The first ever white paper China issued yesterday on its energy conditions and policies provides a panoramic view of the changes the country has made and the challenges it will face on energy development.
To pursue sustainable economic and social advancement, policymakers must work hard to ensure aggressive enforcement of an energy strategy that emphasizes thrift, cleanness and safety.
As the fastest growing major economy with the world's largest population, China has understandably caught more and more global attention for its increasing appetite for energy. While the price of oil in the international market is set to break $100 a barrel, no one can ignore the growth of China's energy demand.
The new energy report cleared up a number of key points of confusion which have fuelled exaggerated concerns over the impact of China's energy need.
China is now the world's second-largest energy producer and consumer and is also undergoing rapid industrialization.
The experience of developed countries does not allow optimism for the prospect of the global energy supply. If China uses as much energy in per capita terms as developed countries to fulfill its legitimate right of pursuing prosperity and a higher living standard for its people, its 1.3-billion population will surely make the global energy supply too tight.
However, it is important to remember, as the white paper correctly pointed out, that, first, for a long time China has relied largely on domestic energy resources to develop its economy, and the rate of self-sufficiency has been above 90 percent, much higher than that in most developed countries.
Second, though China's energy consumption is growing rapidly, its per-capita energy consumption level is still fairly low. The figures for China's per-capita oil consumption and imports account for only one half and one quarter of the world's average, respectively.
Third, more importantly, China has been and will continue to be keen on energy conservation.
China started energy conservation work in a planned and organized way in the early 1980s and achieved the goal of quadrupling economic growth while only doubling energy consumption by the late 1990s. Now, the country is pressing ahead with the new task to cut the per-unit GDP energy consumption by 20 percent by 2010 compared to 2005.
China's vigorous pursuit of a sustainable energy strategy will make a big difference for its long-term economic growth as well as the global energy prospect.
(China Daily December 27, 2007)