nicant commitments to cut carbon emissions.Crucially, Chinese leaders recently suggestedthat they might be willing to make a climatecommitment. Analysts at the Energy ResearchInstitute, a leading Chinese government think tank, suggest that China could cut its currentemissions growth rate by hal through 2020,and rom that level reduce absolute emissionsby one-third by 2050. This scenario would put within reach a global goal o stabilizing the at-mospheric concentration o carbon dioxide be-low 500 parts per million. Such a commitment would represent a proound shit in China’sposition, and it could be pivotal in reducingthe worst risks o climate change.
Thus, a path can be glimpsed to breakingthe suicide pact and achieving a bilateral break-through, i Chinese and American leaders andpolicy makers can fnd a deeper understandingo energy realities; grasp the need or immediateaction to reduce carbon emissions; and developa new, non-treaty-based approach to reachingan international agreement—and eventually even a post-Kyoto global climate accord.
A Bo Amcas
What i the Chinese used energy like Ameri-cans? Global energy use would double, andve more Saudi Arabias would be needed justto meet oil demand. China itsel would pro-duce six times as much coal as it does today.Many observers ear that this is exactly what will happen. China has tied the UnitedStates or the dubious distinction o being thelargest national source o greenhouse gas emis-sions, producing more than 18 billion tons o carbon dioxide per year. China’s population ismore than our times that o the United States,though it is growing more slowly (see gure 1). Ater decades o aggressive and unprecedentedenergy and population policies that dramati-cally reduced emissions growth, Chinese en-ergy demand has this decade surged one-thirdaster than the economy.No one can deny that the United Stateshas created ar more climate pollution thanChina. Since the beginning o the IndustrialRevolution, the United States has produced1,150 billion tons o carbon rom ossil uels,compared to China’s 310 billion tons. The av-erage Chinese produces just one-th as muchcarbon dioxide as the average American. Still,there is no argument even rom Chinese lead-ers that China’s rapid economic expansionposes a major threat to the global environmentcommensurate with America’s continued highconsumption rates. China maintains that cli-mate action should be taken on the basis o “dierentiated responsibility.” This conceptmeans that the nations that grew rich burninglots o ossil uel should take stronger action, while rapidly developing nations also share theresponsibility to act.
Suppy a dma
Reaching this type o mutual accommoda-tion needs to start with an understanding o the two countries’ baseline energy consump-tion. China today uses 65 exajoules o energy compared with 100 exajoules or the UnitedStates. Energy demand in each country isorecast to grow to 120–150 exajoules by themiddle o this century. Both reducing demandand changing the mix o energy supply sources will be crucial to climate protection.The structure o energy demand in the twoeconomies could not be more dierent (gure2). Industry takes over two-thirds o China’senergy supply and only one-third o America’s.The Chinese burn about 10 percent o theirenergy as uel or transport, while Americansconsume almost 30 percent or transport.The Chinese use 20 percent o energy in theirbuildings, compared with almost 40 percentor Americans. China in many respects re-mains a developing country with a per capitagross domestic product and energy use severaltimes lower than those o the United States.Energy intensity—the amount o energy used per unit o economic output—declineddramatically in China rom 1980 through2000 but has increased just as dramatically during the past decade. An explosion in theproduction o energy-intensive materials such
is a leadingexpert on energy and climateat the Carnegie Endowment orInternational Peace. Based inthe Washington, D.C. ofce, heleads Carnegie’s wor in thesefelds, collaborating closelyon projects with Carnegie’sMoscow, Beijing, Brussels, andBeirut ofces.Prior to joining the CarnegieEndowment, Chandler spent 35years woring in energy andenvironmental policy. He ispresident o Transition Energyand co-ounder o DEEDChina—private companies withenergy
efciency investments inChina.
He is ounder and ormerdirector o Advanced Interna-tional Studies at the JointGlobal Change ResearchInstitute (Battelle, PacifcNorthwest National Labora-tory), where he was senior stascientist and laboratory ellow.Chandler has been adjunctproessor o internationalrelations in energy andenvironment at the JohnsHopins University since 199.He served as a member o theinternational energy panel othe
President’s Committeeo Advisors on Science andTechnology, and was a leadauthor or the Intergovernmen-tal Panel on Climate Change.