Energy demand in China will continue to grow as the nation steps up to power the economic growth up to 2025 – when its capital intensive industrialization approaches completion. At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions will also increase at a high rate – due to the country’s coal-dominated energy mix.
China possesses the unique combination of being a developing country, while having a high economic growth rate and a large growing population. As the economy grows and living standards increase, a resultant spike in energy consumption is inevitable – placing its energy security issues at the crux.
In lieu of the environmental impact of its energy use, China is expected to continue to work together with the international community for global climate security. Lead author Dr. Jiahua Pan, from the Research Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said, “In this regard, China will need to consider how to convert its pattern of growth to a low carbon economy, which is, emitting less carbon while striving for a higher living standard through achieving greater economic growth.
Dr. Pan added, “As a developing country, energy security would take priority over climate security, but the twin issues of high energy security and low greenhouse gases emissions – when properly managed – can reinforce one another.”
The challenge faced as a result of energy and climate securities are not cost-free – in addition, consumer behavior and institutions can be the major constraints in inducing low-carbon alternatives. However, in light of both energy and climate security concerns, promoting low carbon development is critical for sustainable development in China and this would also contribute to global climate change mitigation.
Co-author Xuedu Lu of Tsinghua University’s Department of Environmental Science and Engineering said, “This report illustrates the need for a deeper study of the key drivers and constraints in China’s energy policy – including the interactions between the country’s future prospects of economic growth, energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.”
This paper is published in China & World Economy (85- 97, Vol. 14, No. 6, 2006). Media wishing to receive the PDF study of the research paper or to interview the authors should contact Alina Boey, Public Relations Asia.
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