Energy supplies to China, India vital: World leaders
The leaders of Australia and Britain joined forces on Monday to warn that the growing energy needs of emerging economic giants India and China represented a key strategic challenge for the years to come.
"The emergence of China and India is making a difference, not only to the issue of globalisation but to the question of how we ensure that those countries can grow sustainably but also meet their energy needs in doing so," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an address to the UK-Australian Leadership Forum in Canberra.
Blair said China was virtually building a new coal-fired power station every month to meet its soaring energy needs.
"(It's) an incredibly rapid rate of development in the energy sector as a result of the need to develop their economy and that is putting pressure on the world's energy supply," he said.
"Exactly the same is happening with India."
Blair said the issue was on the agenda of every policymaker in Europe and around the world, trying to "meet the energy needs of those two emerging economies ... In a world of more scarce energy supply."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, speaking to the same gathering of Australian and British officials and business leaders, said the centre of gravity of the world's middle class was shifting away from Europe and North America to India and China.
"By 2010, 2015, something in the order of four to eight hundred million people will be broadly classed as middle class in both those countries," he said.