The energy requirements of a developed world
Arto Olaizola, Ignacio
Lago Aurrecoechea, Rosa María
Bueno Mendieta, Gorka
Bermejo Gómez de Segura, Roberto Juan
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Energy for sustainable development 33 : 1-13 (2016)
Through history, special attention has been paid to the study of the relationship between the energy use of a country and its level of development. While the interest of this research area is unquestionable, the energy indicators commonly used (e.g. total primary energy) are problematic. In the current context of globalization, the energy used by a country is not anymore a suitable indicator for measuring the total energy requirements associated with its level of development; the significant variable is the energy consumed worldwide to produce the goods and services demanded by that country, i.e. its energy footprint. In this study, we compare the human development index of 40 countries with their total primary energy demand and total primary energy footprint for the period 1995-2008. The results show that the total primary energy demand underestimates the energy required to maintain a high level of development, since a significant part of the energy used by emerging countries is being increasingly devoted to sustain the welfare of developed countries by means of international trade. We also find that the minimum total primary energy footprint per capita to achieve a high level of development is 33% higher than current world's per capita energy use. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of International Energy Initiative.