Third World countries are rapidly increasing energy consumption as they develop their economies. Their consumption of coal, oil, gas, and electricity is expected to triple within the next 30 years, according to the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). This growth in energy consumption could seriously affect the environment, not only in the developing countries, but globally, OTA warns in its recent report Energy in Developing Countries.
Rapid population growth and an accompanying demand for higher living standards are among the factors contributing to increased energy consumption, according to OTA. Also, high-energy consumer appliances have become cheaper and more-readily available, putting many of the developed world's "advantages" into reach of more and more people.
Producing the energy required to meet this increasing demand will have substantial environmental effects, says OTA. While developing countries now consume proportionally less energy per person than industrialized countries do, their expansion is far more rapid. The Third World's share of global carbon-dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is projected to rise from 25% today to 44% in 2025. If the impact of tropical deforestation on carbon-dioxide levels is factored in, developing countries' share in the responsibility for global warming rises substantially, OTA points out.
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