The populous, fast growing emerging economies of Brazil, China, Egypt, India and South Africa face daunting challenges on the energy, environment and climate change fronts. These five countries accounted for 42 per cent of the global population in 2008, but had only 26 per cent of global energy supply. Brazil, China, Egypt and India have
per capita incomes below the global average even in PPP terms; only South Africa has a higher income than the global average. Per capita income grew between 1990 and 2008 at 9.1 per cent in China, 4.7 per cent in India and 2.5 per cent in Egypt. However, in Brazil and South Africa, per capita incomes grew at below the world average. CO2 emissions per unit of energy are lowest for Brazil, way below the global average, reflecting the significant role of hydropower and ethanol in its energy use. China’s energy mix is more CO2 emitting than the global average. The other three countries are around the global average. There is pressure on them to contain their emissions. For this reason, the use of renewable energy sources becomes attractive. This will also help these countries reduce their dependence on energy imports. The paper synthesizes the progress and policies in promoting renewable and clean energy in these counties based on country case studies.