Asian City’s will double in the next two decades. This means a yearly increase in populations over 40 million each and every year.
The Biggest opportunities for entrepreneurs and the biggest challenges for the Asian countries will be in the following categories:
- Sustainable Food Developments
- Realiable Clean Water Sources
- Development in Rapid Affordable Housing
- Transportation Demands
A clear understanding of today’s challenges of consumption and production systems will provide us with some insight into the solutions.
At the top of my list is Energy.
“ If everyone consumed as much energy as the average Singaporean and U.S. resident, the world’s oil reserves would be depleted in 9 years.”
– WWF Energy Report 2050
Almost everything we consume or produce requires some source of energy. Most essentials of life depend on it. Water needs energy and waste needs energy disposal and housing and infrastructure takes up the majority of energy resources.
Cities exert the highest demand for energy resources. Energy security presents itself as the big determining factor for sustainable development. The growth curve goes parallel with the energy demand/supply which correlates together.
Cities use 75% of all of the available resources and account for over 67% of the greenhouse gas emission (World Energy Outlook 2008).
Goods and services needed within a city are generally produced outside the city, and often in other countries. Urban centres thus rely on the supply of natural resources from around the planet.
The future of thes Asian economies depends on how they deal with the demand for energy and ecological resources.
According to the World Bank (1992) we can identify three levels of environmental problems in urban areas, each of which corresponds to different levels of economic development:
– Poverty related issues such as slums, inadequate infrastructure etc.;
– Industrial pollution related issues such as air, water and soil pollution;
– Mass production and consumption related issues such as large scale pollution, solid waste, etc.
Some of the key environmental and social challenges associated with urban development are un-proportionally high energyconsumption, a high level of greenhouse gas emissions, a vast ecological footprint, high resource consumption (water, food) and large infrastructure costs aggravated by urban sprawl, the growth of slums and the lack of livelihood opportunities.
Asia especially is witnessing a rapid urbanization and a fast rise in the above mentioned consequences. This is a tremendous challenge for Asia’s governments, which are often not equipped with tools to respond to this fast-paced development.
According to the forecast of the International Energy Agency (2006), the world will need almost 60 per cent more energy in 2030 than in 2002 to meet its demand. Most of this demandincrease will come from non-OECD countries. Under the current business as-usual scenario, energy use in Asia will increase 112 per cent by 2030.
China’s energy consumption is one of the fastest growing with an annual increase of 11.2 per cent, and it has surpassed the US as the world’s largest energy consumer (BP, 2011).
Today, fossil fuels supply over 80 per cent of primary energy globally. But as we know they are finite resources that will be depleted in the near future.
Asian cities are on the path of economic growth as well as a fast population growth, both of which will increase the demand for energy and resources.
Most of Asia’s growth today is fuelled by fossil energies such as coal, oil and gas. Import dependency and soaring prices of fossil fuels are threatening the emergent growth of Asia’s cities.
Investment in the energy sector will pay massive dividends in the coming decades. This is one industry I will be keeping a close eye on and putting a lot of strategic investment in these developing Asian economies.
“We know the problems…. and we know the solution; sustainable development. The issue is the political will.”
–Tony Blair, ex-Prime Minister of Britain