How can energy shortage be blamed on China?

Sep 16, 2005 02:00 AM

by Zhang Guobao

China's energy production and consumption has become the focus of world attention. In 2004, China's net crude oil import was 117 mm tons, accounting for 6.31 % of the volume traded worldwide. China supplies 94 % of the energy it needs and is only 6 % dependent on overseas market.
Per capita primary energy consumption in China is 1.08 tons oil equivalent, about 66 % of world average, which stands at 1.63 tons, 13.4 % of America's 8.02 tons, 26.7 % of Japan's 4.03 tons and 28.1 % of Britain's 3.82 tons. China has a per capita installed capacity of 0.3 KW, about 10 % of America's three KW. China's crude oil import makes up 6.31 % of world trade and is 23 % of America's import and 56 % of Japan's.

Some people attribute the hike of international oil prices in 2004 to the growth of crude oil consumption in emerging countries like China and India. This opinion fails to truly reflect the situation of international energy markets.
China is a developing country. Its basic principle of energy development is to rely on domestic resources and make prioritising saving and efficiency the prime task of its energy policy. China issued the Law on Conservation of Energy in 1997. From 1978 to 2004 China's 4.8 % average annual growth of energy consumption sustained a 9.4 % average annual economic growth. From 1990 to 2004, energy consumption for every ten thousand yuan of GDP in China has decreased by 45 %.

China's energy consumption dependence on other countries is rather small and the world has no reason to overreact over China's energy consumption growth. Meanwhile the international community should respect China's right to development and the Chinese people's desire for getting rid of poverty and living a well-off civilized life. The development of China's economy and energy also brings great business opportunity to the world and becomes a driving force of world economy.
In light of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, China has studied out a medium and long-term plan for energy development.

The plan can be summarized as:
-- prioritising energy saving with efficiency as foundation;
-- diversified development with coal as basis;
-- relying on domestic resources while exploring overseas;
-- integrated planning of urban and rural areas as a whole and rationalizing structure;
-- relying on science and technology and exploring new system;
-- protecting environment and ensuring security.
The medium and long-term plan stresses adjusting energy structure, accelerating development of nuclear power, renewable energies and vigorously developing hydropower.

The National People's Congress has adopted the Law on Renewable Energies, which provides legal guarantee for the development of renewable energy. According to the plan, China would increase the proportion of renewable energy in the primary energy consumption from current 7 % to 15 % in 2020, substitute fossil energy by 400 mm tons coal equivalent, reduce carbon dioxide discharge by 1 bn tons and sulphur dioxide discharge by more than 7 mm tons.
China would continue to stick to expanding the opening up policy in developing energy and ensuring energy security, strengthen energy cooperation with other countries.

The solution to China's energy issue needs relying on domestic resources and expanding exchange and cooperation with other countries.
The Chinese government is willing to strengthen and deepen dialogue and cooperation with other countries, international organizations and multinational companies in the energy area, on the principle of mutual benefit, win-win result, business operation, government coordination, broad cooperation, diversified development, sincerity and enhancing communication.

This article was written by Zhang Guobao, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Source: People’s Daily Online
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