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World Economic and Social Survey 1997

Trends and Policies in the World Economy

image of World Economic and Social Survey 1997

Authoritative and reliable, the Survey is a detailed assessment of the state of the world’s economic and social situation. Its forecasts for the upcoming year and lucid description of national and international economic policies, emerging issues and trends make it ideal for those engaged in international trade. As a special focus in this year’s edition, the Survey addresses four long-term issues of importance to the international community: the economics of the resurgent global tuberculosis crisis, how the international arms trade has changed since the end of the Cold War, recent trends in international travel as a dimension of world economic integration and prospects for global emissions of CO2 under different outlooks for policy and technical change.

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Confronting the CO2 emissions problems

Energy use is central to economic growth, but also to social issues that affect sustainable development, such as poverty, access to social services, environmental quality and global warming. Today’s world is characterized by a rapidly rising energy demand, most notably in the rapidly growing developing countries. As people have become richer and more numerous, their demand for the services of energyusing capital and end-use durables, such as automobiles and electrical appliances, has mushroomed. Providing adequate energy supplies and services to meet these growing needs, while at the same time safeguarding the environment, poses a major challenge to policymakers worldwide. At present, about 7.3 billion tons of oil equivalent (toe) of fossil fuels are consumed annually. On average, over three quarters of these fuels are carbon, which is being emitted into the atmosphere. If nothing is done to change current energy consumption patterns and fuel mix, it is likely that carbon emissions will double in 25-30 years, and treble in 45-50 years, with possible consequences of climate change. What is needed today is a global recognition that current energy patterns are leading the world down a path that is unsustainable. Slowing the growth of carbon dioxide (C02) emissions into the atmosphere is clearly essential.

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