Last week, I attended a meeting with President Obama, during which he addressed climate change and the urgent need to develop and implement sustainable solutions. He listed the steps that his administration has taken to move the United States towards a greener, cleaner future—including tighter EPA regulations on power plant carbon emissions, ratcheted fuel efficiency standards, and stricter requirements for energy efficiency in buildings. Then, he emphasized the fate-determining elephant in the room: unless China and India get aggressive about climate action soon, nothing that America does really matters.
By 2050, the world’s energy consumption is projected to increase by over 50%, driven primarily by growth and increasing prosperity and China and India. Together, the Dragon and Elephant are projected to account for approximately half of the world’s energy consumption by 2040 (China is currently adding 100 GW of new energy infrastructure each year, the equivalent of the UK’s total annual energy usage.)