollutant that is much more potent than carbon dioxide. Almost 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock, with cattle making up about two-thirds of that. Livestock farming also requires a lot of land, a significant cause of deforestation in places like Brazil’s Amazon. 

What is making the situation worse is that the demand for meat and dairy is rising in large developing countries like China, India and Pakistan. It is putting greater pressure on the environment and making it difficult to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times. 

Alternative Meats:

Several technology companies are working on plant-based and cell-based meats to offer a climate-friendly alternative to beef, chicken and pork. Plant-based meats from companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are already producing and shipping in significant quantities. 

Other technology companies are working on cell-based meats grown in large vats from real animal cells. These companies include San Francisco-based Eat Just and Berkeley-based Memphis Meats, just to name a few.  In a recently published book entitled "Billion Dollar Burger", author Chase Purdy detailed his findings on lab-grown meats. Here is an except from the book:

"By harvesting animal cells and quite literally growing them into fat and muscle tissue inside industrial bioreactors, humans have figured out how to create the exact same meats we’ve eaten for more than half a million years. In doing so, those scientists hope to enable us to sidestep the need to slaughter billions of animals annually, and theoretically, in time, eliminate the need for an industrial farming system that pumps an alarming amount of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s warming atmosphere each year. Scientists agree that animal agriculture is responsible for about 14 percent of greenhouse greenhouse gas emissions. Fully wrapping our heads around the impact of the animal agriculture system we’ve always known is mind-bogglingly difficult. Lots of scientists attempt to measure the full environmental footprint of animal agriculture, and almost all of them have run into fierce sets of critics who challenge their methodologies and motives. Did the scientist measure the life cycle of a single animal and then multiply those data to represent its specific sector? Did they include data on the energy used to grow, manage, and transport the feed grain for cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals? How about factoring in deforestation to make room for grazing? Or the long impact of water pollution from nitrous oxide in manure?"

Industrial Processes:

The focus of most of the governments' climate policies has so far been on switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. A quick look at common industrial processes like cement, steel and plastic production shows that these processes are major contributors to global warming.  Cement and steel production each contributes 8% of global greenhouse emissions.  All of these materials are essential for modern construction and manufacturing industries. 

Cement production contributes greenhouse gases both directly through the production of carbon dioxide when calcium carbonate is thermally decomposed, producing lime and carbon dioxide, and also through the use of energy, particularly from the combustion of fossil fuels. Similarly, steel-making requires the use of coal to remove oxygen from iron oxide ore. This process emits large amounts of carbon dioxide. Plastics, extracted from oil, are used to make a huge range of products today. Extraction and transportation of oil and production of plastics all produce large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Changing the production processes of widely used materials like cement, plastics and steel poses a major technological challenge. Among the methods proposed for reducing carbon emissions from these processes is carbon capture...both point carbon capture and direct air capture. Here's an excerpt of Bill Gates' recent book entitled "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster" on climate-friendly industrial processes for cement, steel and plastics: 

"One approach is to take recycled carbon dioxide—possibly captured during the process of making cement—and inject it back into the cement before it’s used at the construction site. The company that’s pursuing this idea has several dozen customers already, including Microsoft and McDonald’s; so far it’s only able to reduce emissions by around 10 percent, though it hopes to get to 33 percent eventually. Another, more theoretical approach involves making cement out of seawater and the carbon dioxide captured from power plants. The inventors behind this idea think it could ultimately cut emissions by more than 70 percent. Yet even if these approaches are successful, they won’t give us 100 percent carbon-free cement. For the foreseeable future, we’ll have to count on carbon capture and—if it becomes practical—direct air capture to grab the carbon emitted when we make cement. For pretty much all other materials, the first thing we need is plenty of reliable clean electricity. Electricity already accounts for about a quarter of all the energy used by the manufacturing sector worldwide; to power all these industrial processes, we need to both deploy the clean energy technology we already have and develop breakthroughs that let us generate and store lots of zero-carbon electricity inexpensively. And soon we’ll need even more power, as we pursue another way to reduce emissions: electrification, which is the technique of using electricity instead of fossil fuels for some industrial processes. For example, one very cool approach for steelmaking is to use clean electricity to replace coal. A company I’m following closely has developed a new process called molten oxide electrolysis: Instead of burning iron in a furnace with coke, you pass electricity through a cell that contains a mixture of liquid iron oxide and other ingredients. The electricity causes the iron oxide to break apart, leaving you with the pure iron you need for steel, and pure oxygen as a by-product. No carbon dioxide is produced at all. This technique is promising—it’s similar to a process we’ve been using for more than a century to purify aluminum—but like the other ideas for clean steel it hasn’t yet been proven to work at an industrial scale. Clean electricity would help us solve another problem too: making plastics. If enough pieces come together, plastics could one day become a carbon sink—a way to remove carbon rather than emit it. "   


Climate change is a major challenge for humanity. It goes beyond energy production and consumption. Areas that account for bulk of greenhouse emissions include production of food, cement, plastics and steels. Dealing with these challenges will require a lot of innovation and new technologies. It presents an opportunity for technology entreprenrurs to reshape the world yet again.  

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Electric Vehicle Policy

Nuclear Power in Pakistan

Pakistan Cement Production

Pakistan's Response to Climate Change

Massive Oil and Gas Discovery in Pakistan: Hype vs Reality

Renewable Energy for Pakistan

Digital BRI: China and Pakistan Building Fiber, 5G Networks

LNG Imports in Pakistan

Growing Water Scarcity in Pakistan

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ownership of Appliances and Vehicles in Pakistan

Pakistan Meat Industry

Pakistan Among Top Food Producing Countries

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network