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Scientists on China's Energy Production, Consumption
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Some Chinese scientists said at a recent forum that energy consumption kept growing unduely rapidly over past few years in China, where the energy utilization ratio was 10 percentage points lower than the world's advanced criteria.

They believed an independent authorities should be established to intensify energy control, and the structure of energy production and consumption should be upgraded in China.

It was reported that in the 1980-2000 period, China quadrupled its gross domestic product, or GDP, while only doubling energy consumption. But the 2001-2005 period saw energy consumption outpaced GDP. The facts worried the scientists.

According to Wang Dazhong, an expert on nuclear reactor engineering and an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China, as the world's second largest energy producer and consumer, the top coal producer and consumer, the second biggest oil consumer and importer and electricity producer, has an annual per-capita energy consumption of 1.72 tons of standard coal, or 74 percent of the world's average. Considering the large population, however, the nation's total energy consumption remains high.

Wang held that energy development in China was facing four challenges, namely unbalanced supply and demand, unduely fast growth in consumption, low utilization ratio which stood at 33.4 percent and was ten percentage points lower than the world average, and aggravating pollution and arduous task for improving energy efficiency.

Ni Weidou, a specialist on dynamic machinery engineering and an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), revised the challenges to strong demand, shortage of liquid fuel, severe pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and rural energy supply.

Wang Dazhong attributed unduely fast growth in energy consumption to the following facts: rapid growth in the heavy chemical sector and other sectors with high energy consumption, and fast growth in transport and construction sectors with accelerating urbanization.

It was reported that in the 2000-2005 period, the floor space of housing projects increased 244 percent nationwide.

The scientists agreed that efforts should be made to improve social awareness of energy efficiency, with focus on energy saving in transport and construction sectors. They said China should learn from Japan for its energy-gobbling life style.

Ni Weidou believed that from now on to 2050 and even years thereafter, coal will remain the major fuel in China's energy structure.

Ni said modernized use of coal would be a must, with united operation of coal, chemical and power sectors as the development strategy. In the coming three to five years, large demonstration facilities would likely be built for the purpose, and the operation mode would be popularized around 2020, Ni added.

According to Yan Luguang, another CAS academician, the world would enter a stage of energy restructuring in the 21st century, and China should follow suit. A regime of sustainable development should be established for the energy sector. It should focus on clean, efficient transformation of coal, ensuring supply of oil and natural gas, building more hydro and nuclear power stations, massive development of non-hydro renewable energy projects and research on new energy.

Huo Yuping, a theoretical physicist and a CAS academician, said China has not yet had a real-term masterplan for energy development. He suggested a special authority be launched to intensify energy control.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19 2007)

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