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China Must Conserve Energy Or Pay Huge Price

Without effective energy conservation, China cannot sustain its supplies over the long term and will have to pay huge costs in environmental pollution, said analysts from the International Energy Agency (IEA) at a presentation of its World Energy Outlook 2004 report.

Noe van Hulst, director of long-term cooperation and policy analysis for the IEA, said that booming industrial production in China is driving up its energy demands and emissions. If business continues as usual, oil imports will soar from around 2 million barrels a day at present to almost 10 million barrels a day by 2030.

A sound industrial policy that focuses on energy efficiency and conservation could lower that forecast by 12 percent, said Hulst.

Dai Yande, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission's Energy Research Institute, said growth in demand is inevitable, since current per capita energy consumption is only half of the world average.

If the current consumption trend continues, China may use the equivalent of 3.2 billion tons of coal by 2020, almost double its energy consumption last year, according to the institute.

With an energy conservation system, that figure could be reduced to 2.4 billion tons of coal equivalent -- a level that China can afford, said Dai.

Of the 1.7 billion tons of coal equivalent that China used last year, at least 400 million tons could have been saved if more stringent conservation efforts had been made, said Dai.

Since the onset of the serious energy supply shortage last year, the central government has made energy conservation and efficiency a strategic priority, but Dai said more effort must be made to implement programs.

(China Daily November 2, 2004)

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