China used 15 percent of the energy consumed in the world last
year to produce 5.5 percent of the global GDP, an untenable
situation that cannot sustain growth, senior Chinese leaders warned
They said that if the current growth pattern based on high
consumption of energy and resources is not changed, the Chinese
economy may begin to falter.
"Serious environmental and resources constraints, irrational
industrial structure, and development gaps between urban and rural
areas as well as between regions make it imperative to accelerate
change of the growth model in pursuit of sustainable development,"
said Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan at the opening session of the China
The two-day forum is organized by the China Development Research
Foundation for high-level discussions among policy-makers,
researchers, and business leaders on China's transition toward a
new development model.
The vice premier promised more reforms of pricing mechanisms and
tax incentives as well as increased efforts to encourage energy
saving and environmental protection.
Ma Kai, minister of the National Development and Reform
Commission, said: "The overall growth of the Chinese economy is
inspiring, but one of the worries is that we have paid too dear an
environmental and resources price for such growth."
The economy grew by 10.7 percent last year while profits soared
and inflation stayed low; but, low efficiency in use of energy and
resources is still a problem, Ma pointed out.
The country's GDP reached US$2.16 trillion last year, about 5.5
percent of the world's total GDP. At the same time, the country
accounted for about 15 percent of the world's energy consumption,
using 30 percent of the steel and 54 percent of the cement.
The reasons for low energy efficiency include accelerated
industrialization and urbanization, energy and resource-intensive
production during the course of economic globalization, and the
extensive growth pattern of the national economy, according to
"We are keenly aware that if the country's growth pattern is not
changed as soon as possible, though the Chinese economy can
maintain rapid growth for a period, it will not sail well and sail
far," warned Ma.
Participants at the forum also emphasized the need for China to
focus more on boosting domestic demand, because China's rapid
economic growth has so far largely been fuelled by sizzling export
and investment growth.
Stephan Roach, chief economist of Morgan Stanley, said a
successful re-balancing of the economy is needed if the nation is
to reduce pollution generated by high-energy consuming
(China Daily March 19, 2007)