China's economy is vulnerable to the difficulties posed by soaring international oil prices, currently fluctuating around US$60 per barrel.
According to Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, the best way to cope is by improving energy efficiency and developing alternative energy resources.
Per one unit of GDP, China consumes considerably more energy resources than Japan. Experts estimate that if it could use energy as efficiently as Japan, China would not have to increase its energy demand in the next 60 years.
According to Chen Mian, professor of the University of Petroleum, depending on market forces, energy efficiency can only be improved by 20 percent. So the government should take the crucial leading role in improving energy efficiency by introducing a series of policies concerning production, consumption and technologies, to ensure energy will be used efficiently by both producers and consumers, he said.
Ethanol gasoline, coal-liquefied oil and methanol gasoline are all alternative choices under experimentation in China. Due to the lack of financial, taxation or subsidy supporting polices, these new energy resources cannot be widely used.
(China Daily August 8, 2005)