Worldwatch releases State of the World 2006

By | March 01, 2006
Per capita, if China and India consumed natural resources and discharged pollution equivalent to that of the United States, sustaining those two economies alone would require two planet Earths. This is just one of the many thought-provoking findings released by the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute in the independent research organization's annual world report, State of the World 2006: China and India Hold World in Balance, which became available Jan. 11.

According to research gathered and conducted by Worldwatch Institute, many stabilizing aspects of the world's future hinges on the choices made by India and China during this critical time of growth and development in Asia. The effects of decisions that these two countries will make while on their independent paths to technological advancement and skyrocketing industrial capacities do indeed have global consequences. Among key items on Worldwatch Institute's radar are the growing transportation sectors in China and India, the resources commanded to supply the necessary fuels for these projected markets, and the real concern over the resultant emissions from increased internal combustion mobility of goods, services and people. However, Worldwatch Institute holds firm to its belief that the use and proliferation of biofuels and biofuels technologies will help these population powerhouses down the path of more sustainable growth.
According to Worldwatch Institute's 2006 global report, ethanol and biodiesel use combined provided only 2 percent of the world's transportation fuels in 2004. The global production of ethanol more than doubled since 2000, while biodiesel production in that same time has nearly tripled. Conversely, oil production since 2000 only increased by 7 percent.

Worldwatch Institute also reported that the world's biggest biofuels producers—Brazil, the United States, the European Union and China—all plan to at least double biofuels production outputs within the next 15 years, which appears to be a conservative projection. On top of that, Worldwatch Institute found that the world could theoretically harvest enough biomass to satisfy the entire global demand of transportation fuels by 2050.

Ultimately, Worldwatch Institute's global report called for broad cooperation between China, India, the European Union and the United States to maximize resource efficiencies, and develop new agriculture and energy systems while continuing to pursue participation in the decisions made by China and India. "The rise of China and India is the wake-up call that should prompt people in the United States and around the world to take seriously the need for strong commitments to build sustainable economies," the book concluded. "Viewing this colossal shift in global geopolitics as an opportunity rather than a challenge holds the greatest prospect for ensuring a stable and peaceful 21st century.