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Why are some economies experiencing the emergence of energy carriers and consumption patterns at lower levels of income than the developed world and specifically the USA? There are, of course, many different reasons for this outcome. Certainly, technological advances are important. Simply, when now developed world economies were in their developing phase, many new technologies (such as cell phones or automobiles) were not yet innovated.

9 These data do not include, for example, carbon dioxide released due to landcover change and other agricultural activities.

10 The CO2 emission data from Marland et al. include those emissions of bunker fuel for international freight shipping and aviation, which contribute to more than 50% of Singapore's emissions in 2000 (Schulz 2007). While this procedure is justified from the view of total emission accounting it differs from the national responsibility according to IPCC guidelines, which excludes such emissions from national liability. Moreover, Singapore hosts one of the world largest industrial petroleum refining complexes. Much of its industrial sector emissions are waste products due to the refining of crude

011 for export. Those products will be finally consumed for energetic use in other national economies, raising questions of liability for life cycle emissions upstream during fuel production.

Table 3.12a. Comparative energy consumption during similar GDP ranges, by major product (toe/capita).




Petrol, oil and NG





Petrol, oil and NG



South Korea












































Hong Kong






















Table 3.12b. Comparative energy consumption during similar urbanization ranges, by major product (toe/capita).

Table 3.12b. Comparative energy consumption during similar urbanization ranges, by major product (toe/capita).



Petrol, oil and NG





Petrol, oil and NG



South Korea











































c CL

Thailand -*- Malaysia -»- Indonesia -•- Hong Kong Singapore


10 000

15 000 GDP per capita

20 000

25 000

Fig. 3.3. Comparative change in industrial efficiency over GDP per capita, USA and selected Asia-Pacific economies.

Thailand -*- Malaysia -»- Indonesia -•- Hong Kong Singapore


10 000

15 000 GDP per capita

20 000

25 000

30 000

Fig. 3.3. Comparative change in industrial efficiency over GDP per capita, USA and selected Asia-Pacific economies.

0 5000 10 000 15 000 20 000 25 000 30 000 GDP per capita

Fig. 3.4. Comparative changes in carbon emissions by GDP per capita, USA and selected Asia-Pacific economies. [Plate 2]

■ Japan 1960-2000 Philippines 1971-2000 Indonesia 1980-2000 Hong Kong 1971-2000 Malaysia 1971-2000 Thailand 1973-2000 China 1988-2000 Singapore 1971-2000 South Korea 1971-2000

0 5000 10 000 15 000 20 000 25 000 30 000 GDP per capita

Fig. 3.4. Comparative changes in carbon emissions by GDP per capita, USA and selected Asia-Pacific economies. [Plate 2]

Hence, the developing world is benefiting from earlier technological developments and improvements, for example, from electricity and modern energy supplies.

Many of these technologies, however, were developed in different parts of the world and certainly trade of technology and information exchange also play a role in the diffusion of usage. We expect that those economies that are more open are experiencing a sooner emergence of some carriers than those that are not.

There are positive aspects of sooner adoption of energy technologies. Adopting certain carriers can lead to efficiency gains on the part of the economy as well as social benefits. In some cases, scholars have claimed that by using modern technologies at lower levels of income, the developing world can bypass problems experienced by the now developed world (i.e. 'leap-frog' over challenges). This notion suggests that developing countries have the opportunity to 'do it right the first time' by installing clean efficient technology, among other changes (Goldemberg 1998; Ho 2005). This is confirmed by studies that have identified trends of increasing energy efficiency experienced by developing 'late-comers' (Smith 1993).

Indonesia -s- Japan

Malaysia Republic of Korea

Fig. 3.5. Comparative carbon emissions per level of urbanization, USA and selected Asia-Pacific economies. [Plate 3]

The advantages of some of these technologies, the importance of electricity, for example, in terms of both health and social advances cannot be underestimated (Nye 2001).

In other studies, there is evidence that globalization and foreign direct investment (drivers associated with globalization) have facilitated some 'leaf-frogging' in the energy area (Melnik and Goldemberg 2002).11 In the developing Asia-Pacific, there is also some evidence that industries are implementing cleaner production technologies and processes in industry (see, for example, Angel and Rock 2000). In terms of our analyses we catch some of these differences when comparing the experiences of Malaysia, Thailand and China, which are open economies, to those of Japan and South Korea, which have kept trade and foreign direct investment inward flows lower. The former typically experienced sooner development of carriers, while the later had differential results.

Others suggest leap-frogging is dependent upon a host of legal, political and institutional frameworks (Ho 2005). Therefore establishing appropriate conditions for leap-frogging requires a host of abilities including institutional capacity. Certainly, governments in the region have been eager to develop their energy supplies and spread them beyond urban areas, so national policy plays a role also.

Moreover, rapid social acceptance of the technology, in terms of the use of various technologies is also an important factor, among many others, that plays a role in the sooner aspect of current development patterns.

