Velasco-Fernández, R., Ramos-Martín, J. & Giampietro, M. 2015. “The Energy Metabolism of China and India between 1971 and 2010: Studying the Bifurcation.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 41 (1): 1052–66.


This paper presents a comparison of the changes in the energetic metabolic pattern of China and India, the two most populated countries in the world, with two economies undergoing an important economic transition. The comparison of the changes in the energetic metabolic pattern has the scope to characterize and explain a bifurcation in their evolutionary path in the recent years, using the Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM) approach. The analysis shows an impressive transformation of China׳s energy metabolism determined by the joining of the WTO in 2001. Since then, China became the largest factory of the world with a generalized capitalization of all sectors, especially the industrial sector, boosting economic labor productivity as well as total energy consumption. India, on the contrary, lags behind when considering these factors. Looking at changes in the household sector (energy metabolism associated with final consumption) in the case of China, the energetic metabolic rate (EMR) soared in the last decade, also thanks to a reduced growth of population, whereas in India it remained stagnant for the last 40 years. This analysis indicates a big challenge for India for the next decade. In the light of the data analyzed both countries will continue to require strong injections of technical capital requiring a continuous increase in their total energy consumption. When considering the size of these economies it is easy to guess that this may induce a dramatic increase in the price of energy, an event that at the moment will penalize much more the chance of a quick economic development of India.