Impacts of Energy Use Due to Change in Chinese Economy

by Aurora Silva

This is a very interesting article that illustrates the implications o the change of economic structure on the emissions and energy use in China. The Chinese CO2 intensity and energy intensity targets are rather stringent. Reaching the CO2 intensity target is difficult even with the optimistic assumption of fast expansion of renewable energy capacity and fast structural change. The Chinese economy is in a transitional state: Chinese leadership hopes to steer the economic development away from exports and investment and towards serving the Chinese domestic market, increasing the living standard of the Chinese citizenry as well as reducing the environmental impact that the long-enduring high economic growth has caused. In addition to the long-enduring high economic growth has caused. Among the global economies, China is the largest emitter of CO2 emissions and the development of its economic system in the next fifteen years will have great weight in determining cumulative global emissions.

Since the current environmental state of China is rather grim, there was recently an establishment of the 12th five-year plan that has set a target of non-fossil fuels to account for 11% of the primary energy consumption. This plan states that by 2030 CO2 emissions would be cut down significantly. While this plan has clear goals of improving the environment, the authors argue that this policy represents a rather optimistic future that is somewhat ambitious and unattainable. The paper does suggest that a decrease in China’s pollution is possible if the economy shifts entirely. The shift from industry heavy and energy-intensive industries to a strong development in the service sector could potentially reduce the emissions substantially. An important question is what kind of impact these structural changes will have on emissions and energy use and how do these contrast with the emission related targets set by the Chinese leadership for the next decades.

Structural change in Chinese economy: Impacts on energy use and CO2 emissions in the period 2013-2030. []



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