The world's human population is undergoing a transition from being largely rural to urban. By 2008, the global urban population will be, for the first time in history, greater than 50% (United Nations Population Fund 2007). As such, urban growth and accompanying changes with urbanization are increasingly being recognized as one of the critical development issues of the twenty-first century.1

Energy use and related issues of poverty, health, carbon emissions, etc. are high on popular, international and academic agendas (Arrow 2007' Gore 2006' The Stern Review 2006' United Nations Development Programme 2007) . Energy supply and consumption have been linked to a large spectrum of development concerns including sustainable development, industrial development, air and atmosphere pollution and climate change (United Nations 2006a).

1 Due to this recognition, several international research and academic institutions have begun urbanization research programs and projects including, inter alia, the International Human Dimension Programme's (IHDP) Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC) project, the Global Carbon Project's (GCP) Urban and Regional Carbon Management (URCM) project, the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Cities and Biodiversity: Achieving the 2010 Biodiversity Target, the United Nations University's (UNU) Sustainable Urban Futures (SUF) Programme, the Alliance for Global Sustainability's (AGS) new forum on 'New Thinking on Urban Futures', and the Third World Academy of Sciences' (TWAS) Cities, Science and Sustainability project.

With its large population and rapidly rising economic wealth, the Asia-Pacific region has become an important environmental focal point for both consumption of resources and generation of emissions at the local, regional and global scales. This region includes several large and growing economies of differing per capita incomes. The region's population is expected to grow 25% over the next 25 years to reach almost 2.5 billion (United Nations 2006b) . Predicted economic growth (year 2006 through year 2010) for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (5.6%-6.5% annually) is higher than that for the world (3.1-3.5%), USA (2.5-3.5%) and Japan (1.2-2.8%). China )s forecasted annual growth (6.6-8.6%) is more than double the world average during the same period (The Economist Intelligence Unit 2006) . Due largely to rapid economic growth, under business as usual scenarios, energy use in ASEAN and East Asia will at least double over the next 20-30 years (Aldhous 2005; ASEAN 2002; International Energy Agency (IEA) 2006).

Urbanization itself accounts for a vast amount of energy resources. First, buildings can account for 40-60% of total urban energy consumption. Second, cities are centres of resource consumption including food, etc. Third, transporting goods and services typically account for about 25% of energy consumption and may increase during the shift from rural to urban lifestyles (Schurr et al. 1979). Finally, with lower percentages of the population engaged in agricultural activities and the need to supply food to larger non-agricultural populations, primary sector activities become more resource and energy intensive (Jones 1991).

Interestingly, the relationship between urbanization and energy supply and consumption has been less studied (for exceptions see Dhakal 2004) Jones 1991) Shen et al. 2005). Importantly, there has been a lack of comparative studies of urbanization, energy supply and consumption and rising incomes.2

One pathway for examining the relationships between urbanization, rising incomes and energy supply and consumption is to focus on energy transitions. Energy transitions are a change from one state of an energy system to another one, for example from comparatively low levels of energy use relying on non-commercial, traditional, renewable fuels to high levels of energy use relying on commercial, modern, fossil-based fuels (Gruebler 2004) . Energy transitions have been historically documented for the USA (Marchetti 1988; Melosi 1985), but these transitions have been examined over either time or wealth. Comparative studies of this type have demonstrated the differences between energy transitions among economies developing at different points in time (Marcotullio and Schulz 2007). We now need to understand better the role of urbanization in energy transitions.

What is the relationship between urbanization and energy transitions? Do the relationships that held through the history of the developed world still hold for currently developing nations? This chapter focuses on these questions by comparing energy transitions among a select set of nations (USA, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam) in an attempt to outline energy transitions and identify differences in transition experiences.

The second section of the chapter presents the perspectives used in the analyses. Thereafter, the third section presents the data sources, the analyses performed and the claims that guide the research. The fourth section compares the urbanization trends between

2 Dhakal (2004) provides one of the first comparative studies of urban energy use focusing on Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai. As excellent as this study is, its focus is on current differences and not historical trajectories.

the sample economies. Then in the fifth section, the chapter shifts to focus on the results of comparisons of energy transitions over income, time and urbanization levels. In the sixth section we discuss the results and in the seventh section we provide limits and caveats to the findings. In the eighth and last section we conclude with policy recommendations.

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