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The National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future: Summary of a Meeting
FIGURE 11.1 Annual per capita electricity use rises with the human development index to a maximum at about 4,000 kilowatt-hours. SOURCE: Adapted from Pasternak (2000).
more carbon, according to Lovins. Many companies have been cutting energy intensity—and in some cases absolute emission levels—by 6 to 9 percent a year. “They all make money on it,” Lovins said. Even Japan, which has less than half the energy intensity of the United States, is finding ways in official studies to triple energy productivity
To solve the energy problem, the United States must increase its energy efficiency four- to fivefold, while the developing world grows in such a way that its energy intensity does not increase dramatically, said Steven Chu (Figure 11.2). “The real question is whether the developing countries will follow in the footsteps of the United States, Australia, and Canada,” said Chu. Or will they “leapfrog past the mistakes of the developed world”? The developed world has an obligation to lead the way and to help other nations follow, Chu said. “It is not our birthright to say that we should enjoy a high standard of living and the developing countries should not.”
Several speakers pointed out that stabilizing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will require that carbon emissions be cut to a very low