SINGAPORE – Asia’s rise is unstoppable. What is stoppable is the steep rise in Asia’s reliance on fossil fuels. Indeed, the decisions to be made by Asia on energy production and use will determine the fate of our planet’s environment.
It is natural for the world to be alarmed by Asia’s growing appetite for energy. If China and India replicate American per capita consumption of fossil fuels, the resulting greenhouse-gas emissions will only accelerate global warming.
But Asians will not accept Western moralizing on energy use. The West industrialized rapidly without worrying about climate change, contributing mightily to the stock of greenhouse gases that has led the world ever closer to the tipping point at which global warming can no longer be halted.
If the West now wants to hold Asian countries responsible for restraining new sources of greenhouse-gas emissions, it must first hold itself accountable for its old stock and current emissions. This is why there is unanimous agreement in Asia, including China and India, that any just solution for climate change demands greater sacrifice from rich Western countries.