Why then would some economies not experience the sooner aspect of time/space telescoping? Besides the openness to globalization, in the energy arena, there is also the importance of natural endowments in energy transitions. Sachs and Warner (1995) provide an analysis of how during the post-war era, the economic performance of resource-rich countries was weaker than resource-poor economies. Following Matsuyama (1992) they argue that land-intensive economies with open economies will promote agriculture

11 The rapid diffusion of information technologies such as mobile phones is an example of how current technology can be provided by private companies, often under competitive conditions. Mobile phones bypass the large investments needed by traditional copper wire telephone networks.

Fig. 3.5. Comparative carbon emissions per level of urbanization, USA and selected Asia-Pacific economies. [Plate 3]

rather than manufacturing. The move away from manufacturing results in shrinkage in the sector (the Dutch disease) and slower growth. This situation is currently happening in African countries due to increasingly heavy inflows of Chinese investments in primary industries; mining, agricultural and oil (The Economist 2006).

In our study, however, we also found this to be true. The question is does this rapid manufacturing-driven growth depend upon domestic energy resource supplies? Those economies that did not experience the sooner development of energy carriers were city-states (such as Singapore and Hong Kong), which by definition have low resources, or have low levels of the resources. For example, in terms of natural gas and hydro power, South Korea developed these technologies at higher levels of income as compared to the USA (both of which are in low quantities within South Korea). This suggests that the availability, domestically, of the energy supply will play an important role when the economy can begin to develop it as an import-ant carrier. Alternatively, in the case of hydro development in Thailand, the country has large resources, but has met with political opposition against new large hydro power plans and therefore production has been slow (Todoc et al. 2007). In this case, it may have been political influences that helped to bring out results. At the same time, however, in the cases of Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, these economies focused on developing industrial power rapidly and concentrated on the most modern carriers despite the fact that they have low domestic resources (fossil fuels and in the case of South Korea, nuclear power). Hence, the (often poor resource) rapid developers did not necessarily develop domestic energy supplies, even if they had them, particularly if they were not fossil fuels or modern carriers. Rather, it has been the most energy dense sources that nations focus on developing first.

In terms of the timing of significant electricity consumption, only Singapore and Hong Kong were economies that may have developed supplies after those of the USA (and in each case data are not available to fully compare differences). At the same time, no other economy experienced significant consumption levels at income levels higher than those of the USA during its initial electricity consumption periods. This makes sense as increasing electricity and modern energy consumption is part of current development planning.

What does it mean when economies develop energy carriers and consume modern supplies at lower levels of urbanization than that of the USA? There are, at least, two possible explanations for this finding. First, the use of these carriers or consumption patterns could be due to more intensive per capita use and consumption in Asia-Pacific cities than those of the USA or that the use of the carriers and consumption patterns is more widespread (including rural areas) than experienced by the USA. Both notions suggest that urbanization is occurring under different energy conditions. In the past, the developed world's urban growth was significantly altered with changes in and quality of energy sources and consumption patterns. If energy carriers are appearing at lower levels of urbanization, these will arguably place different pressures on urban growth and urban patterns. If what is occurring is the spread of energy supply and use beyond urban areas and therefore lowering the urbanization levels at which significance supply and consumption appears, then it translates into significant advances in rural use. This is seen in some of the countries within the region. For example, Vietnam reported that by the end of 2004, the national power grid reached 900 poor communes. All districts and 90% of communes through the country have electricity (United Nations Development Programme 2007' .12 At the same level of income and urbanization, however, the USA could not boast this claim.

12 This is certainly not true for all countries in the region. In Cambodia, for example, over 92% of the population is dependent on fuel wood as its primary energy source. Rural areas rely almost exclusively on wood for their energy needs (United Nations Development Programme 2007).

Those economies that did not experience this phenomenon include city-states (for obvious reasons) and South Korea and Malaysia for some of the energy carriers. In the latter cases, the results suggest that urbanization may not be proceeding in a more efficient manner than that of the USA, but as economic growth is so rapid, it is overwhelming other patterns. That is, the use of higher quality energy supplies has come later in the urbanization process, but earlier in the wealth generation process. As such, given that different energy sources create different pressures for urban development, we would expect that these economies will not only face different pressures than did the USA, but also face different circumstances than their neighbours.

The results of the faster increases in supply and consumption, particularly for the rapid developers, are not surprising. Energy use and economic development are linked (at least for the initial periods of growth). As countries grow, they use more energy to help organize more complex activities. Faster uptake of energy, however, also comes with increased complexity of management. Rapidly developing countries therefore need to build and manage complex energy systems faster than previously demanded.

