MILAN – Led by Asia, the share of the global economy held by emerging markets has risen steadily over recent decades. For the countries of Asia – especially its rising giants, China and India – sustainable growth is no longer part of a global challenge. Instead, it has become a national growth-strategy issue. This marks a sea change in the global structure of incentives with respect to achieving sustainability.
Over the next few decades, almost all of the world’s growth in energy consumption, urbanization, automobile usage, airline travel, and carbon emissions will come from emerging economies. By mid-century, the number of people living in what will be (by then) high-income economies will rise to 4.5 billion, from one billion today. Global GDP, which currently stands at about $60 trillion, will at least triple in the next 30 years.