July 20, 2006

In recognition of the impact China’s and India’s quest for sustainable development will have on the world’s energy markets and the global environmental outlook, the Atlantic Council of the United States undertook a major project in 2000 to conduct a dialogue among prominent experts in China, India, Japan and the United States. This dialogue was to address some of the more significant problems facing China and India due to the existing and increasing level of air pollution that will accompany rapidly growing energy consumption.

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In 2000, both countries were concerned about security of supply, as well as the impact of price levels and price volatility on balance of payments and economic growth. Per capita consumption of energy in China was only one-sixth of that in the OECD countries, and one-twelfth of the OECD level in India.

In the course of the multi-year project, particular emphasis was given to developments in the electric power and urban transportation sectors. In both China and India, per capita consumption of energy for electricity and for transportation remains extremely low by developed world standards, and the energy requirements of these sectors were seen as accounting for over 75 percent of the total increase in projected energy usage, with electricity alone accounting for over 50 percent.

Following preliminary consultations in Beijing, Tokyo and New Delhi in December 2000, a first quadripartite seminar was held in New Delhi in April 2002 and a second in Beijing in February 2003. These seminars provided a forum for the exchange of ideas and the development of close relations that laid the foundations for the July 2003 policy paper and its recommendations. Participants were well informed on existing policies and activities and focused on identifying specific recommendations to accelerate the existing efforts to improve the environmental quality linked to energy consumption.