India and China's Energy Policies

Michael T. Klare is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies (a joint appointment at Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst), and Director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS), a position he has held since 1985. Before assuming his present post, he served as Director of the Program on Militarism and Disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. (1977-84).

Professor Klare has written widely on U.S. defense policy, the arms trade, and world security affairs. He is the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004), along with many other books.  He is also the defense correspondent of The Nation, a Contributing Editor of Current History, and has contrbuted to numerous publications.

Michael Klare serves on the board of directors of the Arms Control Association, and the advisory board of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch; he is also a member of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What are they doing right?

Michael Klare:
Well, I don't think that we want to look to them as an example of what they are doing right. China and India have relied even more than we do on coal to supply their energy and coal produces even more carbon dioxide for unit of energy achieved, than oil does. So, that is not something that we want to follow, in fact we need to work with China and India to persuade them not to use coal or if they use coal to use environmentally friendly coal burning technologies, which we are not even using sufficiently in this country. So, coal is not route that we want to go and we don’t want them to use that, because the planet that we will really be in jeopardy if they continue to do that. What troubles me about China and India is that they are going on in automobile buying spree as they are rising middle class goes out and the first thing they want to do is buy car. Now, that is very hard for us in this country to say no cars, we can have cars, you can't have cars, because that is go on increase the pressure on world petroleum’s supplies until we start doing something about our own car addiction and obviously we are not doing anything about that, so they look at us, they see our TV shows, our Hollywood movies and they say “Cars, that is the good life, that is the American way of life, we want that too” and they are going out and buying cars like crazy. China is becoming world’s number 2 auto market after the United States. They are expected to have hundreds of millions of new cars on road over the next 25 years, this will be a disaster and that's what is driving their huge increase in demand for petroleum. It is increase in car ownership and India’s following along and as they buy cars they need more petroleum and because neither China nor India has large domestic reserves of petroleum, they have to go out and get it from the same sources of supply as the United States. And here is the where the problem lies and I have alluded to this earlier they are especially China competing with the United States in this geopolitical struggle for influence in the oil producing areas, just as the United States is trying to ensure access to supplies in places like just as United States seeks to obtain sources of supply in troubled areas like Africa and the Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia, so is China and just as we tried to cement our ties with governments, friendly governments in those areas with supplies of arms. China is doing like wise and they are competing with us, there is arms competition that goes along with the pursuit of oil and this is the sort of thing that I would call them new Great Game like the Great Game that led up to World War I and has made very worried.

Recorded: 3/14/08


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