Given the rapidity of change, the question whether these economies are keeping up with energy infrastructure is questionable and what impacts this has on energy supply and consumption is not well understood. Studies in rapidly developing Asia suggest that infrastructure development is not keeping up with the demands created through economic growth (Brockman and Williams 1996). Furthermore, given rapid economic growth, trends in environmental impact from lack of infrastructure may lag. For example, a recent study suggests that there is a different relationship between provision of road infrastructure and road transportation fuel consumption and consequent carbon dioxide emissions in developing Pacific Asian economies than in the USA. Essentially, adding kilometres of paved road in rapidly developing Asia countries results in much greater increases in road transportation fuel consumption than it did in the USA. As Asia-Pacific economic growth slows and infrastructure catches up with demand (i.e. overcomes the so-called, 'infrastructure bottleneck'), levels of global emissions from rapidly developing countries may approach patterns set by developed countries including those of the USA (Marcotullio and Williams 2007).

When comparing transition experiences the findings suggest that energy transitions no longer exist for developing countries. That is, the sequential patterns of development, in terms of energy use, are not observable in our sample. Those in the USA have long believed that changes made in supply, from one major source to another, are an obvious improvement - more, better and cheaper energy. Thus, it has been generally accepted that the United States witnessed major shifts in energy sources: from wood and waterpower to coal (or from renewable to non-renewable sources) in the mid-nineteenth century; and from coal to petroleum and natural gas in the early twentieth century. Because of these perceptions, scholars have argued that a 'single-source mentality' developed (Melosi 1985, p. 9). Hence, energy sources have been regarded as competitive rather than complementary meaning that there was 'one best way' that prevailed over each energy era.

For the rapidly developing world, complementarity is more often experienced than competitiveness among supplies, as the findings suggest several different carriers are used simultaneously and that transitions do not follow sequential patterns. Certainly, the slow transition from one energy source to another is not distinguishable. Energy mixes may not be due to energy source scarcity or quality, but due to price, technology, transportation, accessibility to sources, environmental impact, consumer preference and several other economic and non-economic influences. Given that each of the influences has a trajectory of its own, we may no longer expect to see energy transitions as they have occurred in the West. This finding may be the consequence of a change from long waves of development or specific to energy transitions. In either case, the findings question whether long waves of development and historical environmental transitions still exist.

Notwithstanding all these differences, it is exciting to note the lower levels of energy use, intensity and subsequent carbon emissions per capita from the developing world. The reason why this is occurring, however, is not entirely clear. It could be that these economies are simply more efficient and are developing under new technologies, and social systems that facilitate economic growth with lower energy demand. On the other hand, it could be, as explained earlier, due to infrastructure bottlenecks, which once resolved will lead to massive increases in consumption. At the very least, it suggests a reconceptuali-zation of the relationships between energy, urbanization and increasing wealth. A fuller understanding will demand focused comparative studies.

There are planning implications for future planning strategies in these findings. For developing countries, a diverse portfolio of energy sources is not only a better strategy than concentrating on one source, it seems the logical outcome of current conditions. In doing so, economies lower the risks related to price hikes in one area (such as those experienced during the 'oil shocks' of the 1970s) and create more resilient energy systems.

At the same time, as planning an energy system includes strategic decisions, it requires addressing a number of trade-offs associated with choosing dominance in one path over others. In some cases, what the rapid developing world is facing are new choices. For example, when choosing a mix of energy carriers for an economy's growth, relying extensively on liquid fossil fuel sources, because they are currently economical, can ' l ock-in' that economy more quickly than in the past. Civil uses of nuclear technologies for electricity generation are both expensive and complicated and also 'lock-in' an economy to a long-term commitment to this source. In order to balance future requirements to flexible solutions, integrated environmental-energy policies are even more necessary in the developing context than in the developed world.

Planning strategies are based upon predictions of future trends. The idea underlying some energy future predictions is that the previously experienced transitions are stable and long-term trends. For example, the post-war natural gas trends were predicted to rise and overtake those of petroleum, nuclear power is predicted to rise thereafter and this would be followed by fusion, which is predicted to emerge as an important force at the end of the twenty-first century (Marchetti 1988). If developing countries are not using fuels as predicted by the substitution model, these patterns would be less useful in prediction. The study also suggests that time- and space-related effects are important drivers of these emissions. Understanding the development of these drivers and how they change greenhouse gas emissions is crucial for scenario development. Therefore in answer to the call from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these effects should be subject to further study (Nakicenovic and Swart 2000).

Finally, this study implicates the changing susceptibility of energy transitions to planning in general. As mentioned, in the past energy transitions were stable. This may partly be because of the lack of competition between sources. Before 1820 the major fuel source was biomass and up to the 1880s, it was between coal and wood. Now, there are a number of different sources available making the market more complex and the use of fuels more relatively price dependent. As oil prices reach US$100 a barrel or more, or as more roads are built in countries developing their private transportation sector, the use of liquid fossil fuels will be impacted. On the one hand, with increasing prices in one fuel, there are a number of other sources from which to choose (including making liquid fuels from biomass), hence energy use and/or carbon emissions will change. On the other hand, building more roads helps to lock-in carbon intensive practices at lower levels of national income. From this analysis energy planning is more important today and energy use and consumption may show greater response than in the past when traditional structural shift in technologies were more important. Using planning to create sustainable energy transitions is a potential trajectory to the post-fossil fuel urban era (Droege 2004).

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