Saturday, December 5, 2009

Economic growth is good for the world's climate

China and India have an opportunity to change the climate of negotiations, a week before the opening of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen. Continuing economic reforms have been making the economy more energy efficient. Irrespective of whether the planet is warming, or whether CO2 is the cause, between 1992 and 2007, the carbon intensity of the economies of the two Asian giants have declined between 40 (China) and 21% (India) based on the EIA data.

Between 1980 and 2007, the carbon intensity of the Indian economy declined by just 2.3%. But between 1992 and 2007, during the years when economic reforms gathered pace, the decline in carbon intensity has been over 21%.

China, for instance, heads the league of major economies with the highest decline in carbon intensity at 67%, between 1980 and 2007. Although, China’s carbon intensity is 40% more than India’s at present, China’s reforms process started much earlier, and run deeper, consequently it has experienced this magnitude of improvement in carbon intensity.

Globally, however, decarbonisation of the economy has been going on since the past 400 years, as societies moved from fuel wood, to coal, oil and electricity, driven by economic needs, leaving a safer environment in its wake.

No wonder, there is a lot to be gained if China and India take the lead and stand together at the UNFCCC meeting starting in Copenhagen, on Dec 7, 2009. Both the governments have had a number of consultations in preparation for Copenhagen.

For a more detailed discussion on the declining carbon intensity of the economy, you may like to see this note posted on Challenging Climate.

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