07 November 2010

Reality Check from India

President Obama is in India.  Just last week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh explained India's energy challenges:
The challenges faced by most of the emerging economies today are similar. Their domestic sources are often inadequate to meet their growing demand for energy. And developing domestic sources involves huge capital investment. Like other emerging economies, India needs adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices to meet the demand of its rapidly growing economy. Hydrocarbons will continue to be our major source of energy for quite sometime in the future. Most of our requirement of hydrocarbons is met through imports. In India, the demand over the next 10 years will increase by over 40 percent whereas the increase in the supply from the maturing oil-fields is expected to be around 12 per cent. The Indian Government is therefore encouraging national oil companies to pursue equity oil and gas opportunities overseas.
India currently has 400 million people who lack access to electricity (PDF).

India provides an example of a more general situation:  Efforts to address carbon dioxide emissions must do so in the context of (a) continued economic growth, which will be accompanied by (b) rapidly increasing demands for energy, and (c) a world in which energy access is highly inequitable, with commitments to expanding access part of national and international policies. 

Any successful carbon policies will be consistent with (a), (b) and (c) and indeed, will reinforce them.