Abstract: Demographic evolution and the resultant changes in energy consumption patterns have significant implications for carbon emissions in China and India. This paper reviews the evidence on the interrelationship between demo-graphic changes, energy use and emissions for the two countries and finds urbanization and changes in household energy consumption to have a significant effect on emissions. However, national climate policies in China and India do not appear to have taken explicit note of the interrelationship and its effects. Pointing out that climate policies in both countries are still evolving, the paper argues for greater policy emphasis on residential and household consumption patterns as opposed to the present focus on energy use by industry. It further argues that de-linking energy intensity from carbon intensity is likely to be difficult for both countries, as cheaper prices of carbon-intensive fuels such as coal can discourage households, particularly low-income urban families, from substituting them with more expensive cleaner fuels.
Keywords: climate change, demography, urbanization, emission, energy intensity, coal, China, India
Dr Amitendu Palit is Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead (Trade and Economic Policy) at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) in the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is an economist specializing in international trade policies, regional economic developments, comparative economic studies and the political economy of public policies. He worked with the Government of India for several years, his longest period of service in one role being in the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, India. Before joining ISAS in April 2008, he was with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), a leading economic policy research institute and think-tank in Delhi. His current research focuses on the economic and political implications of India’s integration with the Asia-Pacific region, the impact of mega-regional trade agreements and various determinants of external trade and integration policies of China and India. His books include The Trans Pacific Partnership, China and India: Economic and Political Implications (2014; Routledge, UK), China India Economics: Challenges, Competition and Collaboration (2011; Routledge) and Special Economic Zones in India: Myths and Realities (2008; Anthem Press; co-authored). He has also edited several books and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. He is a columnist for India’s well known financial daily, Financial Express, and a regular contributor to the China Daily. He appears regularly as an expert on the BBC, Bloomberg, Channel News Asia, CNBC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Doordarshan (India) and All-India Radio.
Cite this article
Dr Amitendu Palit
Are climate policies in China and India responsive to demographic changes?
Journal of China in Comparative Perspective
Vol.2 Issue 2. 2016, p64-78